The year 2022 brought lots of changes and many blessings for which I am truly grateful. Rounding out the year, we started off on the east coast, exploring and experiencing all that was in and around our backyard there, from the many trailheads and trails along the Appalachian Trail to the Blue Mountains, weekend trips to the shores of the Atlantic in Delaware, the rolling hills of West Virginia, Hershey Gardens, the monuments in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, and even the depths of the beautiful park close to our little neighborhood. There were days with rain, wind, sun, cool temperatures, snow, ice, warmth, and then those four season days where we literally got to experience spring, summer, fall, and winter within the span of 24 hours! There were lots of runs, hikes, bike rides, and treasured family time spent all over that landscape! All in all, we had so much fun getting to know that area and its people, and we were blessed to have called it our home for a year.
But, such as military life goes, our time in the northeast came to an end and thus led us on a new path with a destination just 3000 miles away from the home we’d come to know over the past 12 months. That journey eventually landed us in the Mojave Desert, but not without some stops and adventures along the way.
We started our trek southwest moving through the rolling hills of Pennsylvania and Virginia, landing for the first night in Natural Bridge, VA. There, we stayed just on the edge of a deciduous forest where the kids enjoyed the luxury of the cool water in the outdoor pool, shaded by all the trees. Onward we moved the following day down through Virginia, stopping off in Lexington at Virginia Military Institute before heading into western North Carolina where we continued our time enjoying the lush green rolling hills and mountains. From there, we rolled out to Tennessee, stopping off to see friends and family for the night and moving from there to Oklahoma to see our former home and some friends who were spending their last summer there before returning to their homes overseas. And, to top it off, we got to revisit the Wildlife Refuge where I spent much time exploring while we lived in Oklahoma. Continuing westward from Oklahoma, we ventured through the Rocky Mountains, stopping off in Colorado Springs, The Black Forest, and Durango to visit with friends. The Falcon Trail at the Air Force Academy was one of my favorites on our trip. It spans about 13 miles, but each day we were there I ran a few miles starting at different points to catch some of the best views of the Rockies.
From Colorado, we ventured through the Four Corners into Utah and Glen Canyon Recreation Area where we floated the Colorado River and learned about the sacred Pueblo life along the river. As we were headed out of Glen Canyon, we realized Zion National Park was along our way, just slightly veering off our original route, so we decided to drive through as we had not been there in any of our previous trips to Utah national parks. Wow! I’m so glad we got to see Zion. There were jaw-dropping views in every turn! It’s a place we didn’t have time to fully explore on this trip, but will make time for on a future trip. We made it that day to Las Vegas within daylight hours to stay the last night of our journey before arriving to our new home nestled in the Mojave Desert about three hours from Vegas headed towards Los Angeles.
During our time so far in our new home, we have ventured out as much as we can to explore this beautifully unique terrain. We even have a mountain that always calls us to explore right in our backyard! As a highlight of our time here, on one of our mountain hikes we got to warm up in some hot springs along the Pacific Crest Trail! How cool is that?!?!?
As another year comes to a close, looking back, what new places or things did you discover this year? Where did your travels, runs, hikes, or rides take you? Even if you didn’t necessarily travel far, think back to your everyday runs, walks, hikes, rides, or other adventures. What did you learn that you didn’t know or realize before? What are your exploration goals for the new year? Take a few minutes to write them down to hold yourself accountable. Maybe even find an accountability partner to help you stay on track. Whatever your goals, go chase them now! You have a whole year ahead to make them reality.
Cheers to 2023!