It has become somewhat of a tradition for me to do a “Best Of” post on the blog, one that I am happy to continue despite the fact that this year I really SUCKED at writing blog posts. So you might see some adventures in this post that I haven’t gotten around to writing about yet (that’s right, I still WANT to write about them…). But it is a tradition I am going to continue because I enjoy the arbitrary demarcation of a new year and the ability to reflect on the past year through the written word is extremely cathartic for me. Feels like the right way to spend January 1st, 2019 – reflecting and setting intentions for what’s next.
My favorite climb this summer was definitely Kyle and mine’s anniversary climb up The Tooth. So many things about it were perfect. It was our first alpine trad climb with just the two of us. We started out the morning early, which both of us love and it was a beautiful July day. We were expecting a crowded climb, The Tooth is very popular, but to our surprise only two people were in front of us and they were getting back to Pineapple Pass just as we were arriving. We roped up and saw no one else until we made it back to the Snow Lake Trail. The climb itself was fantastic – just easy enough that it wasn’t super scary but with plenty of exposed spots. It was a great way to practice the skills we had learned earlier in the summer and other than a couple of stuck ropes it was a flawless climb. Definitely still brings a smile to my face when I think about it!
Favorite Overnight Trip
Our annual backpacking trip with my Mom (and Nelson and Michelle who seem to have wiggled their way into the tradition) was just lovely this year. We hiked out to Navajo Pass and pitched our tents in a quiet little corner. The area is absolutely gorgeous and a perfect example of what the Teanaway area has to offer and the weather could not have been more perfect. The next morning Kyle and I got up very early to hike up to Navajo Peak for sunrise, an experience that was very cold but completely confirmed the fact that sunrise hikes are ALWAYS worth it.
Favorite Multi-Day Backpacking Trip
Obviously our second trip around Mount Rainier on the Wonderland Trail takes the cake on this one. Not only was it freaking hard and beautiful but we got to do it with good friends. Was the weather perfect? No. But it never is. I think the way we pushed through and made the best with what we were given really defines the trip for me. Also – I made us hike a lot of miles. And it was killer. But awesome.
Favorite Road Trip
Such a hard one because we went on a couple of fun road trips this year, including a seriously magical trip to Mammoth Lakes for a friends wedding but I would be remise if my favorite road trip this year wasn’t our weeklong family adventure to the southwest. I mean – nothing went as planned and I am still finishing up the blog posts to walk you through our day to day – but it was a once in a lifetime kind of trip. Having my family all together, farting around the southwest, soaking wet, grump, laughing, getting blown over by the wind, 4-wheeling, hiking, river rafting – the stars do not align lightly to make such a thing possible. I am still blown away by the beauty we got to see and the memories we built.
Favorite Camping Spot
This is a hard choice between our secluded little campsite on Mazama ridge snow camping in January and our lakeside spot when we climbed Golden Horn in October but in the end I am going to have to go with Golden Horn. I am such a sucker for fall and golden light and alpine lakes. It was such a perfect night, spent in total silence and serenaded by the cool white rays of a giant ass moon.
Favorite Trail Run
Another really hard one! But our little (big) early morning trail run up to Lake Mildred in the Eastern Sierra’s in September was most certainly a gorgeous, invigorating experience. The whole trip was like one last breath of summer and that run started out so cold but ended in tank tops and lake dips.
Favorite International Trip
It is so crazy that we started this year with some truly awesome ice climbing in Lillooet, Canada – that seems like forever ago! But it was definitely our best international trip of the year (and maybe our only? We honestly don’t leave the country very often). Punctuated by a 6 hour drive on either end the 48 or so hours we spent in this tiny little, freezing cold, Canadian ice heaven was simply magical.
Best Money Spent
Personally our recent trip to Bozeman Montana to attend the Bozeman Ice Festival and take a climbing seminar from Conrad Anker was our best money spent in 2018. Conrad Anker is Kyle’s all time climbing hero, so to see the look on his face (all day) during our climbing clinic was the best gift money could buy. Plus Bozeman is rad and we finally saw Free Solo and our Air-Bnb was awesome and we ate great food and just had an all-round awesome trip. We rarely take vacations and even though we were only gone for two days it felt like a true get-away.
Easy – our attempt at Mount Olympus. Boy did that kick our asses. We hiked out to Glacier Meadows in a day, got up the next morning to climb and were turned around by weather so instead of hunkering down for a day we decided to hike all the way back out, reaching the cars at 10pm that night and getting back to Olympia at 1am. And all that while Molly had a rolled ankle (happened in the first 5 miles of the hike). It was an extremely physical weekend and we were all hurting by the end but once again the company made it all worthwhile.
Best Photo of 2018
Or a couple good ones…