What I am Grateful For (2017 Edition)

*If you’d prefer not to read a peeing in the woods story please skip to the 2nd paragraph*

New Years Day 2017, Shawn, Niko, and I drove down a dirt road, when the road ended we got out and hiked. It was a beautiful cold sunny day. At one point, I had to make a pit stop in the trees, and as I was peeing in the woods, for what was probably the 3rd time in my life, I thought to myself “Yep, this is how this year is going to be.” And it really has been. I can’t even count how many times I’ve peed in the woods now!

2017 has been a grand adventure.

I am so very thankful for the people that are in my life. I am blessed with a loving family, boyfriend, and best friends who love the outdoors as much as I do. I joined two awesome groups this year: Women Who Hike and Mountain Chicks and met some bad-ass women. I started (and in a couple weeks, will have finished) my first #52HikeChallenge!

I am so very thankful to have been able to visit so many beautiful and unique places this year. 2017 set a new record for the number of National Parks I have visited within the course of a year – 5 that I had never been to, plus 3 that I revisited. I hiked in snow at 13,000 feet elevation and in a dessert all within 24 hours. I walked on the beaches of 2 Great Lakes. Drove through 18 states. Hiked in a cave. Learned there were mountains in Alabama, but even better ones in Glacier National Park. Saw wild horses for the first time ever. And a bear!

I am so very thankful for good food. I ate picnics in Ohio, pasta in New York, fancy french toast Kentucky, and yummy pizza in North Dakota.

I am so very thankful for this blog and for you who read it. I started writing it back in May and have greatly enjoyed sharing my adventures. It is a fun way to preserve all the memories.

These are the places I explored this year (will be updated on December 31st). An * marks places I visited for the first time in 2017.

National Parks

State Parks:

Nature Preserves:

State Forests:

National Forests:

Below are some of my favorite photos from this year: