As for many, 2016 was an up and down year for me. From a personal aspect, it was really tough and a year that will have ramifications for a long time to come. Adventure-wise, it was pretty good, as I finally stopped dreaming about doing things and actually made them happen. Still a long way to go in terms of activity, but some good strides were made.
Up first, Winter Market was a blast – beyond the typical ORShow fun, I finally met Missouri Howell and Mike Off the Map, who have become friends IRL and not just on social media. Immediately after, the #hikerchat snowshoe outing was once again a resounding success, worth the trip to SLC on its own.
We had a great Easter road trip, visiting Northwestern Illinois and exploring around Galena, something I’d wanted to do for a long time. We even stayed in log cabins on a llama farm, something we’ll probably never do again.
Spring Break we spent in Southern Illinois, exploring an area that is easily the most beautiful and interesting in this forsaken state. The Shawnee National Forest is truly a natural delight and made me wish even more I could move from this white bread suburb I find myself in.
Early Summer was less about far-flung travels and more about trying new microadventures, especially when it came time to hanging out with my kids. We started getting out paddleboarding, took kayak lessons, and even did some summer camping before the heat and bugs got too bad.
And then it was time to head back to Utah. First up was UintasHike16, a group hike (sort of) on the Highline Trail in the Uintas. Some of it went as planned, much of it did not, but it’s not an adventure if it all works out right, right? Right? Then on to Summer Market (we even went to the Demo Day!), adding even more IRL friends, finding new companies to partner with, and yet ANOTHER amazing #hikerchat outing. What a week!
Suddenly it was fall and where did the Summer go? Almost an annual tradition, 5 of 6 family members participated in trail races at The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Wisconsin. Yet another great event and a fun family camping weekend.
Hiking With Howell was up next, as slave driver Missouri Howell force-marched me up and down 33 miles of Ice Age National Scenic Trail over 2 days. I loved it and hated it and still might lose a toenail because of it.
Thanksgiving weekend and we got out to Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave. Long on my list of attractions relatively close to home, the cave was cool but somewhat antiseptic, though we did get to sleep in cement Wigwams, which is definitely NOT something that everybody can claim.
Last but not least, my son and I headed out to Northern California for ECSCA, a trip I won as a TNFLocal and was happy to share with him. I met Outdoorsy Mama, fell in love with the beauty of Marin, and then ran (mostly) a 5K. My son was 2nd in his age group and may be inspired to give running another chance.
It’s now the end of December and who can believe yet another year has slipped by. Even though this was an emotionally tough year, I’m feeling better about where I’m headed (though there’s still a long row to hoe before I get there), I had some great adventures, and plans are afoot already for next year (see more in the post 2017: Looking Forward).