So on Sunday Kyle turned 32, that old bastard. And at dinner last night our friend Abigail asked, “So, your 31st year… what were some of the highlights?” To be honest this was a pretty tough question because Kyle’s 31st year was kind of a hard one, especially when you compare it to the year before when we hike the AT. For most of the year Kyle worked for an architecture firm that bored him to tears and under a boss that was kind of a dick. He had a gnarly two-hour commute every day. He owed money on his taxes for the first time in his life. And then there was the knee/blood clot/almost dying incident that threw our whole summer into chaos and despair. We had a lot of plans that didn’t quite plan out, a lot of backpacking trips we had to abandon, a marathon we didn’t get to run, summer climbing trips that fell to the wayside, weddings of dear friends didn’t get attended… most of Kyle’s summer was spent breathing into an incentive spectrometer and trying to get his lungs to work again.
There certainly were highlights that came to mind. Moving to Seattle and settling into the swing of life here has certainly been a highlight. There have been a lot of fun games of Settlers of Catan, a lot of good nights spent with friends, a lot of hard days at the climbing gym. Kyle has been learning how to cook and doing a damn good job. We have managed to make the most of the end of the year when it comes to hiking and adventuring with trips to the coast, the San Juans, Arizona, and Zion. And so yesterday, for Kyle’s birthday, we climbed our first mountain in a long time in honor of looking forward to a new year, his 32nd year. Fittingly named Mt. Defiance it was a moderately strenuous eleven mile hike to the top of a 6,000 foot peak in the Cascades with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Parts of it were easy, parts of it were hard, and at times we thought we might be lost, but eventually we summited and were greeted by an incredible mist filled, snow-covered, sunshine lit world. Having just seen Wild the night before, all I could think was how great it was to put ourselves in the way of beauty. So happy birthday to my most wonderful and amazing friend, like a fine wine just getting better with age, Kyle Knudson.