2013: My Favorite Adventures

I started this tradition back in 2011 and continued it last year, so why not keep it going? I did, however, decide to change the title. You see, I’m still not Oprah, but aside from that, I realized that all of my “favorite things” seem to be various adventures. So, why not call a spade a spade?!

Having said that, let’s get this show on the road. Here are my favorite adventures from 2013!

Haiti with Mission 29.2


I spent a week in Ouanaminthe, Haiti back in January, and it was such a spectacular experience. I went with a non-profit called Mission 29.2 and had originally planned to run the 29.2 mile race. Instead, I spent a few months in physical therapy for my back and enjoyed volunteering from the tail bed of a pickup truck.


Shannon with one of the little ones. Who knew he would later accompany us on our trek to Alaska?!

Regardless, I got to know quite a few locals in Ouanaminthe and grew to love the people in the community. I was so glad to be a part of something that donated so much money to the local school, and I really look forward to going back in the future.

Hut Trip to McNamara Hut

Our annual hut trips always make my favorites list every year and it is no different for 2013. Ironically, we’re not going on one this year (taking a year respite), but we had a blast last season.


We hit up McNamara, one of the easier huts to get to in the 10th Mountain Division hut system. Per usual, the weather was beautiful, the company was awesome, and we ate, drank and played like teenagers. My favorite part about these hut trips is always the complete removal from technology because we always resort back to each other—and I love that.

Will Moved to Colorado



After what seemed like forever with the long distance dating thing, Will finally moved to Colorado last May, and it’s seriously the best memory I have from 2013. The road trip was filled with some beautiful scenery and ridiculous moments (like driving down the California freeway with his car honking as it was towed behind the moving truck!), but we were both so glad to be done with that drive!

A Year of CrossFit

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Foam rolling after yesterday’s squat clean workout…my butt is sore!

Typically, I’d look back on a year and have more running-related memories, but 2013 seemed to be the year of CrossFit for me (when it comes to “standard” fitness anyway). I started at Big Horn in September, 2012, but after spending the last month of the year on the injured list, I really wasn’t able to find my groove until the following spring.

Am I now a bad ass CrossFitter like this gal? Not even close! But you know, that’s not what it’s about for me. Instead, I am loving that I am seeing tangible growth in so many areas. It has been awhile since I have been this goal-oriented in relationship to my fitness, but I’m enjoying setting up targets and knocking ‘em down. I really wanted to get a strict pull-up and finally accomplished that in June. Now, I can finally string together five. I set a new back squat PR on Monday (160#) which is not a lot for many women, but since I’ve been stuck at 150# for a ridiculous amount of time, I was beyond ecstatic. I’ve been working on my handstand push-ups and am down to just one mat underneath my head, and that’s largely because I don’t trust myself not to crush my brain on the ground. In short, I am enjoying my personal progress and am looking forward to seeing what I do in 2014.

Capitol Peak

This damn mountain had been on my list for almost a decade, so finally attacking the beast was almost a highlight of my whole year!


All Capitol photos were by Will…obviously, since setting up a tripod on the Knife Edge would take some serious skill!

Capitol Peak (14,131 feet) has a sketchy ridgeline known as the Knife Edge that is a formidable mental opponent. Will and I decided to finally hit it up on Fourth of July weekend, and the entire trip was perfect. We saw a black bear on the hike in, enjoyed some beautiful wild flowers, and had an awesome time climbing the mountain.



While we did get a chance to cross the Knife Edge (twice! Once in either direction), we weren’t able to summit due to potential storm clouds in the distance. But, like I said on this podcast, I’m actually not that worried about the summit. The appeal of this mountain was the ridgeline and I got to experience that. I’ll get back for the summit one day, but I’m not going to stress about it now!

Packrafting in Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska


By far, heading to Alaska was the best adventure of 2013! We took bush planes into the interior of the park, well above the Arctic Circle, and spent five days packrafting the Alatna River. Save for some moose, a lone white wolf and an accidental encounter with a Grizzly bear, we didn’t see a soul for the entire trip…and it was spectacular.



Great snap by Will

I had been aching to go “off the grid” for awhile, and this was about as far off as one could plausibly go in a week’s timeframe. I really got to know Amy, Stew and Shannon, the crew that accompanied Will and me on the trip, and couldn’t have imagined a better team. Naturally, we’re all conspiring for another future adventure, but I’ll keep that under wraps until things become solidified!

PS If you’re interested in packrafting and are curious about the details, take a look at this “Beginner’s Guide to Packrafting” that I wrote for MSR’s The Summit Register. Hopefully it will save some of y’all from the stupid mistakes I suffered through!

The Upcoming #OmniGames

Sure, the mysterious Games won’t be happening until January, but we initially received word of the event a few months ago, so I’m counting it as part of my 2013 adventures!


Really, this has nothing to do with the OmniGames, but what’s an outdoor-related post without an adorable photo of Tals?!

Admittedly, none of us know a single thing other than the fact that Columbia has already purchased all of our plane tickets to Salt Lake City, and we believe the Games will take place in Park City. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine! There have been a few red herrings thrown out there—a few teammates have received trail maps to Deer Valley but the rest didn’t; we’ve been told to bring our skis but also to start running and doing pushups; we have no idea if it’s a singles event, seasons vs. seasons, or a combination of both—but regardless of that, we’re all ecstatic. Columbia has a proven track record for spectacular events, so I’m sure this will be no different. T-minus a few weeks and I’ll know more!


What are your favorite memories from 2013?


  • Reply Whitney at

    Favorites of 2013: January trip to Grand Caymans with my sister and hiring my first ever employee! June 9th birth of my 10th niece/nephew Miss Katherine Lee followed by a visit to PA to meet her. July directing camp for the first time ever without killing any children. You figure out which way to read that. August 1500 mile three day Colorado vacation excursion with the husband. September 3rd half marathon. October hiring employee #2 and seeing my oldest sister and family for the first time in two years! November-December getting the opportunity to start a school based mentoring program, doubling our mentor numbers. That’s a whole lot more than you probably wanted, but it was an awesome year! Next up: 10 days off full of family, Mannheim Steamroller, Anchorman 2 and Hobbit 2. Yay!

    • Reply heather at

      Sounds like you’ve had a spectacular year!! (PS Congrats on all of the surviving children at camp!) 🙂

  • Reply Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb at

    Pretty adventurous year for you, for sure. As you know, pretty low key on our end. Let’s hope 2014 brings some fund adventures!

    • Reply heather at

      Um, you did Ragnar! And settled into your new place! And did tons of self-discovery! And went to Disney! And did the rockstar wife thing! (Um, I sound obsessed with you…)

  • Reply Christine @ Love, Life, Surf at

    Heather! These are all such amazing adventures and incredible experiences. I always love reading about your adventures and can’t wait to hear about the Omnigames!

    • Reply heather at

      Thanks Christine. I’m looking forward to it, too!

  • Reply Brooke @ Wreckingroutine at

    Wow! Love this compilation of all your adventures from ONE year! I am so inspired!

    • Reply heather at

      Do you have anything on deck?

  • Reply Kayla @ kpLOVINGit at

    What? No hut trip this year?? I’m kinda glad, since I’d be missing out on it anyway. 🙂

    • Reply heather at

      No hut trip 🙂 Decided back in September; just needed a break from the logistics and coordination. Plus, they were kinda starting to blur together since I’ve done so many! Maybe a yurt trip, or maybe a hut to hut to hut trip, but then it eliminates a lot of people that can’t hang with that much cross country travel. So, we’ll figure it out and see where we all stand next season!

  • Reply Christy@ My Dirt Road Anthem at

    YOu have had some seriously awesome adventures. Love the picture Will took of you walking through the flowers. It is so awesome.

    • Reply heather at

      That’s one of my favorites too!

  • Reply Caroline at

    Awesome year! You went on so many amazing adventures!

  • Reply Kate at

    What a great year you’ve had! This is motivating me to get some actual outdoor adventures on the calendar for 2014 🙂

  • Reply Kiley @ DVF at

    man, what a fun life! Someday I’ll be brave (and my kids will be grown) and I’ll be able to do maybe one of those! How awesome, thanks for sharing your favorites.

  • Reply Cathryn at

    What a fantastic year you had! I think you win ‘Best Year’ award 🙂

  • Reply Kovas - Midwest Multisport Life at

    What an amazing year you had, both from an adventure and a personal level. I’m hoping for something similar in 2014 after lolly-gagging it through 2013 for the most part.

  • Reply Denise G. at

    My year included less physical adventures than the past few, but I’m okay with that. Got my mom through a mastectomy in February, took a trip with my love to Dallas in March and ran a very cold Rock N Roll Half marathon, found out I was pregnant in June, got the news my mom was cancer free during the summer, got married in October, and moved into our first house together this past weekend.

  • Reply Alyssa at

    I forgot to listen to your podcast! 2013 has been quite a year – probably my favorite memory was our cruise this summer.

    I can’t hear someone say “the games” without picturing them shooting through a tube into the arena. No matter what your recap says, in my mind you will all be fighting to the death at the Cornucopia.

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