2016 was a year full of love and adventure. Last year was my year to "get established" so to speak; I got a new job, my own apartment, bought a car, etc. but my goals for 2017 were really just to enjoy life and explore some new places! I ended up visiting way more places that I had planned and it was so much fun. From backpacking with wild ponies, to exploring Iceland, every moment I spent outdoors was wonderful.
I love to document stuff like this so here it goes, my 2016:
Michael and I started the year by getting out of Richmond and heading down to Lexington, VA for an overnight fly fishing trip at Buffalo Creek. We stayed at the Robert E. Lee hotel the night before and spent an entire day out on the river. Michael caught a rainbow trout! (Also one of my best friends got engaged!)
For our long Easter weekend we rented one of the Cottages of Chesley Creek Farm for some fly fishing and relaxation. My favorite part of this trip was searing scallops and setting off the smoke alarm. We were both tipsy and giggling while running around opening up every window and standing on chairs waving pillows at the smoke detector trying to get them to stop shrieking. You could hear our alarm echoing through the mountains around us!
We popped up to NYC for a friends birthday party and to explore some of the city.
We road tripped to Tennessee to see Fall Creek Falls, Twin Falls at Rock Island (my favorite waterfall we saw), Burgess Falls, Virgin Falls (Michael's favorite hike we did) and Cummins Falls. We camped all weekend and had an absolute blast. We camped at Rock Island State Park and then went to Edgar Evins State Park. We lived out of a tent and I wish we had spent an extra night at Edgar Evins State Park campground because it was right on the water and so peaceful. When we woke up in the morning we just laid in the tent and watched the fog on the water right outside our tent door.
We flew down to Florida to celebrate a friends engagement and drink fruity drinks on the beach.
We road tripped down to the Grayson Highlands for a long weekend of backpacking and camping.
We explored Twin Pinnacles, Cabin Creek Trail and then stayed overnight up in the Highlands off of the Appalachian Trail. This was Michael and I's first backpacking trip and it was so much fun, and so special. We can't wait to go back again!
I caught my first fish this year, a brook trout (plus many more)!
We spent a week relaxing in the Outer Banks with Michael's family. This was my third year at the beach with his family!
I went down to Roan Mountain State Park with Dee to backpack for my birthday weekend. We also swam under Elk River Falls and cruised up the Blue Ridge Parkway to hike Rough Ridge. During our first night in the backcounty we drank whiskey, watched the sunset and that night there was a huge meteor shower.
Michael and I spent a day hiking and kayaking Carvins Cove which was one of our favorite hikes/kayaking sessions this year (even though we were both hung over).
We traveled to Iceland (!!!!!!!) where we road tripped the south coast to the glacier lagoon, up to the Westfjords then back down to Reykjavik. We hiked to some amazing waterfalls, got to see the Northern Lights dance in one of the biggest solar storms in the past few years, we snorkeled between two tectonic plates, went fly fishing for Arctic Char and got to explore a little bit of Reykjavik (which consisted of eating amazing food and drinking wonderful wine). Iceland was one of my top three destinations I wanted to travel to in the world so I was super excited to get to go there for the first time this year! It was beautiful beyond words.
I got to visit Chicago for the first time ever and I loved it. I took a selfie in the giant-reflecting-bean-thing and strolled around the Art Institute of Chicago.
I spent my Mom's birthday back at Blackwater Falls State Park and got to see some amazing fall foliage. Virginia didn't have very vibrant colors this year so this made up for that. This was our second trip to Blackwater Falls and I don't know that I've ever been somewhere more beautiful during the fall!
I did a short overnight backpacking trip with two friends at Spy Rock and it was the windiest night I've ever slept in a tent... and one of the coldest.
I spent a long weekend with my best friend down in the Great Smoky Mountains. We were so fortunate to have gone at the beginning of all the wildfires. We also got to explore a little bit of the Cherokee Indian Reservation. My favorite hike was to The Jump off and Charlies Bunion. We also hiked to Chimney Tops. Outside of the park we visited Mingo Falls, Looking Glass Falls and hiked to Skinny Dip Falls and the Devil's Courthouse on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Michael and I got our first Christmas tree this year. We went to Skylark Nature Preserve off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The farm is surrounded by Appalachian Mountains and we couldn't have asked for a cuter, prettier farm to cut down our first tree.
Hiked Over 150 miles on these trails: South River Falls, Chimney Rocks, The Priest, Rapidan River, Hightop Mountain, Mount Pleasant, Big Meadows, Fall Creek Falls, Virgin Falls, Cummins Falls, Stony Man, Bearfence Mountain, Hawksbill Mountain, Twin Pinnacles, Rhododendron Trail, the Appalachian Trail North in the Grayson Highlands, Cabin Creek Trail, Blackrock Summit, Moormans River, Frazier Discovery Trail, Dark Hollow Falls, Roan Mountain from Carvers Gap to 19E, Rough Ridge, Rose River, Pocosion Mission Trail, Shamokin Falls Trail, Carvins Cove, Saint Mary's Wilderness, Cascade Falls, Lindy Point, Charlies Bunion, Chimney Tops, The Jump Off, Skinny Dip Falls, Devil's Courthouse, and Mingo Falls. In Iceland we did two long hikes to Glymur and Svartifoss as well as a bunch of shorter hikes to other waterfalls and locations.
Fly fished: Buffalo Creek, Rapidan River (lower and upper) multiple times, North Fork Moormans River, Cabin Creek and in Iceland!
You were a good one 2016! We wish everyone all the love and happiness for their 2017 and thanks for following along!