2017 in Review
I don't know about you, but 2017 felt like the fastest year of my life. It was January one minute and then all the sudden it was Thanksgiving and I was buying plane tickets home for the holidays. Despite the breakneck speed, it was a fantastic year. Here's a little look of the year by the numbers:
In January I discovered my love of Roxborough State Park. Rachel had gotten me a discounted State Parks Pass, and I was determined to use it as often as possible. Over the course of the year I hiked every trail in that park and can comfortably call it my favorite. Logan and I went to Texas to watch JMU win the National Championship - that was my first time in Texas and my first time flying with only a backpack (I am a chronic overpacker). We also adopted our kitty cat, Lily, this month. She's really been one of the biggest highlights of the entire year.
My brother came out to visit over the Super Bowl weekend and we spent Super Bowl Sunday exploring RMNP. We snowshoed to Mills Lake (and almost got blown over by the wind). Logan and I took a quick weekend getaway to Great Sand Dunes NP. We glamped & hiked to frozen waterfalls.
March was a low-key month. We spent it exploring Roxborough more and using Daylight Savings time to not have to wake up quite as early to see the sunrise. Starting my day in RMNP is definitely one of my favorite things to do.
In April we took one of the best trips of the year - Monument Valley. Logan and I don't typically take days off for our trips, but we took off Friday so we could have more time to explore. We spent the night in Grand Junction on Thursday and went to Four Corners before getting to MV. We hiked and took a private tour of the Navajo land the next day, and then drove back to Moab for an impromptu hike to Delicate Arch on Sunday. I also went back to Virginia to surprise my little sister and see her off to her first prom!
In may we visited one of my new favorite National Parks - Mesa Verde. We spent two nights camping and three days exploring. We took a ranger tour of Balcony House and generally felt in-awe the entire time. We also took a four-day, three-night camping trip in RMNP (one I booked in tears back in January because I thought it might be my last one). It was perfect.
In June I graduated from DU with my Master's degree and spent a week with my family celebrating. This was the first time my dad had visited me out here, so I took them on a whirlwind tour of RMNP and the surrounding areas. I spent my birthday eating macaroons in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, officially crossing the last Colorado National Park off our list.
In July I discovered a love for the Indian Peaks Wilderness that I didn't know existed. We had a few early morning hikes in that area and I'm still day dreaming about them now. We hiked every weekend in July, most of which involved mornings before 5:30 am - no small feat for Logan and myself.
In August we drove up to Casper, WY to watch the eclipse in totality. It was easily the best day of my life thus far (and I do not say that lightly). It may have taken us 12 hours to get home, but it was the trip of a lifetime. Logan and I also failed a backpacking attempt in the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness, but it was still beautiful and one of the hardest things I've ever done. I can't wait to shoulder that pack again in 2018.
We took our annual Aspen trip the last weekend of September, and while it was much different than previous years, it was no less beautiful. This was around the time we started getting our first snow falls. The colors this fall were absolutely stunning, and I spent a few weekends exploring Golden Gate Canyon State Park because of that. I also started my full-time job at my dream library!
I had a dear friend come visit in October - we went hiking and it was one of the coldest days of my life (but still absolutely beautiful). My brother also came out for a weekend and we headed back to Mills Lake so he could see what it looks like without over a foot of snow on the ground.
November was a slow month. I explored Eldorado Canyon with Rachel, still trying to check off as many State Parks as possible. It was also a strange month, because this was the first Thanksgiving in 21 years that I didn't spend in Virginia with my family. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so this was a bit rough, but I did learn how to make a bangin' pie and play games with Rachel's family and go on an Opt Outside hike.
And here we are, at the end of an incredible year. We hadn't gotten any snow since those few storms in October, so when we got 2" I had to go to Castlewood Canyon State Park to enjoy it. I also spent just over a week with my family, doing things like playing board games, eating cheese, and watching eagles at Mason Neck State Park. It was the perfect end-cap on an already excellent year.