I am not ending 2019 where I started it, and I am very grateful for that. 2018 was a year of turbulence, opportunities, growth, and change, so I entered 2019 prioritizing stability, consistency, and balance. And what a year it was! My career evolved by leaps and bounds, I found a spectacular set of workout routines that kept me sane, and I put a lot of work into our home and routines! Whew! I’m looking towards 2020 feeling that I have my life where I want it, and I’m ready for whatever new adventures I’m thrown. And before the wheel of the year turns and we tip into a new decade, I think it’s important to look back on the great adventures of 2019 (some previously captured on this blog, some not) and appreciate all the fun we had. So, here are my top 5 adventures of 2019!
#5: Backpacking on the Sunshine Coast Trail
I love discovering new trails that are quiet and ‘off the beaten path’, so it was a treasure to visit the Sunshine Coast Trail this year with my partner and my brother. We headed up to Powell River and the Sunshine Coast Trail to explore the area, and it quickly became one of my top outdoor recreation destinations. Historically, Powell River was a logging town, and as the industry is changing and mills are closing, the communities are looking to a different industry to bring prosperity into the area. And their answer is eco tourism and outdoor adventure. The Sunshine Coast Trail is the crown jewel of the region, and what a crown jewel it is! The trail is narrow, winding, and meanders along the coast and through the mountains. It as an absolute delight to travel the well maintained and clearly signed route. We only had a few days to explore the 180km trail, so I certainly intend to return and complete the full end-to-end trail one day soon!
#4: Hiking in Sedona, Arizona
I spent a wonderful weekend in Sedona, Arizona in May this year, and it was a truly healing and relaxing experience. Although I’m a west coast girl, through and through, I find something very special about the energy in the desert, and Sedona was certainly no exception. I love the intensity of the sun and heat, the aridness, and the beautiful plants that somehow thrive in such harsh conditions. I rarely travel alone any more, so it was an extra treat to spend a weekend alone and exploring at my own pace and on my own schedule. It reminded me how much I do value my alone travel time, and I’ll have to schedule that into my future.
#3: Juan de Fuca Trail with Feist, my senior pup
I have been hiking the Juan the Fuca trail since before I can remember; I’ve been told that my first visit was actually in utero. Every time I hike it, it’s a different and special experience, and this trip was certainly no exception. My dog, Feist, is a hiking badass and has been traversing ridges, crushing mountains, and dominating coastal trails since she was a pup. And this year she turned 11. She is still every bit as enthusiastic, passionate, and excited about every hiking trip we go on, and she is getting slower and we are always scaling the trips to accommodate her. Feist and I did the Juan de Fuca trail at her pace this year, taking 5 days to complete the 42 km trail (5 years ago we dominated the trail in 3 days), and getting lots of rest along the way. She loved the hiking, although she was a tired and cranky by the time we set up our tent. She was pretty tuckered out by the end of the trail, and still so happy to be out there with me. I have my eye on a few appropriate trails for 2020 that include little cabins to stay at along the way, so she will have somewhere squishy and safe to relax and rest every night.
#2 Rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park, Oregon
My first sport climbing trip to Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon was terrifying, inspiring, and memorable. When sport climbing was first introduced to North America, Smith Rock was the epicentre of early route development. The routes are not all well bolted, and the grading wildly understates the difficulty by current measures. Even so, I managed my first real outdoor lead climb and, after a few days of getting to know the rock, was able to move around on the rock quite comfortably and confidently. I have previously spoken on this blog about struggling to improve my climbing, and the trip to Smith Rock was a great opportunity to feel like I was actually making progress at the sport (even if I will never be spectacular).
#1 Road trip to Bishop, California
Our road trip to Bishop, California last winter stands out as one of my favourite trips ever. After an intense and exhausting year, it was so special to go off grid and explore a totally new place of the world with my wonderful pup and fantastic partner. We spent two peaceful weeks exploring southern-central Oregon, western Nevada, and eastern California, including iconic sights like Yosemite National Park, the Methuselah Trees, and the Buttermilk Boulders. I went bouldering for the first time outside, explored hot springs, camped in absurd cold, made new friends, and tried many many beers. A trip of so many firsts and such spectacular memories!
I hope you had as memorable a year as I have. Here’s to a new year and new decade full of new projects, big laughs, and crazy, questionable adventures.