Long term, short term & daily goals can all change in a blink of an eye. It was October of 2019 and I had set a goal of doing a Double (730 miles). By working in retail while wearing a step counter, walking on the ranch, along with hiking with friends, I was on track at 600 miles. Then came the results of a very large right forearm biopsy – stage 2 melanoma, and an extensive surgery to remove more tissue and my lymph nodes. All came back clear, and no further treatment was needed. After 7 days it was back to limited work bulky dressing and all. So, between work and ranch walking I ended the year with 742 miles.
Along comes 2020 and I set my sites on a Triple (1,095 miles). First hurdle, another lesser melanoma on my upper right arm, so back to the plastic surgeon. All was going well, but then we all know what came next: COVID-19 and the shutdown. So, after two weeks I was furloughed from work. Then came the limited opening of the parks. Now all of my miles were on the ranch. By late May, I had decided to retire from my job at REI so a backpacking trip with some friends was planned for the High Sierra Camp loop in Yosemite. None of us finished the trip. Things were going well until the forest fires started. All Fall backpacking was off the table and some days even walking on the ranch was a no go due to the extreme smoke. Despite all of this, I surpassed my goal of a Triple. 2021 has been much better. Still the majority of my miles are here on the ranch. I did get in an early 6 day backpacking trip in Sequoia National Park to Hamilton Lake before the big fires there though.
Many people ask me “how can you walk so much on your ranch and not get bored?” Easy! Everyday is new. New animal tracks, trees and vines bloom and then their fruit ripens, harvest happens and then the leaves fall. Since I am along the San Joaquine River, the wildlife is abundant. Birds migrating in and out, does with fawns, coyotes, foxes, etc., not to mention the sunrises and sunsets. So, I say to you, check out your neighborhood . What is blooming in your yard and parks? Do you see birds nesting or squirrels? Look up at the sky for clouds and stars. A walk around the block and there you are a mile is done. Keep positive. Everyday is a new day and what goals go unmet can be added to next year’s goal or tweaked a little. The main goal is to keep moving however you can.