So. 2016. What an asshole that turned out to be.
I mean, of course, for other people. Here’s a list, if you need a refresh. But none of that affected me personally, a fact which makes me feel supremely lucky and also hella guilty. I didn’t lose a loved one in Istanbul or Orlando or Aleppo. I avoided Zika and other viruses, for the most part–in fact, I think I only got sick once this year. Politics are a disaster, but that’s a fight for 2017.
All in all, 2016 was good to me. So good, in fact, that an old friend messaged me on Facebook: What’s going on? Are you doing a bucket list challenge? Are you dying?
No, I’m not dying. I’m living, which sometimes looks a bit like dying to people who aren’t doing much of either.
Here’s what 2016 looked like for me:
Best moment: Assateague Island
I was flipping through photos, trying to decide what was the overall best thing about 2016. Was it hiking my first fourteener? Backpacking Roan Mountain on my birthday? The first time I climbed a 5.8? I almost went with climbing in the Garden of the Gods, and not just because I can now say, “When I was climbing in the Garden of the Gods…” like a total asshole. But when I really think about it, the best moment didn’t come with a photograph. It was our Mother’s Day camping trip at Assateague Island. The rain had stopped, the kids were asleep, and the waves pounded against the sand like thunder. I opened the tent and stuck my head out. Above me the sky was littered with stars–so many that there were more stars than sky. I stayed like that for a long time, staring at the stars, my girls snuggled up against me. It wasn’t exciting, it wasn’t a daring adventure or physical accomplishment. But it was the moment I was happiest, and I had everything I needed.
Best decision: Climbing
Signing up for the Intro to Climbing class at EarthTreks was without a doubt the best decision I made all year. Even better? Dragging a friend with me. We loved it so much that we convinced two other people to climb with us, and my kids love it too. Climbing has pushed me and strengthened me in ways that I couldn’t even imagine when I started this journey.
Scariest Moment: Assateague Island
Did you know the winds there are really strong? Well, they are. Add that to the fact that the campsite is sand and it’s a potential disaster. I spent the first night listening to the rain and howling wind, praying that I had secured the tent well enough to withstand the storm. We survived without leaks or other damage, the anchors held (we used these), and all was well. (I use the Quarter Dome 3 for camping with my kids, and yes, I would recommend it.)
Best Meal: Jambalaya and Fog Cutter
There’s something about the combination of being freezing cold and starving after a hard walk that makes food taste better. That was the case for both Roan Mountain and San Francisco, but I was slightly colder and hungrier from backpacking than walking there and back again across the Golden Gate Bridge, so that wins but the Fog Cutter comes in a close second.
Biggest Regret: Torrey’s Peak
Last summer, I hiked my first fourteener. It was awesome, but I wish I had stuck to the plan and done Torrey’s with Gray’s. I’m still kicking myself for that one. Next year, Torrey’s. Next year.