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.