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The Best of 2016 in Photos

By on December 29, 2016

Wow! I know I’m not the only one looking back on the past 366 days (yes it was a leap year) and thinking “what a year!” I might be in the minority as someone who thinks the year was a great one. From getting married to adventurous hikes with friends, 2016 has certainly been one for the record books. Since I spent a significant amount of time injured I decided to break from the usual ‘one photo a month’ thing and just post my favorites. So here they are, with a brief description for each.

Jason and I started off the year strong. In fact we hiked to the top of Mount Sanitas to kick off 2016. One of our most memorable adventures from the beginning of the year was our winter attempt at Chasm Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. We didn’t make it all the way to the lake, mostly because the sketchy traverse made me nervous and I told Jason there was no way I was continuing. Even though plenty of people had successfully made the trek that day, I didn’t want to be the one that caused an accident. After our avalanche course a couple of weeks later, I was even more glad we turned back. Even though we didn’t reach our destination, we had a great day in the sun and snow. Apparently I didn’t blog about this adventure so let me know if you want to know about it.

After I tore my MCL and sprained both of my ankles during our avalanche class, I knew I would be hard-pressed to finish the Antelope Canyon 50. Even with that knowledge, Jason and I still decided to make the trek to Page, AZ for an escape from winter. We stayed one night in Kanab, UT and a couple nights in Page which allowed us to explore the Grand Staircase, Lake Powell, and upper Grand Canyon regions of the country. This picture, from sunset at Horseshoe Bend is my favorite from the trip but you can see more by reading my trip report here and here.

When my knee was finally mostly healed, Jason and I took Moose on an adventure to Brainard Lake recreation area. We had attempted the hike earlier in the year but were turned around because of wind. This day was still pretty windy, but we were much better prepared and made it all the way to the lake. The hike was beautiful and we relaxed before driving home by testing out the hammock we picked up at REI.

Jason and I ended the ski season with a free trip to Aspen, courtesy of Jason winning a monthly prize pack from Visit Colorado. We were treated to two nights lodging at the Limelight hotel and two three-day ski passes. We took full advantage of the ski passes, spending a day each at Ajax, Aspen Highlands, and Snowmass. We celebrated our final night in Aspen by skinning to the top of Aspen Highlands and enjoying a rough, icy ski back down before sunset. It was magical having the whole mountain to ourselves! I also was able to demo the Dynafit TLT6s and loved them so much that I invested in the TLT7s this winter.

Jason and I spent quite a bit of time in Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter and early spring. This trip into Glacier Gorge and Black Lake was our last trip before the snow became too unstable and sketchy for us to use the winter trails but the summer trails weren’t melted out yet. We made it to our destination despite losing the trail in the snow a couple of times and the lake was worth the effort. We need to go back to explore when more of the trail is melted out because it looks like there are quite a few lakes up there that require bushwhacking approaches. My favorite picture from the trip was sliding down the snow field to regain the trail. Snow-sliding was a common theme for me in 2016! You can read about it (and other adventures from that week) here.

In May, Taylor, Kylie, Kate, and I traveled to Glacier National Park for my Bachelorette Party! We had an amazing time hiking, whitewater rafting, and eating our way through northern Montana. I could not have asked for a better bachelorette party and the ladies spoiled me rotten the entire weekend. You can read more about my week of training and our hikes in Glacier here.

One week I was able to convince Jason to go into work late so we could get in an early morning hike. We had plans to summit South Boulder peak but the morning got away from us a little bit and we just enjoyed our time on the lower trails. The meadows were bursting with wildflowers and it made for a perfect Friday morning. You can read about my week here.

At the end of June we headed to Lake City, CO, a tiny little town surrounded by the magical San Juan mountains. I had plans to run the San Juan Solstice 50, and even started the race, but dropped out at mile 16 with a stress fracture in my femoral head (hip area). After some Vitamin I, I rallied for a little exploration of the area while we waited for friends to finish the race. We had to scramble down a steep slope to get this view of Whitmore Falls but the pain was worth it. You can’t tell in the picture but I was directly in the spray of the waterfall. You can read more about our weekend here.

Even though I had a stress fracture in my hip, there was no way I was missing out on our planned Fourth of July backpacking trip in North Cascades National Park with Wade and Kate. We spent two nights in the backcountry and three nights in a front country campsite. The Cascades are magical, rugged mountains that I need to explore more. This picture was taken walking through our first (of many) snowfields to get to Cascade Pass. That night we camped on Sahale Glacier in rapidly falling temperatures and woke up to a world covered in clouds below us. You can read all about our adventures here, here, here, and here.

In early September I bought myself a fat bike named Hellga. She has changed my life. In fact, Jason and I are heading to the desert for the long New Years weekend to get in some fat bike dirt adventures. This picture was taken when Jason and I biked to the top of North Peak in Keystone. I’ve been up there in the winter with a snowboard on my feet, but this was my first time in the summer. The ride up was fun and a little challenging at the top while the ride down was even more fun and a little freezing at the very bottom. The views from North Peak were amazing and we caught the light at just the right time. We even had time to enjoy a delicious Italian dinner while we waited for the mountain traffic to die down on I-70. You can read about this and my other early biking adventures here.

At the end of September Jason and I threw a big party in the snow! But it wasn’t just any party, it was our WEDDING! Yes it snowed in September on our wedding day. It was the most magical day of my life and everything about it was perfect. We then continued the fun with celebrations in Virginia and Chicago for almost an entire month of wedding joy. No blog posts about the wedding so you’ll have to survive knowing that it was amazing and if we’re friends on Facebook, I’ll be posting all the pictures soon.

To round out the actual wedding weekend, we took another trip up to Chasm Lake and this time we made it all the way. Wade and Kate were able to stay an extra day and joined in for the fun. The water was a little too cold for me to swim in but Wade was brave and took the plunge. He survived and we took this picture to celebrate. Once again no blog posts about this trip but Chasm Lake was everything I hoped it would be. For those who don’t know, this was my third attempt at the lake (first was when I summitted Longs Peak with my mom and sister in 2012, second was in January 2016, and the third time was the charm).

The final “favorite” photo from 2016 is from the first fat bike adventure that Jason and I took together (he didn’t get his fat bike until the second week in December). We ventured up to Brainard Lake with hopes of riding the snow road (see the picture above of Moose and I walking on it in the early spring) but the snow was completely unconsolidated. We are not good enough riders to make riding in unconsolidated snow fun or worthwhile so we switched it up and biked on a singletrack crosscountry ski/snowshoe/fat bike trail. It was a blast and I have a feeling we’ll be spending some more time up there in 2017.