A little about me.  I was a boy scout, attaining Eagle.  Growing up in New Jersey I preferred to be outside.  My dad used to take my brother and I hiking when we were really young – I can remember hiking Artist Bluff and (I think) Mt. Tecumseh in New Hampshire during one family vacation.  I remember hiking Mt. Tammany in the Delaware Water Gap many times as a kid.  I didn’t get back into hiking until long after college, using the county parks to get back into “hiking shape” and expanding from there.

Where I want to go:  I traveled to Sicily for business a while back, and was able to amble around Mt. Etna.  Being on an active volcano was one of the greatest thrills I’ve experienced.  Seeing the steam venting from the top of the mountain, smelling the sulfur, and walking on the old lava was really great.  This is probably the experience that rekindled hiking within me.  And now, I’d like to hike more volcanoes.  New Jersey doesn’t really have volcanoes, which means I’ll get to do a little travelling if I’m going to continue.

Mt. Etna, with steam at the top

I also would like to go UP more.  Not like Everest up, but climb higher peaks.  Again, I see myself having to travel.

Typically, I day hike, but I suspect as I go up, and outward, I’ll be starting to do more multi-day hikes.

As for gear:   [Edit – January 2024 – This next piece needs some serious editing.  I’m working to cut weight, and much of gear has changed.  A project for another day.]

From left to right

  • Sol survival space blanket
  • Off bug spray
  • Pre-cut moleskin
  • First Aid kit
  • A towel
  • Waterproof matches (in a waterproof case)
  • whistles
  • Afterbite
  • ITS Survival Kit
  • Leatherman Skeletool
  • Headlamp (this is not an expensive one, but pretty functional, it’s got a bright (4 led) white light, red, green, and flashing red light.  I’ve almost needed this a couple of times.)
  • LL Bean Maine Warden backpack – size small/medium, 25L
  • Cascade Mountain Trekking Poles
  • Food/snacks/water bottles (not shown)
  • Boots – Merrell Moab 2 Vents (not shown either)

The master, J. R. R. Tolkien, or rather, Bilbo put it best when leaving the Shire:

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say

(And yes, I’m aware there are multiple versions of the poem/song, this one seems to fit.)