Adventure Milestones: Why You Need Them, And How To Reach Them

Do you really think a long-distance thru-hiker just woke up one day and hit the trail? Doubtful. No, many, many miles of hiking and backpacking were logged in before the thru-hike even commenced.

Mr. Hiker’s long walk started with setting adventure milestones. “Today I hike 3 miles, next year, 2,650.”

Say you’ve never been backpacking before, but you get this crazy idea to walk from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. By all means, go for it. But you’ll probably want to actually try hiking and backpacking first, right? Then you’ll be able to gauge how far you can go in a single day, what to expect in certain situations, how to pack properly, who might make a suitable hiking partner, and so on.

Think of adventure milestones as goal setting. Or a check list, of sorts.

When you’re setting your milestones, start from the bottom, work your way up. Wanna sail around the world but never stepped on a boat? Buddy up with someone with experience, or take a class. Wanna dive the sweetest spots on Earth, but never even snorkeled? Again, take a class. You get the idea.

Basically, you have to start somewhere. You should set insane adventure goals, but you’ll thank yourself later if you ease your way in.

Personally, I want to do something huge. And it involves tons of time, money, and effort. I’m not the most experienced in this department, but I’m getting there. When the day comes for my wife and I to travel around the world, I’ll be happy I set milestones.

What about you? What kind of milestones are you aiming at?

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40 comments

      1. Like I said, gotta start somewhere. If anyone will achieve that goal, I’m sure it will be you guys!

  1. I have a few milestones I want to reach in my future!!! First…I want to do my first solo trip. Will probably just be an overnight in a place I know well but it’s still something I’ve never done before. It will be exciting and challenging! Second, I am working on hiking the John Muir trail! All 200+ miles of it! What a challenge what will be…but worth working for and I hope to achieve it! Oh…and back to Yosemite for its 100th birthday!!!

    1. Dang, aim high! Awesome milestones you got there. I’m totally with you on the JMT. I was just thinking about thru-hiking it yesterday! Are you hiking it in sections?

      1. Planning to thru-hike it…I believe it takes around 3-4 weeks…of course that all depends on everything going smoothly.

  2. Happy Birthday!!!!! so this also happens to be a former wedding anniversary … just saying. I was thinking of how to… ok,, i am gonna say what I was thinking but caught myself before I did …cause it s kinda funny so i;; tell you ..in a minute..

    I just jump in., Everything pretty much. goals are good though,,never really thought about it in terms of hiking though ,,, buuuttttttt 🙂 that just because when my family dcided to try hiking we went out and bought the stuff and went and we whined the whole way and did again in a month,, i dont have a clue how my dad picked the trails they werent hard,,,

    in hs.. a bf and I climbed a 14 er.. kinda as a that was the goal I guess but uh… I was pretty sick,,so I think if we had planned it and done all the proper things I never would have done it…i woulda wanted to but not been allowed to,cause i was very sternly scolded for doing it and he was for letting me or going with me… it was one of those moments tho ya know.. the ones that make you say hell yea I can do anything! thats the kinda moment that can change a life… and ,,,yea that whole what exactly is the goal there.. to di it to show the ..hold that thought o

    Army – ok 1 -2 miles then a 25 mile..if there was any planning or goal setting…i dunno

    so se it just isnt something I have ever done but i can see it being a good idea. I would someday like to hike the Appalachia (n?) Trail.. so there it is.. a goal L-)

    now – there is a little bloggity post they did for me for my bday and they put some [pics and stuff and I was thinkng how to pull a pic or two over here to share with you,,, but it (almost) came out id like to share my birthday booty with you… 😳 ,,ok I gotta run but I;;; be back bearing who the hell knows..later.. not old.. FINE WINE 🙂

    1. I just decided Aug. 21 isn’t a good day. I get older, and you have to think about former wedding anniversaries and whatnot. Can it get any worse?

      Which 14er did ya’ll climb? That’s pretty badass, you know? And I can use the word “ya’ll” now. That’s how old people talk. “Ya’ll better get the hell off my yard!”

      1. would you say grace? Grace? she dies yeeas ago… THE BLESSING….

        yeah,,,old people..man i need a drink, I am having one when I get back, I am ikd enough dammit it… my God we are deteriorating before our own eyes …i just got new glasses.. it makes things scary…

      2. Ma’am, I’m gonna have to see ID before you enjoy that alcoholic beverage. Not because I don’t think you’re old enough. Oh no. I need to check to see which nursing home you escaped from.

        Zing!

      3. I got a pass…

        hey!!! I read your posts and stuff and I just well I thought you were quite a bit younger than me….but now this changes things…not really but kinda cause why? we may have been at the samr geographical location at the same time AND the same age..I dunno ya dig? (thats olf hippy talk we qualify cause we were born during hte summer of 69,, what if you were that guy ,,that i thought stood me up on a blind date and it turns out thought i stood you up cause we got the wrong places? whoa…

      4. then you musta inhaled on your way in here cause you said I was a day older than you… didnt you? 🙄 I knew you were too young looking… hmph. then to finish my above comment…Sonny boy I was drinkin this stuff when you were still in knappys….

      5. Ok I am here to say that I read it wrong and I see that. you said I get older a day sooner than you do. Which is really a head scratcher cause once w are here..we all age at the same rate and oh nevermond. we can talk about it next year… 🙂

      6. You know what, why don’t we just say I’m 51 for the helluva it. Nobody would know the difference, right? And people could say stuff like “Man, he looks great for his age!”

  3. I’d love to learn how to scuba dive and eventually see the coral reef. That would be amazing! I’d also love to see the great Wall of China and, like your first blogger, visit Norway (home of my ancestors) and see the Fjords. Do you think I can do this in one trip? What are you thinking, like, pencil in a good 2 weeks? haha!

  4. I would love to go on a backpacking trip. We are starting small this November with a two night backpacking trip close to home. Just a test run to get out there, test gear and get used to hiking with everything on our backs. I have dreams of someday taking an extended backpacking trip maybe in Wyoming (Tetons) or in California.

    1. Very cool! Any chance you’ll blog about the trip in November? You should! Let me know if you ever make it out to California for a backpacking trip. I live out here, so it’d be fun to share a few of my favorite trips.

  5. 31?!? You’re like a kid but younger.
    Top of my adventure list is to ride a wave runner from NYC to London.
    No idea where to start with that.
    Know anyone good with funding?

    (Bungee jump post tomorrow)

    1. Its about time! 🙂 jk..I mean it is but…

      maybe I should think he thought I was 31 too..I am going to find that comment by good golly… 31? that was a fricking childhood ago… :roll talking about being old HA! wait til he gets to be my age..our? we are close right? I mean you arent gonna spring it on me some day soon that…nevermind I don’t want to know. I am older than you too huih? I am older than… is he really only 31? well he did say I am a badass ..and what a coinkydink I got a badass award yesterday… hmmmmm who should I give it to? Have you seen Captain Authority around? 😉 ..I probably babysat him…Eric I mean not …hey ERIC are you that kid who…:roll:

    2. A kid…with a bad back and an early bedtime.

      I’m starting to sense that you’re actually serious about this NYC to London on a wave runner idea. Dude. Epic. What do we have to do to make it happen? Looking forward to that bungee jump post!

    1. Thanks friend! I guess it’s not so much about long-term planning as it is building up to your ultimate adventure. Take you wanting to skydive as an example. Say you hate flying and heights (and maybe you do). Well, you’d have to work those fears out before skydiving, right? Maybe not, I suppose. Speaking of which, have you given skydiving any more thought? And how the heck are ya? Haven’t really heard from you in awhile.

      1. I love flying, and I haven’t been standing in the open door of an aircraft, but typically I am not afraid of heights at all.

        I have thought about the skydiving, even looked into a place a little more, but then life crept up and distracted me from dreaming. I know what you’re thinking…I should become a dirtbag, but not all of us can be that wonderful.

        Anyway, I’m good Eric! Thanks for asking. How are you?

      2. Hopefully some day you’ll get to go. And you’ll let me know if you do! Me? I’m doing OK. No complaints.

  6. Milestones are great, and very necessary, but the thing is when it comes to things like hiking, cycling, diving, if you really love these things you’re probably already doing them. In fact, you can’t stop doing them at every possible moment. As you point out …ideas like walking from Mexico to Canada seldom just pop up out of nowhere, chances are if you’re thinking this you already do an awful lot of long distance walking.
    But you’re right, when you want to push these activities to the next level, it’s best to start small. Honestly figure out what’s holding you back, then one-by-one eliminate these things from your life. Then if you want to push it even further, to the point where this is no longer just a fun activity but this is how I live, you find yourself eliminating even more which stands in your way. An adventurous life is rarely about buying shit, and more often about eliminating things you don’t need bought to impress people you don’t like.

    1. Excellent points, Alex! It really is all about starting small and going bigger and bigger. I hear a lot of people say things like “I really loved my such and such trip to XYZ, and I’d love to do an even bigger trip next time,” but, like you said, things get in the way, and the next step never happens. By “eliminating even more which stands in your way,” are we talking material possessions?

      1. For me, yes, it was material possessions, for others it may be other things. I found it easy to eliminate possessions, I just gave everything away until I was down to only what I could physically carry with me (very few clothes, lap top, cell
        phone, camera).

        For others it may be other things; fears, a job, bills, maybe even loved ones. My mother worries about my lifestyle …a lot! And while I can’t ‘eliminate’ my mother, I can do my best to eliminate her fears.

        Not everyone is the same. For some the exchange of time for the money to buy things makes them happy, and I’ve no problem with this at all. I basically do the same, I just value experience more than things. I’m glad not everyone is the same, it would be a very boring world if we were.

  7. You know, It is hard for me to start small. I think I will though. Fit or not, hiking is different than other sports. Love your blog.

    ((Hugs)),
    Becca
    Lady or Not…Here I Come

    1. If you start big, and it works for you, then stick with it! I wouldn’t want to discourage you to depart from something that works.

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