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Friday, December 30, 2016

A year in review: 2016

I say this every year but this is always my favorite post to write.  A chance to stop and look back at the year and all the things iv'e done.  When I start to feel stagnant, reading these post are reminders of all the amazing things I have done.  Looking back, 2016 was crazy mix of mountains and oceans.  I spent about half the year in the west, and the other half in the east.  Some months I climbed peaks and others I went scuba diving.  This post, above all, was a reminder that 2016 was pretty good to me.  If you love these reviews as much as I do, you can check out A Year In Review 2015 and 2014.  In the meantime, lets take one more look at 2016 before ringing in the new year.  Or in other words, see some pictures of Katie in awkward poses around the globe. 

This year started out with a BANG!  Right after the holidays I took off for a week to the beautiful Madeira Island with my parents and 6 other aunts and uncles.  I did some scuba diving, saw some mountain peaks, visited a trout farm, saw the botanical gardens, sled down the streets in a toboggan, toured some lava tubes, and saw the natural pools.  I took a trip to NYC and ate some delicious Brooklyn Pizza.  Towards the end of the year friends were in town and we got in some skiing at Brighton, Snowbasin and Snowbird.

Coast of Madeira Island 
Scuab Diving in Madeira 
Family Photo Madeira 
Pico do Arieiro Madiera 

Toboggans in Madeira 
Skiing Brighton 

February kept the trend of fun trips abroad going.   First, I was off to Puerto Rico to spend a week on the island scuba divingswimming in waterfallshiking in rainforestsbiking on boardwalks and celebrating with friends.   It is also my birthday month so I Turned 28 and rang in 28 with an amazing Omakase dinner at Naked Fish.  Amanda and I went to see the crazy cool (pun intended) Midway Ice Castles.  There was a bunch of winter hikes like Rattlesnake Gulch.  I finally Tried Cross Country Skiing and had a blast getting out on the trails with Olive in a new way.  I Went to Moab, Utah (again!), this time with Olive for some dog friendly hiking and to mountain bike some of the best trails in the USA.

Scuba Diving Puerto Rico 
Condado, Puerto Rico 

28th Birthday with the critters 
Midway Ice Castles \
Hiking Rattlesnake Gulch, Utah 

Skiing Snow Basin 
Cross Country Skiing, Park City, Utah 
Mountain biking in Moab, Utah 
Hiking Corona Arch in Moab, Utah 
March was alllll about hiking! Amanda and I met up again for another adventure but this time, to hike to the famous hotsprings Fifth Water/Diamond Fork.  March involved more hiking with friends like a trip to the Living Room with Hilary and Brighton from Next Stop Adventure.   I went to see some Utah classics when I Visited Golden Spike  and the Spiral Jetty on the Great Salt Lake.  Towards the end of the month, I went on an awesome group camping/hiking trip with Girl On A Hike and other friends to the southeast corner of Utah and Arizona border to see Monument Valley, AZGoosenecks State ParkThe Moki Dugway and Natural Bridges National Monument. I ended March with a trip to ski Solitude and a few days later, a day skiing some amazing powder at Snowbird.

Hiking in Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona 

views from my tent door Goosenecks State Park
Camping at Goosenecks State Park, Utah 

Moki Dugway, Utah 

Views from natural bridges national monument
Hiking in Natural Bridges National Monument 

House on Fire Ruins, Utah (Bears Ears National Monument)

Spiral Jetty
Spiral Jetty, Great Salt Lake, Utah 
Diamond Fork, Fifth Water Hotsprings, Spanish Fork, Utah 

More hiking and trails were starting to open up as we climbed to Malan's Peak in Ogden. Spring was in full swing in the city and I spent some time taking in the Cherry Blossoms at the Capitol. The sun kept warming up the city and I hiked Avenue's Twin Peaks overlooking beautiful Salt Lake City. We took a roadtrip to Idaho to see the "Carribean of the Rockiess" known as Bear Lake and followed in some of the footsteps of the Oregon Trail.  There was more time spent outside mountain biking, hiking Ferguson Canyon, and even getting in a last day of skiing at Snowbird. We ended the month with an awesome roadtrip through Idaho and Oregon to the coast.  In Oregon we went to some iconic towns like Newport and Astoriachased waterfalls, hiked to some crazy viewpoints, looked down the Pacific coast from Ecola State Park played in the dunes, drank some local beer, and hiked to some cool spots from some of your favorite childhood movies like Goonie Rock at Cannon Beach and the waterfall from Homeward Bound on the Mackenzie River.  The month ended with some horseshowing on my favoite (Utah) horse, Austin. 

Malan's Peak, Ogden, Utah 
Cherry Blossoms at Utah State Capitol Building
Spring at the Capitol, Salt Lake City, Utah 
View from Avenue Twin Peaks Salt Lake City Utah
Hiking Avenues Twin Peaks, Salt Lake City, Utah 
Hiking Avenues Twin Peaks, Salt Lake City, Utah 
View of Bear Lake from the Visitor's Center
Bear Lake "Caribbean of the Rockies" in Idaho 
Hiking Ferguson Canyon, Utah 
Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, Oregon
"Goonie Rock" Cannon Beach, Oregon 

Beer Sampler at Ninkasi Brewery
Ninkasi Brewery, Eugene, Oregon
Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park, Oregon 
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon 
Horsetail Fails Hike, Oregon 
Views from the Cape Trail
Cape Lookout Hike, Oregon Coast 
Shoshone Falls, Idaho
Horseshowing in Utah
May was the start of chaos and another big transition in my life.  First, my parents flew into Utah to see me graduate with my Masters Degree.  I spent a week showing them around the city and eating some of my favorite foods.  Every they left, it was back to soak up the last bits of Utah beauty with days spent mountain biking and hiking trails like Mueller Park .  We ended Utah with one last sendoff on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.  Towards the end of May I said goodbye to life in Utah and drove a U-Haul the 2,200 miles East to move to Connecticut.  I packed up all my belongings and while Thatcher took the dog in his car, the cat and I trekked across the country in  U-Haul (five days to be exact).  But in Katie Wanders fashion, we turned the move into another adventure stopping at awesome places in the middle of our country like Badlands National ParkWind Caves National ParkMount Rushmore, and Cuyahoga National Park.  Of course there were the silly touristy stops off the highway stops like the The World's Only Corn Palace and the Jolly Green Giant of Minnesota.  I arrived back East just in time to kick off a beautiful New England Summer.

Graduating from the Unversity of Utah with my Master's Degree in Environmental Science 
Mountain Biking Mueller Park, Bountiful, Utah
My Penske Truck in Wind Caves National Park
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota 
Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota 
Badlands National Park, South Dakota 

Abby visits Badlands National Park, South Dakota 
Abby visits the Jolly Green Giant of Blue Earth, Minnesota 
The World's Only Corn Palace in South Dakota

June was right back into the New England swing of things with lots of diving, trips to Newport, Rhode Island and time spent with family and friends.  I did a lot of diving and clamming, and soaked up a Stonington Summer.  We spent a lot of time in this beautiful little borough, attending local parades, floating in the harbor, and having drinks and dinner at my favorite spots. There was a trip to New York City, Brooklyn to be exact to celebrate with some friends in the city. I made sure to walk the bridge and enjoy some pizza.

Local soup at the Farmers Market, Stonington, Connecticut 
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City
View of Manhattan from Brooklyn, New York City
Scuba Diving at Kings Beach, Newport, Rhode Island 

Stonington Walks, Elihue Island, Stonington, Connecticut 
July started with a weekend in Block Island, enjoying the beach and sunshine again.  I took another trip to Newport to visit some state parksdrink some wine, and just enjoy the summer and the water.  I started the Connecticut Lobster Shack Tour  and fully embraced everything New England.  In the middle of July I flew BACK to Utah to spend a week with Amanda for her wedding.  I also snuck in a few beautiful summer Utah hikes like Cecret LakeSugarloaf PeakBells Canyon and Willow Heights.  I watched Amanda get married and after a great week, I said so long to Utah (again, this time for a while) and headed back East.  The month ended with more lobster rolls, a lot of floating in the ocean to keep cool in a humid CT summer, and a trip to another local vineyard.

Summer nights at the Jens Risom Block Island House, Rhode Island 
Mansion Beach, Block Island, Rhode Island 
Greenvale Vineyard
Greenvale Vineyards, Portsmouth Rhode Island 
Lobster Landing of Clinton, Connecticut
Lobster Landing, Clinton, Connecticut 

Bells Canyon Reservoir, Utah 
Sugarloaf Peak, Utah 
Cecret Lake, Utah 
Willow Lake Hike
Willow Heights, Utah 

Amanda's wedding, Utah 

Another month and another lobster roll or two on the "Lobster Tour", this time to Abbotts and Ford's. I spent July loving being on the water, taking trips to Boston, MA to go scallop diving and spending as much time as I could on in or near the water.  I took one more trip to Block Island as a farewell to beach weather, spending a weekend soaking up the sunshine on the island with friends.  August was allllll about the ocean, as it should be.

Abbott's Lobster in the Rough,  Noank, Connecticut 
Seating at Ford's Lobsters
Ford's Lobster, Noank, Connecticut 
Scuba Diving for Scallops, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts

Finally the temperatures were starting to cool and the bugs were disappearing from the trails  I started off September with my goal to Summit New England, (hike the tallest peak in each New England state).  I hiked Bear Mountain, the tallest peak in Connecticut and walked along the Appalachian Trail.  I tried some more local breweries before planning another New England hike, this time to Massachusetts tallest peak, Mount Greylock and a stop at Pittsfield State Forest.  The following week was my third and most iconic New England peak, New Hampshire's tallest peak, Mount Washington.  I ended the month with one more trip to Boston to go scallop diving.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail to Bear Mountain, Connecticut  
Camping at Pittsfield State Forest, Massachusetts
Lake in Massachusetts
Hiking Tuckerman's Ravine to the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire
At the summit of Mount Washington 
Fall had arrived in New England the leaves were spectacular.  I headed to Vermont to mountain bike Kingdom Trails with friends and to hike Vermont's tallest peak, Mount Mansfield with Olive. I also took a trip back to New Hampshire but this time, to Portsmouth to see friends and the city, and spend some time at parks, cideries, farms, and enjoying a beautiful fall weekend.

Hiking to Mount Mansfield, Vermont 
Mountain Biking at Kingdom Trails, East Burke, Vermont 
Mountain Biking at Kingdom Trails, East Burke, Vermont 
Mountain Biking Kingdom Trails, Vermont

I caught the last of the fall leaves on a hike to Lantern Hill and tried some local wine at Stonington Vineyard (common theme).  I visited Clyde's Cider Mill and set out for another fun hike, this time to Holyoke Massachusetts across the Seven Sisters.  I spent the end of the month celebrating the holiday with family and friends.

Hiking Lantern Hill, North Stonington, Connecticut 
B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill, Mystic, Connecticut 
Hiking Seven Sisters, Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts
Hiking Seven Sisters, Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts
I blinked and all of the sudden it was December.  It was time to get the Christmas tree and start getting in the Christmas Spirit.  I took a trip to the Newport Mansions decked out for the holidays and stopped at Newport Storm Brewing.  December slipped away as I celebrated Christmas with friends and family and we had our first snowfall here in Connecticut, marking the start of the skiing season.

Stonington, Connecticut 
Cutting down Christmas Trees 
Tasting beer at Newport Storm, Brewery
The Breakers, Newport Mansion, Rhode Island 
2016, you had your ups and downs.  You were another big transition as I graduated college (again) and moved back East.  This year taught me to bring my sense of adventure back east, where the year was spent climbing mountains and diving oceans from Puerto Rico to the American West, throughout New England and over to Madeira.  I can't wait to see what 2017 brings, I truly believe it has big things in store.

Sayonara 2016  


  1. 2016 was a good year! It was great to get a recap since I haven't seen you in a while! Glad to see you're doing well. Any trips planned for 2017?

  2. What a year! I'm loving everyone's recaps this year, so much fun and adventure had by all! I'm glad you're back and hope we get to see more ponies on the blog next year!

  3. What an incredible year for you! Congrats on graduating (again) I'm excited to see what's next !

    Xxx Naomi in Wonderland


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