What can be said about this past year that hasn't already been said? From the roller coaster that was the X-Files reboot (thank God the Duffer Brothers didn't consult with Chris Carter) to Derek Carr's broken fibula to the heartbreaking tragedy in Oakland to the utter circus that led up to the horrifying reality of what will be the next four years in America, 2016 just may take the cake for the Biggest Shit Show in recent history.
On a more personal - and thus admittedly worldly insignificant - note, however, 2016 treated me, individually, extremely well. My first full year as a Utahn started off on a high note with a dogsled ride through Bridger-Teton National Forest, a snowshoe trek in Grand Teton National Park and a snowmobile ride though Yellowstone. My next few National Parks Passport Stamps came from Zion, earned after a dry-suit-clad hike through the Narrows, and then from Death Valley, during a visit to admire the amazing Superbloom. A trip to Oakland then helped to bring a horrible accident to a positive conclusion, we began our first big home remodeling project, a dear friend of mine came to visit, we spent a long weekend in AZ with family (and a bunch of cacti) and I wrapped up my first full year at Westminster. We adopted some new feathered family members (now laying more eggs than we can eat), these two characters came to town; I flew back to the Bay Area to catch a really great show at The Fox, drink some ridiculously expensive coffee and pay a visit to my farm hero friends; my best friend came to SLC. A trip to Scotland included more sheep, shorelines and scotch than I'd ever seen in one week, then we returned stateside just in time for the fall semester to begin. My parents came to town amidst peak fall foliage; a(nother) visit was paid to Oakland to watch the Raiders beat the Chargers. My birthday was (once again) spent on the river, this year in Cataract Canyon; we watched hundreds of bison traveling across Antelope Island during their annual roundup; a ton of food was consumed during this year's Friendsgiving. The year ended with a whirlwind push to simultaneously wrap up the fall semester and prepare for the spring semester, and, finally, we took off for an epic 22-day river adventure, back on the Colorado, this time through the grandest canyon of them all.
All in all, 2016 was an absolutely wonderful year for me, full of adventures near and far, the continuation of old friendships and the cultivation of new ones, and the slow but sure embracing of Utah as my new home. I'm eternally grateful not only for the opportunities this past year provided to me both personally and professionally, but also for the good health and presence of this guy, this guy and these two in my life. Looking ahead, 2017 promises, for better or for worse, to be Quite a Year - SLC is moving ever so slightly forward; California finally legalized weed but doesn't quite know how to deal with it; microblading, pecans, and oversized cactuses are In; and, of course, one of the most ridiculously offensive and utterly unqualified human beings will now be the leader of the free country that I call my own. Here we go, 2017, hold on to your butts.
Attempting to edit through the entirety of my Grand Canyon photoset sooner rather than later, but for now, here's a quick preview of what's to come...
Night 12 of 22 / Below Fossil / 7:35 pm
My new friend Grape, named in honor of Grapevine camp, where he was gifted to me by D and G. From a market in Thailand to the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, this little guy has traveled quite far.
photo credit: SO
“We are now ready to start on our way down the Great Unknown. Our boats, tied to a common stake, chafe each other as they are tossed by the fretful river… What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not… With some eagerness and some anxiety and some misgiving we enter the canyon below and are carried away by the swift water through walls which rise from its very edge.”
- John Wesley Powell, 1869 Colorado Expedition
Here's to JWP, the OG Trip Leader. After almost two years in the making, we head out tomorrow morning to launch from Lee's Ferry on Sunday, December 18th with ten people, six boats and 280 river miles of what promises to be some of the most epic scenery ever. Happy Holidays to everyone, we'll see you all in 2017!
I've been a lifelong fan of Turkey Day.
Someone doesn't quite fit into his cat bed.