Reflecting On 2018

Before 2018 blurs past, I took Brendan Leonard’s advice and reflected on the year to give gratitude for my favorite moments. Here they are, in order of appearance:

Sierra Beautes – A quick overnight trip into a new area with three of my favorite ladies. We hiked to Upper Sardine Lake to admire the Sierra Buttes and finally made it to The Brewing Lair for beer and a round of judgment-free disc golf. Then we camped at Lake Davis, where I woke to someone whistling a tune in the dead-of-night and was pretty sure we had minutes left to live. We can laugh about my terror now.


Sierra Buttes and beautes.

Easter Ribs – My niece Mabel is the sweetest string bean an auntie could hope for. But let me tell you, that girl can put down some ribs! We discovered her love of ribs over Easter dinner, just look at the joy in those rosy cheeks.


More ribs please!

Lumberjack Backpack – I highly recommend being an auntie. When my niece Harper spots me, she yells, “Auntie” and comes running for a hug. It gets me every time. She can’t resist getting a piggy-back ride from me and I will cart her around until my arms fall off.


My little lumberjack backpack.

Shelter Dogs on Field Trip – I don’t like vacationing without Aspen, but I also realize I can’t take her on all of my adventures. So while in Kauai, we took a shelter dog on a field trip to get our dog fix. I cannot recommend this enough, we had a great time spoiling Naomi and she got some fresh air for the day. After our trip, I stalked Naomi on Instagram and am happy to report she has a furever home in Washington state.


Naomi was such a good hiking pup!

Lost Ladies – I admit, my main memories of the Lost Coast are tick stress dreams, poison oak paranoia, and yelling at a coyote to, “do better things with your time.” But I’m glad I opted out of my high-elevation comfort zone to hike this stretch of gorgeously-wild coast with a group of lovely ladies.


We met Twiggy on the trail, she was a great addition to our group for the night.

Fourth of July Fun – Aspen hates fireworks, I can’t seem to turn on music loud enough to drown out the explosions, so we escaped to the purple mountains majesty for the holiday weekend. First we climbed dog-friendly areas along Highway 108 and camped with granite towering over us along Chipmunk Flat. Then we delved into Hoover Wilderness. At one point wind nearly knocked us off our feet, but later we begged for its return as mosquitoes swarmed in. But a mob of blood-thirsty bugs won’t diminish my love for this lofty wilderness.


Capturing a moment.

Sunshine on the Sawtooths – We made up songs, fought off more mosquitoes, and had an amazing time getting to know a crown jewel of Idaho. Life for Squirrel and I have taken different paths in the past couple years as she started a family, but it was so good to be back on the trail with her. Plus bringing together some of my favorite ladies for backpacking is always a route to a great trip.


When the lights go down in the Sawtooths and the sun shines on the lake, oh I want to be there with my ladies. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.

Goat Lake Loop – The Evergreen State knows how to do mountains – above tree-line views, wildflowers, and alpine lakes. Naturally drop-dead gorgeous, this hike was a highlight in itself, so much so that I was floating on a cloud jogging down the last stretch of the trail until I realized my phone had jumped out of my pocket. The full story is in a post about lessons from the road, but in a nutshell – hikers are the best humans.


Volcanos all in a row.

Rubicon Trail – I grew up in the back of my family’s Bronco and hiking jeep trails. I revisited the Rubicon Trail, this time behind the wheel. This is a different kind of type two fun than I normally experience, but after celebrating a stressful day of crawling over rocks in Helga, my land-based viking ship, I can attest to having to suppress the urge to vomit from nerves but then only remembering how proud my dad was of my driving.


I can still hear him, “eaasssyyyy down.”

Birthday Backpack – I’m inclined to escape into the mountains to celebrate my birthday, but this time I brought a group with me. The love I felt over the trip was warming to my soul and based on the photo below, I think that warmth was felt around the birthday candle.


I promise I blew this rocket ship of a candle dead out.

Donner Pass – Our weekend in Donner Pass wasn’t just about adventure, but also reconnecting with my core family group after a crazy summer. While I love adventuring with my ladies, it was much needed family time that helped me recenter. The view was pretty nice too.


Coming down from Donner Peak.

Cathedral Peak – I’ve hiked the length of the John Muir Trail, but Cathedral Peak was the first time I truly felt I shared a moment with the father of our National Parks. The peak is no larger than a kitchen table set for six. I sat at the same peak-top table as John freakin’ Muir!


Visit and read A Simple Way To Write Your Own Ending To 2018 for inspiration to make your own list for the year.


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