I set out in January of 2017 determined that it was going to be a year of adventures. As many opportunities as I could plan, I would. No excuses.
As the year went on, my zeal unfortunately started tapering off a bit, but I ended the year strong with a 10 day road trip from Phoenix, AZ to Minneapolis, MN.
Below is a recap. A baseline, if you will, that I plan to surpass in 2018.
January 13 – 15
In late December, my first niece was born. December 31st, to be exact. This girl is going to have a hell of a birthday party every year!
Of course, meeting her was a priority. So i hopped a flight up to Kansas City so she and I could hold hands.
Riss and Rach Doggie Adventure
January 27 – 29
The first real outdoor adventure this year took my friend Marissa and I from Sedona > Grand Canyon > Horseshoe Bend. A little bit of snow wasn’t about to stop us, and thank God it didn’t as the Grand Canyon view was unreal. As was Horseshoe Bend. The dogs agreed.
Orlando City Soccer Stadium
March 2 – 6
April 8 – 9
Work travel isn’t always bad when you’re tracking down crocodiles and attending Major League Soccer games. #goorlando
Horton Creek Backpacking
March 25 – 26
I took Marissa to Horton Creek for her first real backpacking trip. We made it about a mile and a half in before setting up camp and hiking the rest of the way back to the spring. We don’t judge. It’s more about being in the wilderness than it is the distance, right?
April 29 – 31
One soccer stadium this year just wasn’t enough. Onto Atlanta United. My first trip to Atlanta. The crowd was insane. In the best way.
May 19 – 21
This was one of those trips that just didn’t go quite as planned. Marissa and I made our way to the Child’s Dispersed camp site and got everything set up the first night (after dark), but had a few challenges with getting a fire started in the grill (because the land was too dry for a real fire), and a few drunken individuals stumbling through our camp – which is a little unsettling for two solo mission chicks.
Day 2, we made our way to Fossil Springs, eventually. The road that we were planning to take was closed, bringing us about 40 minutes out of the way. But we made it, and it was well worth the extra time spent.
On the way back to camp, we got a flat tire. Right in between cell phone service areas. On a dirt road, In the middle of nowhere. Marissa is a badass, so she changed the tire and we drove on the donut for the next 14 miles, but the drive down to the camp site was a little too sketchy to try to attempt on that, so we walked 3/4 of a mile back to camp. Not a big deal when you’re empty handed on the way down, but we also needed to make that trek with all of our car camping gear the next morning. Live and learn, right? That’s why they call it “adventuring.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
August 25 – 27
This trip took me to the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where I got to make my way onto the Pirate Ship, experienced what a real Florida spontaneous monsoon is like, and rubbed elbows with the cheerleaders. This is a big deal, because most people aren’t allowed on the ship. Most do get to pose with the cheerleaders, though.
I can’t seem to get the song “one of these things is not like the other” out of my head. 🙂
Reavis Ranch Backpacking
September 23 – 24
Riss and I decided to kick this adventure up a notch by hiking 6.5 miles into Reavis Ranch. To keep it interesting (*cough* because of time management issues *cough*), we got started a little late (2pm), which meant that we got to the first sign of running water after dark. 6.5 miles in. After seeing no one except 2 solo men and hearing what sounded like wild animals. We crafted our own camp site and hung out by the fire (and whatever else was rustling in the woods) before calling it a night.
The next day, we made it to the Ranch. No apples in sight this time, but we did come across some old farm equipment that Mr. Reavis operated. Oh, and a wicked huge tarantula.
Incubus in Denver
October 3 – 4
My first time at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre from row 11 with one of my best high school friends. Seeing my absolute favorite band since high school: Incubus. I don’t think I could have been happier.
A trip on the Phoenix Suns Jet
November 17 – 18
I was offered a very unique opportunity to ride on the Phoenix Suns private jet to watch them play the LA Lakers at the Staples Center, stay at the Beverly Wilshire, and meet (okay, take a picture with) LaVar Ball. And a picture of Dustin Hooks. I will be forever grateful to my friend and coworker Rob for this experience.
From the desert to the frozen tundra
December 20 – December 23
Because we get 2 weeks off from work each holiday season, and because I didn’t have anything else to do, I decided to take a holiday road trip from Phoenix up to Minneapolis, MN to spend Christmas with my parents. I used the Roadtrippers app to find interesting destinations along the way to help break up the drive. If you haven’t used the app, do it now. It will change the way you view road trips forever, even if you’re already a fan.
Day 1: Phoenix, AZ > Petrified National Forest > Amarillo, TX
Day 2: Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo) > VW Bug Ranch (Amarillo) > Oklahoma City Memorial > Kansas City
Day 3: Kansas City > Minneapolis
And then back to the desert
December 26 – 29
All good things must come to an end, so we loaded up the car to start the journey out of the frozen tundra, back to the steamy desert where we belong. In order to keep it interesting, we switched up the return route.
Day 1: Minneapolis, MN > Buddy Holly Crash Site (Clear Lake, IA) > Des Moines, IA
Day 2: Des Moines, IA > Denver, CO
Day 3: Red Rocks > White River National Forest (stream) > Fuita’s Mike the Headless Chicken > Arches view 1 in Moab
Day 4: Arches National Park > Mexican Hat > Monument Valley > Elephant’s Feet > Home
Day Hikes – New to the List
There are a number of day hikes that I do around the Phoenix area pretty regularly, but my favorite times are when I get to add new hikes to the list. Below are the ones that were added last year (at least that were documented).
Boulder Canyon Trail
Palo Verde Trail to SB Cove
Flagstaff Lava Tubes
While outdoor adventures are my first love, music is a very close second. I try to make every effort I can to attend concerts of bands I like when they pass through town.
2017 highlights include:
The xx – Mesa Amphitheatre
Zac Brown Band – Gila River Arena
Silversun Pickups and Third Eye Blind – Comerica
Counting Crows and Matchbox Twenty – Ak-Chin Pavilion
Maren Morris and Sam Hunt- Ak-Chin Pavilion
Joywave and Cold War Kids – The Van Buren
Fitz and the Tantrums and OneRepublic- Ak-Chin Pavilion
Nelly and Florida Georgia Line- Ak-Chin Pavilion
Jimmy Eat World and Incubus – Red Rocks
Portugal. The Man – The Van Buren
Afrojack – The W Scottsdale