I started this tradition back in 2011 and continued it last year, so why not keep it going? I did, however, decide to change the title. You see, I’m still not Oprah, but aside from that, I realized that all of my “favorite things” seem to be various adventures. So, why not call a spade a spade?!
Having said that, let’s get this show on the road. Here are my favorite adventures from 2013!
Haiti with Mission 29.2
I spent a week in Ouanaminthe, Haiti back in January, and it was such a spectacular experience. I went with a non-profit called Mission 29.2 and had originally planned to run the 29.2 mile race. Instead, I spent a few months in physical therapy for my back and enjoyed volunteering from the tail bed of a pickup truck.
Regardless, I got to know quite a few locals in Ouanaminthe and grew to love the people in the community. I was so glad to be a part of something that donated so much money to the local school, and I really look forward to going back in the future.
Hut Trip to McNamara Hut
Our annual hut trips always make my favorites list every year and it is no different for 2013. Ironically, we’re not going on one this year (taking a year respite), but we had a blast last season.
We hit up McNamara, one of the easier huts to get to in the 10th Mountain Division hut system. Per usual, the weather was beautiful, the company was awesome, and we ate, drank and played like teenagers. My favorite part about these hut trips is always the complete removal from technology because we always resort back to each other—and I love that.
Will Moved to Colorado
After what seemed like forever with the long distance dating thing, Will finally moved to Colorado last May, and it’s seriously the best memory I have from 2013. The road trip was filled with some beautiful scenery and ridiculous moments (like driving down the California freeway with his car honking as it was towed behind the moving truck!), but we were both so glad to be done with that drive!
A Year of CrossFit
Typically, I’d look back on a year and have more running-related memories, but 2013 seemed to be the year of CrossFit for me (when it comes to “standard” fitness anyway). I started at Big Horn in September, 2012, but after spending the last month of the year on the injured list, I really wasn’t able to find my groove until the following spring.
Am I now a bad ass CrossFitter like this gal? Not even close! But you know, that’s not what it’s about for me. Instead, I am loving that I am seeing tangible growth in so many areas. It has been awhile since I have been this goal-oriented in relationship to my fitness, but I’m enjoying setting up targets and knocking ‘em down. I really wanted to get a strict pull-up and finally accomplished that in June. Now, I can finally string together five. I set a new back squat PR on Monday (160#) which is not a lot for many women, but since I’ve been stuck at 150# for a ridiculous amount of time, I was beyond ecstatic. I’ve been working on my handstand push-ups and am down to just one mat underneath my head, and that’s largely because I don’t trust myself not to crush my brain on the ground. In short, I am enjoying my personal progress and am looking forward to seeing what I do in 2014.
This damn mountain had been on my list for almost a decade, so finally attacking the beast was almost a highlight of my whole year!
Capitol Peak (14,131 feet) has a sketchy ridgeline known as the Knife Edge that is a formidable mental opponent. Will and I decided to finally hit it up on Fourth of July weekend, and the entire trip was perfect. We saw a black bear on the hike in, enjoyed some beautiful wild flowers, and had an awesome time climbing the mountain.
While we did get a chance to cross the Knife Edge (twice! Once in either direction), we weren’t able to summit due to potential storm clouds in the distance. But, like I said on this podcast, I’m actually not that worried about the summit. The appeal of this mountain was the ridgeline and I got to experience that. I’ll get back for the summit one day, but I’m not going to stress about it now!
Packrafting in Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska
By far, heading to Alaska was the best adventure of 2013! We took bush planes into the interior of the park, well above the Arctic Circle, and spent five days packrafting the Alatna River. Save for some moose, a lone white wolf and an accidental encounter with a Grizzly bear, we didn’t see a soul for the entire trip…and it was spectacular.
I had been aching to go “off the grid” for awhile, and this was about as far off as one could plausibly go in a week’s timeframe. I really got to know Amy, Stew and Shannon, the crew that accompanied Will and me on the trip, and couldn’t have imagined a better team. Naturally, we’re all conspiring for another future adventure, but I’ll keep that under wraps until things become solidified!
PS If you’re interested in packrafting and are curious about the details, take a look at this “Beginner’s Guide to Packrafting” that I wrote for MSR’s The Summit Register. Hopefully it will save some of y’all from the stupid mistakes I suffered through!
The Upcoming #OmniGames
Sure, the mysterious Games won’t be happening until January, but we initially received word of the event a few months ago, so I’m counting it as part of my 2013 adventures!
Admittedly, none of us know a single thing other than the fact that Columbia has already purchased all of our plane tickets to Salt Lake City, and we believe the Games will take place in Park City. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine! There have been a few red herrings thrown out there—a few teammates have received trail maps to Deer Valley but the rest didn’t; we’ve been told to bring our skis but also to start running and doing pushups; we have no idea if it’s a singles event, seasons vs. seasons, or a combination of both—but regardless of that, we’re all ecstatic. Columbia has a proven track record for spectacular events, so I’m sure this will be no different. T-minus a few weeks and I’ll know more!
What are your favorite memories from 2013?