It feels like just yesterday I was writing my reflection of 2015…but here I am, an entire year later, looking back on the adventures of the last year.  Time flies.  The busier we get, the older we get, the more we take on… it seems the faster time escapes us.  It is for this reason that I choose more and more, to find myself outdoors; on the trail or under the stars.  It’s here when time slows down, I can breathe more deeply and be in the moment, instead of rushing through them.

The last year was filled with successes and personal growth for me on and off the trail.  First and most excitingly, my small blog has grown a great following and the positive feedback over the last year from my followers has been incredibly motivating and inspiring. THANK YOU!  I’ve had the pleasure to meet many new people this year on my trips and have a great group of friends to adventure with and learn from as we hit the trails together.  Most importantly, this year I’ve learned to use my time in nature, not as a means to escape the hustle and stress of my working life, but instead to immerse myself in every moment and take what I gain from those experiences, back into my day-to-day life.

This has been a year of broadening my horizons and comfort levels when it comes to adventure.  I have taken up rock climbing and climbed to a summit in Wyoming with a bit of fancy rope work.  I tried canoe-backpacking and portaging and LOVED it.   I took a solo trip to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park and spent a few days reflecting on the joys and peace of having alone time to be present in the moment of the beautiful places where I camped and hiked.

This was also a year full of enjoying and sharing the trail with friends and family.  I celebrated St. Patrick’s day (my favorite holiday) on the trail on a most epic adventure with two awesome adventurous friends.  I hiked and explored my home province of Nova Scotia with my incredible parents. I navigated the backcountry lakes of Ontario with a long time friend (who also rocks at portaging by the way). It’s truly special to spend time sharing new and beautiful places, creating memories and enjoying the outdoors at the same time.

I also had a lot of firsts in 2016. I did my first winter backpacking trip in the mountains…the REAL mountains. I baked a chocolate cake from scratch over a campfire while backpacking in the dead of winter. I became a fire starting master (but not quite ready for Naked and Afraid yet). And I summited a mountain together for the first time with the love of my life.. .in Austria of all places!  I watched countless sunrises over the mountains and sunsets over the lakes. I saw the most incredible showing of the milky way at 12,500 ft in the middle of a mountainous, alpine meadow and captured it on camera.  All of these moments are etched in my mind and my heart.  Each one makes me feel more alive than the next, more in tune with myself, and the environment around me. This year I have found a deeper connection and respect with the places I seek for adventure.

My personal favorite success of the year, is clocking an entire month of camping. 30 nights of falling asleep under the stars to the sound of the critters rustling about, the rivers bubbling or the wind whipping through the trees.  This for me is a miraculous feat.  Those who know me, know that my work schedule occupies most of my weekends during the month. To be able to find enough time in my schedule to log 1/12th of the year outdoors is pretty spectacular.  A weekend here, a camping trip there; it all adds up.  I have made this a priority in my life because it makes me happy and keeps me healthy, physically and mentally.  I hope that 2017 brings just as many opportunities to truly “find” myself outdoors.

I’m excited for what new adventures wait for me on the horizon of 2017. Each year presents me with new challenges and opportunities. This year, I want to continue to push myself to try new things, adventure with new people and old friends, and reach outside my comfort level to see what I’m truly capable of. I also want to try my hand at creative arts on my journeys as a means to capture and experience my surroundings as much as possible.  As the days of 2016 draw to a close, take a moment to reflect on your year.  What successes are you proud of and what do you wish to accomplish in 2017 ?  Consider what being outdoors means for you, both on and off the trail. Why did you choose to seek out adventure and how can you make the most of it?  I’m so grateful for the time I spent outdoors this year and the platform to share it all with people who love to adventure as much as I do.   Thank you all who have shared the last year with me; online and outdoors!

Happy and safe adventures in 2017 from Hiker at Heart ! 

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