As part of my life update chunking I had planned to tell you guys about school, but then I realized that school's boring. Or, I saw Jill Outside's 2013 in Pictures and immediately became obsessed with her idea. What you see here is a much less thoughtful version, though; I basically chose what I judge to be the "prettiest" shot from each month of the past year.
Jill's totally got me beat (at photography, athleticism, and life, if we're being honest), but here are my own picks for 2013:
[I decided to be radical and present these in their non-Instagrammed form. I've done a bit of photo soul-searching recently and think I'm experiencing Instagram burn-out. That said, iPhone cameras make everything look more drab than it actually is]
January: View from a run on the Coastal Trail
For those not in the know, Anchorage's Coastal Trail starts at Kincaid Park and finishes downtown about eight miles later. The trail runs along the water and is a scenic, flat place to run.
During the summer people flock to this section of the trail, but last winter I often had it to myself. When it's cold out, the ocean freezes, which is what's going on here.
Flattop gets kind of a bad rap because its accessibility makes it the most-hiked peak in the area by far. For much of the year, summiting via the regular route is sort of like climbing Chilkoot Pass during the Gold Rush. Last February, however, my friend and I went up after a heavy snowfall. The going was incredibly slow and we often found ourselves breaking trail through waist-deep snow, but the prize was totally worth the effort. It was a beautiful, sunny day and since marathon training had just started, was my last hike until July. When done right, Flattop's actually a great hike.
March: a run on the road past Point Woronzof, right next to the Anchorage airport.
March was a really busy month for me. I was working a lot, schooling a lot, and doing a lot of thinking about my future. On top of that, I started hitting some pretty serious mileage PRs as part of marathon training. This photo was taken at the end of what, at the time, was my highest-mileage week ever. It was a perfect run on a perfect day to end a perfect week. I was also thrilled to run on pavement again after four or five months of snow running.
April: that time I randomly got sent to Norway for work.
I still have no idea how this happened. I had been at my job for all of a month when my boss asked me to go to Alta, Norway for him. I kid you not. I wasn't remotely qualified and was shaking in my boots the entire time, but nonetheless got a lot out of the experience. I was also able to hang out in Oslo for a couple of days. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and Oslo now ranks second on my "Jeano-approved European cities" list (Edinburgh's first. Paris is on my "worst" list. All the others fall somewhere in between).
May: when marathon training got intense
I honestly don't remember a lot about May other than that I spent much of it running. I don't remember this specific run either but chose this photo because I love the Sleeping Lady. Do you see her? The Sleeping Lady can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Anchorage and I have spent hours and hours looking at her. She's one of my favorites.
June: camping in Homer.
The week after my race, I took advantage of my newfound freedom to have some fun. Homer is, hands down, my favorite place in Alaska. To be fair, I've seen pitifully little of my state despite having spent 20-ish years here, but it's a gem of a town. I'd kill to own property nearby.
July: a hike up Wolverine with Bailey
I hardly wrote anything about this hike at the time, but it's stuck with me. I'm a pretty chill person, but that morning I was incredibly angry and needed to hate hike for a few hours to calm down. When I hit heavy fog only a few minutes in, I kind of felt like I was going to lose it. We pushed on, however, hoping against hope that it would clear up and we'd be able to see more than a couple of feet in front of us.
To my amazement, the fog cleared just long enough for us to summit, and we were gifted with an unbelievable view of the city below. There was something strangely therapeutic about the idea that I must have been one of only a handful of people on the other side of that fog.
August: a random lake in Canada on the way to Eugene.
The drive down from Alaska is beautiful. Take the Cassiar Highway if you've got some extra time. I can't remember which highway this was on, but I do remember screaming at my dad to stop just as we were about to pass it. I had to get a picture! I love the red hue of the mountains, which unfortunately doesn't really come through in this shot.
September: beach near Florence, Oregon
I've mentioned that during the month of September, my classmates and I did something called "math camp" that left us with a lot of downtime. One Friday, we decided to head to the coast despite the heavy rain forecasted for that afternoon. It was sunny in Eugene so it would obviously be sunny there, right?
Wrong. The first few hours were miserable. I wore a trash bag over my evidently fake rain jacket and was soaked to the bone in minutes. We made the best of it, however, and a few hours later managed to get a fire going just as the rain stopped. Major fun ensued.
October: weekend trip near Coos Bay, Oregon
Oregon driving is really beautiful but unfortunately doesn't translate well in pictures. This drive, towards the coast, is one I could do again and again. Oregon bridges all look like that and I love them.
November: a Thanksgiving trip to Mt. Diablo
Thanksgiving was a bust, but after spending weeks pent up in a dreary office I was ready to be active again. The drive from Oregon to California did not disappoint, and neither did the hiking.
December: back where we started
You just saw this picture the other day, but it gives me so much joy. Oregon has surpassed my unreasonably high expectations, but Alaska will always be my first love. I can think of few things better than this. It feels good to be home.
[I highly recommend Jill's post and blog in general. My favorite month is July - Switzerland!]