Julie (my wife) seems surprised that I'm actually quite interested in "rehiking" or exploring areas that I've already been. With all of the great destinations still to see--and frankly, at my age--shouldn't I be prioritizing places that I haven't been, she thinks? Why do you want to go back to the Uintas, for instance (a place I hiked as a teenger--nearly twenty-five years ago, shortly after it got its official wilderness designation) or the San Juans (another place I hiked as a teenager--summited Sunlight Peak, far in the backcountry). Why do I want to hike Coyote Gulch again (my third big teenaged destination.) Why go back to Glacier when I was there a few years ago, or Big Bend? Or even the Grand Canyon? You've seen that before (even if you didn't really hike it per se.)
Usually when she asks me this, I ask her how many times has she been to DisneyWorld again? And are you interested in going back to Hawai'i?
The reality is that I'll never see everything I want to. If I could somehow spend the entire mountain hiking season--July, August and September in most years, on the trails, I might possibly see most of the places I want to see in the US mountain ranges in the next thirty years or so--by which point I'll have cracked into my 70s and should seriously consider whether I'm still up to backcountry hiking. I could book-end that with two months on either end seeing desert and other lower-eleveation destinations (like the Black Hills, for instance). And then in the dead of winter for North America, I could take three more months to explore the Patagonian Andes or New Zealand's Southern Alps. And spending ¾ of the year hiking for thirty years straight might get me to see almost everything that I really want to. Maybe. But clearly it's impractible for every other reason.
But when I went on my earlier trips, why wouldn't they have whet my appetite to see more? When I was in Coyote Gulch, the Uintas and even the Needles in the San Juans, I was too young and dumb to appreciate what I was doing, really, or even pay very close attention to it (I actually had to write my old youth leaders to figure out where we had even gone.) And I didn't see everything. How can I say I've "done" the Uintas when I haven't even been to King's Peak or Mount Agassiz, for example? How can I say that I've "done" Glacier when I couldn't even get to the Logan's Peak area because we went in late June and it had been a high snowfall year--the road was closed! That's the most iconic part of the entire experience, and I couldn't do it! How can I say that I've done the Grand Canyon when we spent an afternoon on the main road in June looking over the overlooks of the South Rim, and I never even hiked a single foot of a single trail? The same can be said for every national park or other major scenic destination I've been to--what I did do there merely made me want to go back and do more of it even more strongly. I didn't ever feel like I satisfactorily "saw it all" and was done with the location forever. In fact, I specifically feel like I was missing some of the key elements of doing that location again (this is perhaps less true of the San Juan's trip. But it was so cool I'd like to do it again anyway.)
Where I am right now, the Uintas are high on my list of places to go. Not only is it a "relatively tame" place, where I think I could get away with going even with my lack of recent experience and not get in too much trouble, but I kind of feel a sense of kinship to the place somehow--probably simply because it's in Utah. It's also immune from government shut-down shenanigans and whatnot, since it's not a national park, can't really be closed, and doesn't require a fee or anything other than a self-registration at unmanned trailheads to enter anyway. Perfect location for me, I can probably be shuttled by friends and/or family to the trailhead, and it's a little off the beaten path compared to something like the High Sierras or the Alpine Lakes Wilderness or something like that.
Here's a few pictures of places I'd like to go in the High Uintas Wilderness: