Mountain Passages: How Did You Do With Last Year’s Resolutions?

Willy and I are walking down 4th Street in Boulder. He’s my three-year-old, black, curly, Portuguese Water Dog. willy 3His favorite person in the world is Blue Eyes but he sort of likes me because I take him on trail runs twice a week. The 4th Street running babes look at him and smile.

I could be invisible.

It’s late February, the sun is brighter than it has been for a while. The air temperature is crisp and the wind has moderated to 30mph—a mere breeze in Boulder this time of year.

The good thing about walking and being ignored by the babes is there is time to review thoughts, plans, conversations, arguments, world issues, and even year-old New Year’s resolutions.

My 2013 unresolutions involved weight loss, ranting, outdoor gear, yelling at Willy, and exercise. But, let’s review how you are did on your resolutions for last year?

We’ll ignore your resolutions about weight loss and exercise, but it’s good that you made it to January 8th when after a run you ate just about everything in the refrigerator.

And then there were the resolutions to go on more road trips and renew old friendships. Road trips used to be spontaneous events with friends that ended up somewhere but often nowhere in particular; the trip was the goal. Nothing spontaneous can happen when you have to load the truck with tent, sleeping bags, more gear than can be imagined, ice chests, family, dog, other folk’s kids and maybe dogs. You look like the retreat from Moscow as you pull out of town.

And the old friends? Many of them are way different, people from another zone who don’t have much to say once they review your time together. It is as if they haven’t seen the sunshine wash down the cliffs after a thunderboomer blasts through the valley, or watched thousands of snowflakes swirl around this person you love and make her laugh…nothing has amazed them in a long while.

But you had more resolutions didn’t you? How about home repair and other extreme sports? Tell us you didn’t repair a leaky toilet with some parts you found in the garage. It didn’t leak for a week. But one day, while you were gone, it leaked and pretty much destroyed both the ceiling downstairs and the carpet.

Pretty good job for 2013. Here is how I did.

My first unresolution was to not gain more than five pounds in 2013. This is going to be hard to believe, but I actually lost 11 pounds in 2013. Inexplicable except that I had to rehab a blown-out quad tendon and turned into a gym rat. And one other thing, I was numbing myself with cocktails every night. I stopped that and the pounds just disappeared. For 2014 I resolve to not gain more than 10 pounds.

Hard to admit, but I tend to shout at the newsmakers starting with the morning papers and ending with the evening news shows. It’s as if the media is breathlessly waiting for my pronouncements. When in reality it’s only Blue Eyes and Willy who hear my rants. My unresolution was to rant at the reporters and news anchors, not the newsmakers, for their story selection. Have you noticed that journalists have gotten better at their jobs over the last year? They are actually standing up on their hind legs and asking hard questions and covering risky stories. I’d like to think I had something to do with it, but that would be, in fact, a lie.

My third unresolution had to do with limiting my purchases outdoor gear: (1) to replace worn out gear, (2) to replace gear I didn’t like anymore, (3) to buy stuff I just had to have.

“So how much did you spend on the AT gear?” Blue Eyes asked.

“Twelve hundred bucks.”

“Including the $650 credit card bill for?”

“AT boots, but I got a pro deal on the skis, bindings and skis.”

“Great. So why didn’t you get a pro deal on the boots?”

“I wanted to help out the local shop and get the boots properly fitted.”

“Unbelievable.”

If you have ever had a dog with a sense of fun in your life, you can clearly understand yelling at the dog. My fourth unresolution for 2013 was to stop yelling at Willy for his transgressions. In his first two years there was an issue with crewing things such as the felt liners of my Sorrels. No one wants to look like he got his Sorrels at Goodwill. Willy is now perfecting counter-surfing and baying like a Beagle. No food on the counter is safe. He will stretch as far as he can and try to grab whatever food he can reach. Lacking food, he will just lick the counter.

Some mutt at the kennel taught him to bark as loud as he can and then bay at anything that moves after dark, and often before. We have deer, fox, and an occasional coyote in the neighborhood. You can’t imagine the sound of his baying at one in the morning. Willy still gets yelled at, and will get yelled at for the rest of our lives together.

Finally I unresolved to not set outrageous training goals for 2013. The disconnected quad ligament pretty much put a damper on trail running and backcountry skiing for the year. By a really dumb accident I made my fifth unresolution.

And you will note that I am telling you all this nonsense while out on a walk with Willy. I’ve returned to trail running and backcountry skiing but I’m also walking more now.

We turned at Mapleton just as the sun dropped into Boulder Canyon. The wind has slowed as it often does after sundown and there is more chill in the air. We head back for home with Willy thinking of kibbles and me thinking of a chile relleno casserole I’ve got going in the oven.

Alan Stark is a member of Bryan Mountain Nordic Ski Patrol and lives with this blue eyed person and her dog in Boulder and Breckenridge.