As I take a look back over the course of 2016 there is much to be thankful for. It has been a year full of blessings and adventure. We have been blessed in so many ways. I’ve been able to explore more of the world that God has created for us. And often, I’ve been able to bring my family along with me on these adventures. The outdoors is where I feel most comfortable. I enjoy exploring and playing outside. A lifestyle that allows me to do that is vital to my overall balance, happiness, and mindfulness. Being able to do this with my family is necessary.
Here is a look at what 2016 brought to me and my family.
A Ski Family
The year started off where it was going to end, skiing. We rung in the New Year of 2016 with some fun family ski time. Through utilizing the Alta Copper Pass and hand me down skis we were able to get our children into skiing last winter. The oldest was into it at first but after a scary incident at Sundance she decided that skiing was no longer for her. The boy and the next youngest are passionately in love with it though. That excitement has carried over to this next season as well. It was a fun start to getting them out in the snow.
Racing On A Whim
In February we took the family and headed down for the weekend in Paige, AZ. I decided to jump into the Antelope Canyon 50. From little running and some ski touring I was planning to get through the first 33 miles of the race. I would have signed up for the 55k but then I would not have had the opportunity to run through Antelope Canyon. It was worth it to get in the canyon. I see why so many people travel from all over to visit this place! It was fantastic!
After the race we took the slight detour over to Zion National Park. Not a lot of time to spend there, but enough to get out and enjoy the surroundings. Also, it was early season so we could drive through the entire canyon. It was pretty cool jumping into a race late and still making my goal. I tend not to race much unless it is for the scenery and this one had excellent scenery!
Sometimes you need to head south for a bit to escape the cold. Altra hosted a fun athlete summit in Las Vegas. Leslie and I headed down to join in on the festivities.
We are always looking for a fun race and an opportunity to travel and visit someplace new. Leslie and I headed out so that she would be able to race the inaugural Mendocino 50k this spring.
Spring brought some great new beginnings. I had the privilege to baptize my third child. What a glorious day! These are the great moments as parents.
A Registered Nurse!
Years ago, we decided as a couple that Leslie would pursue a degree in nursing. This would give her something to fall back on were we to ever need it. She was placed on the wait list and it seemed as though the day would never arrive that she were to go back to school. Well, that day came a couple of years ago. After hard work, family sacrifices, and what didn’t even really seem like that long, she has done it! Leslie is now an RN! This is probably the biggest event of the year and we are all so proud!
This year brought about other changes. This past summer we decided that it was time to move on from Altra. It was a hard decision, but the time seemed right and it is time for new challenges. I am currently helping a couple of startups and doing some consulting in marketing and brand strategy.
As the snow melted and the ski season ended it was time to move onto summer fun. What is more fun to do in the summer than to get out camping? And because camping isn’t enough we needed to make it a family backpacking trip. Our first ever full family backpacking trip happened as we went up above Horsetail Falls up the canyon from Alpine, Utah. It was steep and rugged at parts, but worth the adventure! We did run into a bullhead snake on our way down. That made us all a little more edgy on the descent.
This year Leslie got into Western States through an Altra sponsored position. What a superb venue!
Yosemite National Park
On the way out to Western States we took the southern route through Mammoth, California and into Yosemite National Park. This was my theme park! This was the first time that I had ever been to Yosemite and it lived up to the hype. It was such an excellent place. As we drove into the Valley for the first time it took my breath away. Half Dome stands supreme from the moment that you come around the corner. The granite walls are superb. Yosemite is truly magical!
While in Yosemite I did an awesome 26+ mile run from Tuolumne Meadows down into the Valley along the John Muir Trail. It was fun speaking with and meeting many thru-hikers headed out to do the entire JMT.
Western States 100
We then left Yosemite and headed to Tahoe. I’ve driven around Lake Tahoe a couple of times in the past but never really spent much time there. It is a place that I need to go back to. Some time I would like to do the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Western States was a lot of fun running around to chase Leslie along the course. I can see why this is such a highly touted race. It had the allure, the scenery, the venues, and the people. It was a lot of fun. She didn’t quite get the day she wanted, but she pushed through for a solid race nonetheless. Read her report here.
More Summer Fun
After Western States we continued to have a fun summer.
SGB 40 Under 40 Honoree
Early on in the summer I was honored with Golden and Brian as a SGB 40 Under 40 Award winner. This award goes to 40 individuals each year in the outdoor and sporting good industry that has done outstanding work. With our ability to create and grow Altra we were recognized and honored with this award during the summer up at Deer Valley Resort. It was a fun get away with my wife and a great honor. We worked hard to achieve this and it feels great to be so well recognized.
Northwest Road Trip
We ended the summer with a bang as we headed up to the Northwest to visit Seattle and Portland and surrounding areas.
Mt Rainier was socked in clouds the entire time that we were there, but worth the visit. We will need to be back fore sure! Rainier is so much more than just the mountain. The surroundings are astonishing. Waterfalls, rushing rivers, lakes, lush greenery, and so many trails to explore. This place is a true playground!
After Rainier we spent a day in Seattle. We took the kids up in the space needle and enjoyed a meal overlooking the city in the rotating restaurant.
We then proceeded up to the San Juan Islands. Leslie’s family has some property on the shores of Lopez Island. This was a spectacular place to spend a couple of days! We kayaked, biked around the island, paddle boarded, and ate fresh caught crab on the beach! Superb!
Down from the San Juans we headed to Olympic National Park. On the onset this is not one of the epic parks, but dive into the middle and you know why this place is preserved. Mt. Olympus is an amazing peak! I need to go back to summit it. I ran from the north to the southwest of this park and it was amazing. Loved the interior of this park!
From Olympic National Park we headed down along the coast to Portland, Oregon. Any coastal drive is a plethora of adventure and great sea towns. We got to eat fresh oysters, drive through logging areas, see the routes of Lewis and Clark, and drive across the Columbia River on a bridge that was over 2 miles long from Washington to Oregon.
Portland is a great town! There is so much to do and see. This visit was not short of activities. Wish we had more time to slow down and do more (or at least to eat more local ice cream).
On from Portland we visited the Columbia Gorge and visited several waterfalls including the large Multnomah Falls.
As we have the privilege to explore this great country with our children we are blessed to show them so much. We have the opportunity to spend time with them and grow closer as a family. We are also honored with an increased cultural exposure that broadens and enlightens our view of humanity and the world that we live in. We have been blessed with both the passion and ability to travel and explore great places. Its not always perfect, but the memories that we gain from these trips are priceless.
Back to Everyday Life
Not that everyday life is too different from the adventures that we go on, but we do have other responsibilities that we need to attend to. One of those being getting the little ones ready for a new year of school. We sent off our first middle schooler this year. Wow! That makes me feel a bit older.
As we approach late summer and early fall it is time for peak bagging season in the Wasatch Range. This year was not a huge year with getting to the tops of too many mountains but here are a few that I did get on top of this year.
- Both Honeycomb Peaks
- Sugarloaf Peak
- Mt. Baldy
- Lone Peak
- Devil’s Castle
- Mt. Olympus (in Utah)
- Clayton Peak
Other activities that we engaged in as a family this year were Jr. Jazz Basketball, Youth Baseball, Mountain Biking, Gymnastics, Rock Climbing, Scouting, School Play, Orchestra, Dance, and so much more. We are always staying busy with something.
The year ended much like it began, on the mountains in the snow. As a family we got out a few more times to close the year. Also, I had the opportunity to go and explore some great backcountry terrain in the Uintahs with some buddies. Its been a great ski season so far looking into 2017.
As we leave 2016 behind and look back on the many adventures we get excited for what 2017 has in store for us. We are looking forward to more fun, more places to explore, and a lot more time as a family as we grow closer to each other and to God. We are truly blessed and hope to always be grateful for what we have. We hope that you enjoy your 2017 as much as we will enjoy ours!