New Year, Similar Me
It’s February, and presumably you’ve made and kept or decided to throw away your New Years Resolution by now. Last year I made one that was difficult if not impossible to achieve, but it was one that got me outside more and upped my level of physical fitness. Arguably despite only making eight of 41 Wilderness Areas in Colorado I found that it pushed me to achieve more in the outdoors. It was, overall, a success.
Since coming to Colorado I’ve learned to get out and enjoy the winter more and snowshoe, hunt critters I’ve never hunted before, do a little bit of backpack camping, and more. So when I sat down and really thought about what I’d want to do this year in addition to doing more of Colorado’s Wilderness Areas I thought about upskilling.
Use Your Time Wisely
Bruce Potter opened Shmoocon last weekend with a pitch to the masses about upskilling, but doing it on work time. I work in IT Security where the culture has always been that you’d have to learn new things — but on your own time. I’m fortunate enough to have an employer that is supportive of doing professional development on work time, but mission doesn’t always support it. I’ve taken a big step back from being hyper work focused over the last few years and focused more on my own development outside of work as well as happiness of my family.
In doing so I’ve been able to put aside chasing the alphabet soup that IT Security folks have after their names in favor of learning new skills and going on new adventures. You know, using that leave time I’ve saved up from flying a desk. This year is no different. I intend on going into more wild places but I recognize that there are things that will help me achieve more, or at least do it in a more prepared way.
So if I give myself a year I’d like to do a little bit of wilderness “up-skilling” this year on top of my regular workouts. This year I’ll be pursuing my Wilderness First Aid certification, my Amateur Radio Tech Level certification, and potentially getting Avalanche Level 1 (Avi1) certified.
What do all of those things have to do with each other? WFA I’ve wanted under my belt for 5-10 years and I’ve just never followed through. My father is aging and I’ve been going on increasingly more difficult hikes and hunts. I want to be able to provide aid for both myself and my friends if the need arises. This training has real applications to the time I spend in the outdoors. Avi1 provides the ability to travel safely in the backcountry in winter, which I am increasingly getting into. I just can’t be a slug during the entire winter season. I won’t allow that to happen.
Alex, Come In Alex!
About the amateur radio thing. A HAM license seems to be the outlier here, but I recognized that comms in the mountains are often hard to achieve. Digital Mobile Radios (DMRs) are a cheap option with better range than Motrolla Talkabouts and can operate in non line of sight which is key when running through the mountains. This helps groups stay together and on task if you’re hunting opposite sides of the mountain. You can also use something like a Garmin inReach to use satellite to satellite messaging, but have no audio comms. I might be shoehorning this in here because it’s geeky and useful but hey, it’s my list!
These are all stepping stones to doing different things in the outdoor community and feeling better about the activities I choose to participate in. On top of that I’ll be trying to get to the trap range more often so as to miss less often when a bird suddenly decides to flush and take me off guard.
So what are you doing this year to improve your outdoor experience? Spending money on gear? Changing your diet? Just getting out more? We’d love to hear from you.