Third annual review, once again looking back not just in terms of exploration, but also in the growth of this site. The exploration highlights of the year:
- Completing the DEEP Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge for the first time
- Kayaking the Connecticut River from the Mass. border to Long Island Sound
- Hiking 32 miles for Connecticut Trail’s Day with Mat Jobin in Pachaug State Forest
- Revisiting the newly reopened Sleeping Giant after it was closed for more than a year
- Guiding a hike for the first time at Moss Sanctuary for Walktober
I’ve been running this site for a couple years now, yet 2019 turned out to be a year of firsts based on the highlights above. From getting reacquainted with backpacking to my first long haul kayak trip.
I added 56 locations to the map in 2019, not even worth a chart breakdown this year. I did revise every location (again) to have more complete information and improved the tag system to help find new places. I’ve got a queue of places to add and another for updating.
2019 saw over 20,000 visitors to this site. The top 5 most visited pages were
- Diana’s Pool
- Sleeping Giant
- Sprague Land Preserve
- Case Mountain
- and Cotton Hollow just barely beat out Bailey’s Ravine
What went well this year:
This page. The page for Selden Neck is what I want every page on this site to be. In my mind everything on this site is a rough draft, but that page is the least rough drafty. It is clear about how to access the property, gives detail on how and where to explore, and digs into the history with sufficient depth.
The tagging system. The tagging system behind ExploreCT is pretty robust and definitely underutilized. If you ever want to be a power user, dig into the tags at the end of each post. Each gets its own map where you can dig into things like a specific town, the towers of Connecticut, or overlooks across the state.
Ideas and Plans. I am brimming with ideas and plans for this site. 2019 saw me print my first t-shirts and stickers which I gave away for free on Instagram.
What didn’t go so well this year:
Volume. I was out exploring less than in 2018. I added fewer new places than I did in 2018. I tried a lot of new things in 2019, but it all felt spread a bit thin. Connecting with others through Instagram, emailing with interesting people about Connecticut, starting a newsletter, and guiding hikes. These things were important for development but lacked consistency or felt like they never hit the mark.
Back End. I figured out that I made some mistakes when setting up to host my own server for this site. The site isn’t broken and works just fine but it needs some work. At some point I’m going to have to put my sysadmin hat back on and get it figured out.
I aim to act on ideas and plans in volume this year. Trying all those things in 2019 set the framework. Now I get to build them all out. Sure, that’s vague, but maybe it builds some dramatic tension and excitement in the new year.
That’s all I’ve got for this year’s Annual Review. As always, thanks for reading. I can’t wait to explore in 2020. Please send all 2019 highlights, handcrafted sysadmin hats, and goals for 2020 to firstname.lastname@example.org