2022 was full of the unexpected. In comparison to the pandemic-addled years that came before, it was, for me, not terrible. I fell in love. I went on maybe my best adventure yet. I adopted a dog. I raised a kitten. I built things. I drank a lot of great wine, often with great people. I ate a lot of nachos. I took naps. I read books. It was, altogether, an ok and kind of great year.
Here are some of the highlights:
CLAUDE. I kept waiting for a big, big sign from the Universe to guide me toward adopting another dog. I felt like it would be obvious, like my heart would lurch, my marrow would sing, that something would tell me, yes, this is the one. Turns out, the Universe is very busy and sometimes the signs are more subtle, but still, there are signs. After almost a year with Claude, I am certain he was always meant to be mine.
REI CO-OP QUARTER DOME TENT. In 2020 I switched from a two-person to a one-person tent and it is still one of my favorite outdoorsy purchases to date. This tent is light, roomy enough for a me-sized person, is easy to set up and take down and stands up to the chaotic winds of southern Utah.
MOLESKIN CLASSIC WEEKLY PLANNER. It isn’t fancy, it doesn’t sass me about goals or give me words of encouragement, but it helps me get (and keep) my life together.
TACOS. In February, I went to Mexico City for the second time. The trip was filled with culinary delights. We had great dinners. We had great mezcal. We had great guac. But, the highlight for me, was the daily consumption of tacos.
NIGHTINGALE ICE CREAM SAMMIES. A Richmond delight that’s gained widespread renown, these ice cream sandwiches are perfect.
UTAH. In May, I drove 1,000 miles through and around southern Utah in a rental truck I named Truxlee. It was my second time in Utah and, again, it was a transcendent experience.
DARK HOUSE PODCAST. One of my favorite newly-discovered podcasts, Dark House describes itself as resting “at the crossroads of true crime, interior design and the paranormal.”
NALGENE WATER BOTTLES. Everyone seems to have A Feeling about their specific water bottle brand, and Nalgene is mine. If you’ve found me without one, it probably means something is wrong and I am not ok.
WEDNESDAY. I was born a goth, grew up a goth and now a peek into my dark and moody wardrobe will assure you I am, in fact, still a goth all these many years later. As such, I will gleefully consume all Addams Family content, old and new.
LePENS. Along with toilet paper, pillows and paper towels, pens are a thing I have a lot of feelings about as an adult. LePen pens are fine, felt-tipped and smudge-proof marvels in all the best colors.
SLOT CANYONS. Inside a slot canyon, light and sound operate outside the rules of reality. Around every etched twist is another opportunity to embrace the limits of humanity, to be humbled, to gape at the power of the planet.
THE PETS. Claude might be the newest member of the pack, but he’s joined by two cats, Bitty and Eddie, and his big brother wolf, Luke. Together, they make all my worst days better.
JARDIN. In 2020, I listed my wine club as one of the things I didn’t hate about that dumpster fire of a year. On Dec. 31, 2021, that wine club became a wine bar, the best little wine bar in all the lands.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK. At least once a year there’s a trip that surprises me. Usually, it is booked on a whim, booked because I need a thing, because there’s time and money and space to do it. This year, that trip was to Colorado, to Rocky Mountain National Park where I climbed mountains and stared at alpine lakes and fell asleep to the horrifying screams of rutting elk.
SCAMFLUENCERS. Another podcast in the true crime vein but also not, Scamfluencers covers influencers gone full scam.
OLD RAG. It seems forever ago that I tentatively hiked Old Rag, one of Shenandoah National Park’s top trails, for the first time. It wasn’t. It was 2019. My thoughts on my own competence in the wilderness were very different then versus now. Now I hike Old Rag at least once a year, usually as an out-and-back, doubling down on the scramble and ensuring extra appreciation for the beer and burger I inevitably inhale post-hike.
GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK. I’d been thinking about Guadalupe Mountains National Park and hiking to the top of Texas for years. I almost made it my wintertime destination in 2021, but skipped further south to Big Bend instead. In 2022, the Guads were everything I’d hoped they would be. And then some.
TRAVEL SPREADSHEETS. Sometimes I think I enjoy planning the trip as much as I enjoy going on the actual trip. I’ve gotten pretty nerdy with my spreadsheets in recent years, with mileage trackers for trail and road miles, tabs for budgets and gear and groceries.
RUNNING RECOVERY. I’m not the runner I used to be and I spent a lot of 2022 nursing tendonitis. But, I got some of my running mojo back by the end of the year, ran some races and feel almost back to my best running self.
TRAILED. A deep dive into the still-unsolved Shenandoah murders of 1996, I am still thinking about this book weeks later and all that it means to be a woman alone in the wild.
Tell me – what did you not hate about 2022?