#IAm Alex Rusate
Blogs Alex Rusate, CIA, CRMA, CCSA Jun 13, 2022
"Failure to plan is planning to fail" is what my internal audit professor used to say almost every class to emphasis the importance of the planning phase of an audit. I took that advice and applied it not only to my work but to my personal life as well. This advice was especially helpful when I took up the hobby of hiking in my spare time.
I first started hiking on a routine basis with my wife, Katy, shortly after graduating from college. On our first hike in New Hampshire, our plan was to hike halfway up a mountain to see a waterfall, but when we got to the waterfall, we just kept going up until we got to the peak. From then on, anytime we traveled anywhere that had good hiking, it was sure to be an item on the agenda. To date, I have hiked in five countries and seven U.S. states, and I am working toward hiking all of the 46 "high peaks" in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York.
By far the most challenging hikes I have encountered are the Adirondack high peaks. The rugged terrain and lack of switchbacks make the peaks very hard to traverse. These hikes require research and planning, as they can last over 16 hours and include crossing water, scaling ice, and trudging through snow — even when it is warm at the trailhead. You cannot pack for every eventuality, so you need to pack smart and light and make sure you have plenty of water. It is certainly not for the risk adverse, but I have found the challenge rewarding and cannot wait until I complete all 46.
Hands down, my very favorite hike was the Cinque Terre in Italy. My wife and I did this hike on our honeymoon, and it was the most unique I have ever done. Cinque Terre is a region on the northwest coast of Italy, which is comprised of five coastal towns. Each town is nestled between vineyard-lined mountains that you can hike up to get to the next town. While hiking toward the top of the mountain, we would encounter the vineyards' wine tasting huts where you can sample the region's famous white wine. Then as we would descend into each town, we would get a small taste of the local cuisine and continue our trek. We hiked to all five towns in a day and rewarded ourselves at the end by taking a swim in the ocean.
Looking forward to next year, our international hike will be in Greece. We will be visiting the Greek isles and Athens, but we have not yet picked a mountain, so I encourage anyone with recommendations to reach out and let me know.
Taking the Leap
For anyone who has been on the fence about getting into hiking, I would encourage them to start small. The AllTrails app is a great resource for finding hikes, trail maps, estimated completion times, and levels of difficulty. Find something that works for you and follow the path!