2019 Recap

(📸: photo credit Cassandra Michelle Cassandra Michelle Photography )

This year was definitely a chart topper. I’m so proud of how many miles I fit into 365 days. The places I explored inspired and challenged me in different ways. Here are my finals stats for the year, in relation to my original goal:

Hikes: 77 / 70

Miles: 371.2 / 300

Elevation Gain: 72,869 / 60,000

Average MPH: 2.42 / 2.5

I exceeded all my goals this past year, except average miles per hour. Even though I did not hit that goal, I definitely noticed how much faster I got throughout the year. I started needing fewer and fewer breaks, achieving a faster recovery time.

Here are my top ten favorite hiking adventures of 2020:

#10: Mount Sanitas, Boulder Open Space

I hiked Sanitas a TON this year— from all three routes. I ended the year with a total of five summits. My favorite route is definitely the western approach, Lions Lair Trail.

#9: South Boulder & Bear Peaks, Boulder Open Space

I’ve seen these Peaks on the Boulder horizon for years. It feels really good to now be able to say I’ve hiked both tallest peaks. I hiked this with my brother who moved to Colorado this summer— here we are at the base of Bear Peak.

#8: Finch Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Finch Lake was another trail I frequented this year, completing it three times from two different routes. This lake was so good to me in March when Travis proposed! He took this picture right before going down on one knee. I should have known something was up because he never asks to take a selfie.

#7: High Dune, Great Sand Dunes National Park

Honestly, I think that the best time to hike the dunes is during the winter. The mix of cold, snow and ice makes the sand harder, making it a lot easier to trek uphill. The Sangre de Cristo mountains are so mesmerizing to me— I could have sat on the top of this dune and stared for hours.

#6: Ypsilon Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Everything about this backpacking trip felt like your idealistic summer camping trip. Easy hike in, two nights at our site, fun meals— hours spent laughing with friends and laying lakeside in hammocks. Fourth of July weekend could have been awful for crowds in the park; we came in the day before around sunrise and picked a trip in a more secluded area.

#5: Wheeler and Lost Lakes, Eagles Nest Wilderness

I’m not going to lie, it felt sketchy to ditch my car at a random Conoco and walk across the interstate with a backpack to get to a trailhead. But, I’m so glad I did it! Due to the late snowfall, our August trip fell during peak wildflower season. This was my brothers favorite backpacking / camping trip that we completed.

#4: Medicine Bow Peak, Medicine Bow National Forest

Wyoming is so much closer than I realized— it’s also my next frontier to explore. Even popular trails such as this peak were absent of crowds in the summer. This hike had views the entire time.

#3: Syncline Loop, Island in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park

In March for spring break, we backpacked the Syncline Loop in my second favorite national park, Canyonlands. Our camp site (see above) was straight out of an REI catalog. Somehow we found the one site in the desert with a running stream next to it, so we enjoyed ample amounts of filtered water. Since we did not have to ration our water, after setting up camp we wandered through Upheaval Canyon.

#2: American Lakes Trail, State Forest State Park

State Forest State Park is one of the best hidden gems in Colorado. Nestled northwest of Rocky Mountain, it was void of crowds and congestion. This trail absolutely took my breath away, especially the month we went- September. The alpine had hit peak fall covering the tundra in shades of gold and orange.

#1: Tombstone Ridge, Rocky Mountain National Park

Located off Trail Ridge Road, this was where Travis and I said our vows at sunrise. It was during the elk rut, so as the sky turned pink and the first rays of light hit the alpine, we stepped out of our car to a chorus of bugling. It was so beautiful. I’m so grateful for my forever adventure partner and my new family. (📸: photo credit Cassandra Michelle Cassandra Michelle Photography )

Looking ahead to 2020, I am going to focus on one quantitive goal: 500 miles. I have also been thinking about changing up my blog format; focusing on favorite monthly hikes, tips and gear reviews. Stay tuned ❤️

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