Some bucket list goals for the summer went un-met

Courtesy photo Dan Lightner displays a striper he caught at the shore.

My family and recently made our annual trek down to Ocean City, NJ for our summer vacation. We prefer to go post-season because it's less crowded and less expensive. We couldn't have asked for better weather, though going during hurricane season is a risk. While I was down there, I was reading their local weekly paper and some of the columns in there.

One of their columnists did a column about her summer bucket list of local activities, and what she had accomplished this past summer versus what she wanted to accomplish. So I'm stealing her idea and reflecting on what I accomplished this past summer versus what I set out to do. Mentally I keep a list of things I want to do, and occasionally I document it here. But going forward I think I will make more of an effort to keep track. Not my big bucket list, just my smaller one of things I want to do each year or each season.

I don't remember if I wanted to visit a local park once a week or twice a week. I probably ended the summer with a once-a-week average. Fortunately or unfortunately, much of my park time these days is dominated by playground time rather than hiking. My boys are in an in-between stage where they are too small for a decent hike, but too large to be carried by us in the Kelty backpack carrier.

I know that I said I wanted to try new things and I did. I visited two beaches (Avalon and Atlantic City) that I have never been to before and we visited a new state park in New York as well as the family ranch experience. I also tried the whole sand-sculpting thing, which was new to us. Next year I want my focus to be on more outdoorsy stuff, even though much of what we did was outside. But sand sculpting, miniature golf, paddleboats and shuffleboard, while they all take place outside are not necessarily considered outdoorsy activities. I am just glad that my boys do spend a significant amount of time doing those things instead of in front of a screen.

I made it my mission to sell my husband's kayak, and we achieved that goal. My goals for fall and winter will be to unload his road bike and the Kelty carrier. That will give us some additional family money to either upgrade our tent and camping supplies and maybe a family friendly kayak or canoe. We did not go camping at all this summer and that is also one of our fall goals. I also want to try one new place to hike and view fall foliage, at a place we've never visited before. Do any of you have any suggestions?

My husband caught several fish, but no keepers. I didn't catch any, but didn't set out to anyway. My role in our family fishing trips is more of a support role now. I don't do much fishing these days. I mostly pack lunches and supervise the boys to make sure no one falls in. With two little boys, I can't focus on what's on the end of my rod, not with them running around.

This winter, I want to try one new winter activity such as cross-country skiing or snow shoeing and visit one new place, like for tubing or sledding. Maybe even outside ice-skating on a pond -- I've never done that. I also want to be diligent about doing the backyard bird count this year. I always start it with the best of intentions and end up getting busy and not following through. I know most local birds by sight; I want to set a goal to learn three by song. What's on your mini bucket list for fall and winter? Email me at lisalightner at yahoo and let me know.

Outdoor enthusiast Lisa Lightner lives in Avondale.

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