Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Completing 1,301 Miles on the American Tobacco Trail

I did it…I set a goal for 2013 and I did it.  My son said he never knew anyone that made a resolution and kept it the whole year.  Well, it wasn’t a resolution really…it was a goal.  I set a goal to hike, bike and paddle 1,300 miles in 2013…and I did it!

It wasn’t easy.  We had a higher than normal rainfall this year that kept mountain bike trails closed and rivers swollen. May was particularly wet allowing me only 60 miles for the month.  Injuries also slowed me a bit. I bruised a rib and my hand and followed that a few days later with a separated shoulder.  This all happened in early August. At the end of August, I had logged just 16 miles.

I also set some goals for fly fishing. I expected to fly fish 150 hours in 2013…I fell short thanks to the shoulder injury and the weather. I plan to rectify that in 2014.  However I did exceed some other fly fishing goals. I set a goal to either add one new species to my life list OR fly fish at least 2 new waters I had never fished before.  I also set a goal to catch at least 10 species of fish on the fly and fly fish at least 8 different water bodies.  I accomplished these goals except for the 150 hours of fly fishing.

I liked setting these goals, and tracking them in my log kept me motivated. Another motivating factor was being able to combine many activities.  I did a 50 mile ride with our scout troop on the Virginia Creeper trail which is adjacent to White Top Laurel Creek, a first class trout stream, allowing me to combine biking and fly fishing. In September I had a gig at a beer festival at the coast and got to paddle my SUP while stalking redfish…that combined a lot of my favorite things.

So here is the breakdown of what I accomplished…

Fly Fishing

·         129 hours of actual fly fishing

·         11 different waters fished…including 5 new waters

·         New waters included: Laurel Creek, Linville River, Elk River, Lake Michael, Lake San Lee…all in North Carolina.

·         Caught 15 different species on the fly

·         Species caught included: rainbow trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, shell cracker, redbreast sunfish, river chub, flathead catfish, green sunfish, Roanoke bass, rock bass, brook trout, channel catfish, redfish, false albacore.


·         1,301 total miles

·         161 miles hiking

·         534 miles of single track trail on mountain bike

·         591 miles of greenways/two-track/roads on cyclocross bike

·         15 miles of paddling on SUP

Moving forward, I plan to keep a goal of 1,200 miles a year. This is reasonable and accounts for things I cannot control. It will also allow me to hit that 150 hours of fly fishing as well. Goals should be worthy, but accomplishable. To be more consistent with my exercise I plan to bump up hiking mileage a bit in the New Year so that I’m out doing something at least 4 days a week.  I also hope to bump up paddling mileage.  If possible I plan on doing more single track mileage than riding on the road.

Regardless I will have to be flexible just like this year.  Being flexible is the key to obtaining goals.  That’s why I live by the motto “Semper Gumby” that is, “always flexible.”

Hope to see y’all in 2014 either on the trail, greenway, water or the pub.


  1. Congrats on accomplishing the goal. I've been wanting to fish White Top Laurel for quite awhile.