My life has turned into one big adventure lately, so I haven’t been compartmentalizing the fun into neat little posts. I was going through my pictures and decided to do a monthly picture highlight, just one image only, maybe two depending…reflecting on 12 months of the best of. This year has been challenging and incredible and here’s why:
January: Bill Williams River
Remember when I was in Arizona beginning of the year? Yeah, well I barely do either. It was the toughest 6 months of my life (since 2008-9 of course) and you can read all about it in my Arizona postings. I digress and look back on these pictures with complete fondness though. These are of my yard; just over the dirt hill and bridge was this gorgeous tributary of the Colorado – The Bill Williams. A river I partied so hard on in Havasu (Hava-doosh) with my Derby Doll team (Trust Fund Terror Por Vida) took on a completely different meaning and purpose to me. The sunset is over the Highway 95 turnout, across from my neighborhood of about 4 blocks wide. The mesa shot is via kayak on the day I went to the end of the river (I think, the voyages blend together). Neither shot of which hold much of a significance other than a beautiful place I once lived next to. That of course is a very simplified concept.
February: Sedona, AZ
Part of my tactic to getting through an incredibly isolating and lonely part of my life was to have things to look forward to, like friends visiting. Todd drove all the way from LA and met me in Sedona for a weekend of camping. You can read all about that adventure here. Sedona was a gorgeous and magical place with it’s vortices and red rocks… hands down my favorite part of February. That’s me doing my warrior pose, shouting ‘Todd take a picture of me!’
March: Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
This photo was taken on my last day of work, at work. Yes, we got to paddle around as part of our job, but I was just there observing. The others were doing all the work which entailed listening for bird calls at various points along the river, notating and recording. You know, super important and serious stuff. All I had to do was be quiet. March was an exciting month of getting my next job offer, getting a new car and spending time with my family in Colorado which were other monthly notables. However, making it to the end of a 6 month assignment and having it culminate on this beautiful river was a momentous occasion indeed.
April: June Lake, CA – my new home
Well choosing a photo for April was near impossible since I made it out to my new home and job at that time. There were so many exciting moments that ensued while I discovered this strange new place. But this photo was from my third day in town and the first time I saw the expanse of my new home, thanks to Richie (and Dude). Him and I are still together and he’s way too wild and young for me but we have fun, he makes me laugh and constantly teaches me how to be more positive, passionate, adventurous and free.
May: Siobhan! Siobhan! Siobhan!
My birthday month was full of surprises, like my first snow here and seeing Half Dome for the first time but it was meeting this tiny lady that trumps all. Colleen and Scott spawned and I was with them peripherally for the journey they went through to make it happen so Siobhan is a miracle baby and even though she pooped on my leg after we took this photo, I still love and adore this amazing girl. Miracle shit!
June was off the chain with adventures like backpacking, petroglyphs, hot springs, waterfalls, catching my first trout… but camping in Yosemite for the first time was nuts. This is the Nevada Fall behind me and Richie, who had to carry me there because I was weak with anemia but hell, we made it. The best part of it all was floating in a raft down the Merced with the valley all around, but I was not about to bring my camera on that excursion. I understand the hype of that park, it is so stunning, you just have to see it for yourself. I really want to explore its backcountry this coming summer… there is so much to Yosemite and it is right next door!
I got to share the amazing place I live with my most favorite people: my parents, the Butlers and Adriana. I took my parents to some pretty crazy places, including the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest – 10,000 feet above the earth! My dad impressed the hell out of me as he did the trail loop around the old trees. The Butlers impressed me too with Siobhan and her adventurous spirit (already!). And then Adriana was hilarious, positive and game – even though she had health issues at the time. These are my favorites and they made June even more fantastic.
August: Big Pine Creek camping
During the height of fire season in west, Todd drove up from LA and met me in Big Pine for a few nights of camping. We hiked up Big Pine Creek to the bluest lakes I’d ever seen and I was blown away. Too bad they were so cold and I am such a wimp.
September: LA LA Layla
I made my first trip home to LA since Christmas and had a great time with friends, including an impromptu Derby Doll reunion. But the best part was meeting Layla, Miro and Dave’s little lady. It seems like most of my closest friends are procreating and I am just loving all these babies! She was so happy and snuggly and I couldn’t get enough of her.
October: Alabama Hills
My dear friend Tara drove up from LA to meet me in the Alabama Hills for glamping, despite a terrible knee injury she ensued while being bad ass and hiking the John Muir Trail. We rock scrambled/hiked anyways and she got this great shot of me doing a not so great tree pose. Totally unplanned, we both sported our blast-off-galaxy-star leggings the majority of the time. I discovered what a glamper she was with her fancy beers and snacks, peace flags, tent lights, coffee making, pie iron, mini beer pong… I need to up my game. This was the same weekend the freeways were flooding and it was a miracle she made it back safely. We woke up to rain and saw Mt. Whitney peaking at us through the clouds.
November: NAI Conference, Virginia Beach
My company generously furnished my trip to Virginia for the National Association for Interpretation Conference and it was such a great learning experience. It was my first conference ever and quite overwhelming – wanting to be in 3 places at once. Just so much to absorb, being new to the field. But my favorite part of all was being introduced to the workings of Doug Elliot, this adorable naturalist from North Carolina who teaches through story and song, without you even realizing how much you are learning. It was like a magic trick. My hotel was on the Atlantic and this is a shot of Neptune, God of the Sea, with his sea turtle mascots.
December: Niece Madness
December was the most challenging month of the year and I was dreading it since the fall because I had major surgery. I’m okay obviously and still recovering now in January but the first few weeks sucked hard and I’m so grateful to have had close friends to rely on and stay with during the process (thanks Colleen, Siobhan, Richie and Todd!!!) So when I got to go be with my family for Christmas in Colorado, it was therapeutic. My sister multiplied again and I got to meet the brand new Isabelle (aka Martina) and Claire being almost 3, was off the charts with cuteness and spunk. I probably shouldn’t of been chasing her around so much and twirling her but I just couldn’t help it.