Start 2009 with an Epic

Get over the hangover and go big this year. Then make it a tradition
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Get over the hangover and go big this year. Then make it a tradition

When I left New York City for New Mexico 8 years ago, I learned to love waking up before sunrise on January 1st, schlepping up to the Santa Fe Ski Basin, and then snowshoeing up to the top with my snowboard strapped to my back.

If I timed it right, I’d reach the top at dawn and then ride back down the empty slopes. I did that every year I lived there, and I can tell you there’s no better feeling than starting off a New Year doing something cool. Something that’s good for your health and spirit.

Over the years I learned of other people’s New Years’ traditions. There was the woman who’d hike to the top of the mountain at night and ring in the New Year from 12,000 feet. Then there are these guys here in Colorado Springs who hike 7,000 vertical feet up to the top of 14,144-foot Pikes Peak and launch fireworks at midnight. Then they come down. And they've been doing it since 1922.

While I don’t climb mountains on Jan. 1 these days, I still make it a habit to go outside and do something to get my heart moving. Not to get all spiritual on you, but I find it does a good job grounding me to what’s real: namely, that it’s a big, beautiful world, and I need to get out into it more.

I suggest you try doing the same. At the very least you’ll sweat out your hangover.

On another note, this is my last post on Backpacker.com. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding something to write about each week. I’ve learned a lot in the process, and I hope you have as well. Good luck out there and keep dreamin’.

Grant

Image from AdAmAn.org