I Hiked for a Beer and other 2020 Highs (and Lows)

(To be completely candid, I did not drink beer at the end of the hike, I had wine.)

A lot of people are going to write about how hard 2020 was and how much it sucked and how they are throwing it away and hoping for the best in 2021. Not to sound cliché, but I’m going to take all that’s happened this year as a learning experience, as growth. I’m pulling out the positives buried in all the negatives. Of course there are several things that I don’t want to remember from this year, and there are certainly times when I absolutely hated the universe for making me deal with certain things. But who didn’t feel that way at least once this year?

As for some of those positives, here are a few from the year.

Recreation

Skiing
I got to enjoy skiing before the resorts had to close down in March. As a volunteer alpine coach for the local high school I got to ski in Beaver Creek for the state championships in February which was a little bit of a personal throwback as I skied there for my first state championship as a freshman in high school.

Aside from alpine skiing, I also got more into Nordic skiing and was able to get out in Grand Lake for a few days. I recently purchased my own set of backcountry skis and am looking forward to hitting the trails again in the new year.

Kayaking
I love to kayak and I’m glad that my family has two that we can use. I didn’t get out much but I did get to take my mom out for her birthday in July though and I forced her to wear a party hat to celebrate.

Hiking
As I mentioned in my Mid-Year Check-In post, I did not get out hiking nearly as much as I wanted to this summer simply because I didn’t want to be out on the trails with a million other people, tourists really. I did get out a few times with my mom and friends though.

My mom and I were able to hike a bit of the Continental Divide Trail in September with Nash, our trusty puppers. I want to hike more small sections of the CDT where it’s possible just because it’s an interesting trail with a lot of history. We did the small section that can be accessed from Highway 125 at the top of Willow Creek Pass on the east side of the highway.

We also hiked quite a bit on our week long camping trip from the end of September. Fall is one of my favorite times to hike because it’s not as hot and the photos are always beautiful.

And of course the infamous hike for a beer. Copper Mountain did a cool activity this fall where they setup the 10 Barrel Backcountry Brew Pub near the Timberline Express lift on the mountain. A group of four of us hiked up the Chickaree Way trail to get to the Brew Pub where we enjoyed a few drinks and then rode the lift down. We enjoyed Copper Mountain further by riding the Rocky Mountain Coaster and playing bumper boats. A great way to have fun while socially distancing.

One of the last hikes for the summer was one of my favorites, Columbine Lake. This was an interesting hike because we went shortly after a windstorm that unfortunately knocked down a ton of trees. Thankfully, my best friend and I have hiked the trail many times and we were able to navigate over and under the timber. It made for a memorable hike.

Taking Steps for Cancer
Every year a local non-profit does an event called ‘Taking Steps for Cancer’ that helps raise money for local families that are dealing with cancer. It has been a tradition for the Never Summer Crew (my second job) to do the 5k every September. This year the event was virtual and our crew decided to hike up to the Grand Lake Lodge where we could hang out on the patio and enjoy a few cocktails.

Camping

I was able to camp several times this year, which I am forever thankful for. Camping was one of the things that I felt comfortable doing because it was socially distance and out in nature and fresh air.

The first camping trip of the year was in June when I headed to Dutch John, Utah with my best friend and her family. My friend, her dad and I were able to get out on the Green River for a day of floating and fly fishing. *I’d like to note here that I am not a fisher. Unfortunately, our trip was cut short when it began to pour and then snow but we still had a great time before heading home. I’m grateful to have a friend that’s close by and enjoys going on adventures.

My second camping trip was with my family to our favorite spot outside of Rand, Colorado. It’s only an hour and a half from home and the photo opportunities are always amazing. I wrote about a few of my Summer Must Haves right after this trip which you can read here.

The next camping trip was for the Fourth of July where I was able to camp in the “backyard” of a friend’s house where we didn’t have to deal with crowds but still enjoy a classic Independence Day tradition. That time with friends was one of the best Fourth of July weekends I’ve ever had. I got to meet a few new people (safely, don’t worry), eat great food and camp. We also got to hang out at Willow Creek Reservoir and kayak and paddleboard which is also one of my favorite summer activities.

The longest camping trip this year was one that wasn’t necessarily planned from the beginning of the year. My family was supposed to enjoy a week-long cruise in early October, but because of the pandemic we shifted gears and decided to camp for a week. I wrote about our unplanned vacation here where you can see some great fall foliage pictures.

The last camping trip of the year was for my birthday. I was fortunate to get out again with my best friend and her family and enjoy more fall foliage near Ridgway State Park and Telluride, Colorado. We hiked the popular Bridal Veil Falls trail and took the gondola for maximum fall leaf peeping. Biking around camp was also a fun experience that I didn’t get to do much of over the summer. Our camping spot in Ridgway was a wonderful spot that I hope to visit again as well. We even made the most of the drive home and visited Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park where even though I am afraid of heights, I enjoyed.

This trip made me want to explore my home state more in the new year. There are so many beautiful places nearby that I haven’t been able to enjoy yet.

Work: One Trip, Working from Home & Returning the Office

Working had highs, and lows of course, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m glad to have been employed throughout the year.

Before COVID-19 halted travel within my company, I was able to get one work trip in. I traveled to Park City, Utah for a property visit where I enjoyed exploring the area and taking lots of pictures. If you’re interested in reading about that trip you can check it out here. I hope I can begin travelling again when it’s safer. It was a big part of what my job was supposed to be last year and I was definitely upset when it was cut short.

Working from home occurred shortly after my return from Utah. It was definitely challenging waking up and just moving to the dining room to work for the day. I don’t think I wore anything other than sweats and leggings for a few months. The nice thing was that I got to spend a lot of time with my cat and dog. I had my hours cut a bit but nothing to complain about. I took the down time to just relax and be lazy which I am not one to do very often. My company tried their best to keep all of us across the nation in good spirits so we had monthly Zoom meetings that we are continuing for the foreseeable future.

Once going back to the office (part-time), it was a bit different but better than sitting at home all day, all week. I wrote all about it in my blog post here. Currently, our office is less one person and we are making the most of it. The three of us are working hard but we are enjoying being able to see each other in person (with masks). We were able to do a socially distant Christmas party too where we exchanged stocking stuffers.

As for the professional part of my job, my end-of-year review was good and there is potential for additional growth which I am excited about. I’m hoping to take classes online this next year to further my education in various elements of my job that I’ll be able to take with me when I eventually move on.

Reading, Writing and Crafting

As with the last two years, I participated in Goodreads’ Annual Reading Challenge again for 2020 with a goal of 25 books. I normally write reviews for the books I read and post them on here but I didn’t for all the books I read this last year. I almost made my goal but fell just one book short. I’m not calling it a complete fail though because I’m currently reading two books.

For the writing side of this last year, I sort of fell into a slump. I wasn’t motivated to write many blog posts and it really upset me because I love to write. I have many blog post ideas and I will certainly try to plan ahead and actually schedule time to sit down and write in the new year. One of my 2021 goals is to also write in my journal every day. I follow someone on Facebook who has journaled for the last several years and her goal is to write every day, even if it is just a single word. I have found over the last few months of journaling more, that I really enjoy it and it is helping reduce some stress and anxiety.

Another stress reliever that I tried to get more into towards the end of this year and that I hope to continue in 2021 is crafting. I made some of my own Christmas cards this year, made a cool pumpkin-snowman wood decoration and created a recipe book for my mom. I really enjoyed just sitting down, laying everything out and getting it put together. I’ve always seen myself as a fairly crafty person so I’m excited to schedule some time in the future specifically for crafting and for trying new crafts.

The Holidays

The holidays were nothing but amazing in my house. We really took the time this year to be thankful for what we have and how much we as a family have grown over the hardships of 2020. I’m a holiday person and I love decorating so Halloween was awesome. I was lucky enough to be able to hand out candy (safely of course) and give some of the kids in our community a little bit of joy. Thanksgiving was also great, lots of food and drinks and just our small little family of three. Christmas was the big one just last week. We went all out on food and sweets and the day itself was filled with lots of meaningful presents, more thankfulness and a whole lot of togetherness.

There are some negatives that I would like to acknowledge before I sign off for 2020.

In early January I lost my grandfather Poppy. It was a hard time for me, my mom and her family but we know that he is with his lord and savior and that he is looking over all of us.

He did not pass from COVID-19 but many across the world have. I hope that the families that have lost loved ones know that there are people out there doing everything they can to stop the spread and to prevent more people from dying. I also want all the doctors, nurses, healthcare employees, first responders and front-line workers to know that we are all rooting for them. I cannot thank you enough for the hard work, sleepless nights and dedication you’ve put into your jobs. You are the real heroes of this year.

From one strange year to the next, I hope you all can find some of the positives, because in the end, we all must keep moving, we must look ahead and take all the negatives in our lives as learning experiences and grow from them in any way we can, even if it’s small.

Here’s to 2021!

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