Technology is such a love/hate in my life. I am posting this a couple days late thanks to a technological hiccup. Turns out, trying to figure out why my post was seemingly “blank” when I went to publish on December 31st, it was actually more important to put my phone away and enjoy the final hours of 2016 with friends. So here we are, a few days into the new year, after a day skiing powder and dodging humans at Costco, my 2016 wrap-up:
Some say that 2016 has been a terrible year.
Some also drink decaf coffee.
I do not agree with either of these.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year… but they all are.
For me, 2016 has been a wonderful year full of adventure, new experiences, challenges, callused hands, bloody legs, big smiles, and lots of stories to tell.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to talk, have conversation, and tell stories. For this post, I think it is best to keep it short and highlight the better moments.
The best of this year:
Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread
3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup melted butter (Not margarine!)
3/4 cup coconut sugar (better for you!)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
For the swirl:
1/4 cup sugar (any kind)
1 Tbs cinnamon
1.Preheat oven to 350. Butter and four a loaf pan.
2. Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!
3. In a small dish, mix together the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tbs cinnamon.
4. Add 1/2 of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle half, or a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.
5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, but remember, if you’re using a different-sized loaf pan, be careful and keep a close eyeball on it!
This is by far the best banana bread I’ve had and made myself. Not going to lie, I probably baked and consumed (with some help) 7+ loaves of this bread in 2016. Looking forward to setting a new record for 2017.
Admittedly, I only read four books this year, which is historically low for me. However, I listened to six audiobooks due to me being on the road a good part of the year. I can’t wait to read more in 2017. These two books stood out amongst the rest in 2016:
1. The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
There is something magical about reading a story written about places you have experienced or lived. This tale hit home with its land defending, wild gang of characters based primarily in Southern Utah and the Southwest. I found this book even more meaningful having read it with a good friend of mine. We shared our different perspectives, thoughts, and favorite characters. I highly recommend reading a book “book club style” with someone in the coming year.
2. The New American Road Trip Mixtape by Brendan Leonard
I have never read a story that I have felt more familiar with. Okay – I didn’t live out of my car for months after being heartbroken – but like Leonard, I went to school at the University of Montana, I have visited/lived in at least 80% of the locations he writes about, and I respect the brutal honesty of him unveiling who he really is. My life experiences have been similar to his and I believe he acknowledges and discusses the struggles of love and life that people in their mid to late twenties go through. Many of you may know Brendan for his blog, Semi-Rad. I have heard that his new book, “Sixty Meters to Anywhere” is a good read too. Check it out!
Lily. Also known as Lily Monster, Fox Badger, Pig, Gila.
Joining me in July, my little corgi/heeler pup has jumped right in and changed my life. She brings such joy to my life, while also constantly testing my ability to be patient and selfless.
Climbing & Mountain Biking:
I had always said I didn’t have the time to take on any new sports – especially any sports that were gear heavy.
It’s amazing how turning a new page can change a stubborn mind. These sports have taught me patience, pain is gain, and that practice is the single only way to improve. To more pulling and pedaling ahead.
Best Climb: Rush Wall, June Lake, CA
Best Bike Trail: Horseshoe Canyon, Driggs, Idaho
Hiking will always be my true love in recreation. In 2016, trails have taken me to the most beautiful vistas. Every mile, every step making me thankful for my health and the freedom that public lands represent. It is truly amazing where your feet can take you.
Sky Pond, Rocky Mountain NP
North Dome, Yosemite NP
Fairyland, Bryce Canyon NP
Yosemite Falls in the Spring, Yosemite NP
Chesler Park Loop, Needles District, Canyonlands NP
Delta Lake, Grand Teton NP
Between weddings, road trips, concerts, “adult spring break”, and backyard barbecues – I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to spend time with. Near and far, old and new – you guys rock. I’m also thankful for Jared, who is the best dog-dad to Lily, helps me the aforementioned seven loaves of banana bread, and inspires me every day to excel and be the best person I can be.
As many of you know, I make goals for the coming year rather than resolutions. Goals are something we work towards to achieve. Resolutions can be broken.
This year my list includes travel, reading, and fitness goals, along with expanding my creativity. Write your goals down and keep them close.
Here’s to 2017…