Well, I failed to post (or even begin to write) about a few running-related things I've had floating around in my brain lately, all of which I planned to do during my lengthy winter break. New Year's resolution: don't do that! Running has been so fantastic the past few months and I wish I could share more about it. School is still a major grind, however (to the person who told me the second year is easier than the first: liar!), and it's a struggle to even find time to run, let alone write about it. Fortunately, I have just enough time to do all the things that I love, plus publish the occasional blog post.
I did want to get at least one post up before the year's end, however, and since I had so much fun putting together my "2013 in Pictures" post last year (copying Jill Outside's post of the same name), I figured I'd do it again for 2014.
Despite all the time I spent studying, 2014 was one of my best years ever, due in no small part to the 2 1/2-month break I had from July - September. Consequently, I had hardly any pictures to choose from the first half of the year and far too many the second half. The winners came exclusively from Alaska and Oregon but there were a few gems from Washington and California as well, most of which I probably shared in other posts.
With that lengthy introduction, here's my 2014 in pictures!
January: Willamette Pass, Oregon
I made it to Willamette Pass, a local ski resort, with some friends just before the quarter started. I've heard the resort is more a labor of love than a huge profit-maker which is good since there wasn't any snow! It was a mega-grunt to get to the top. In my experience, hiking ski resorts isn't much fun because it requires a lot of bushwhacking. Also, steep as shit. It was still a beautiful day!
February: Mount Pisgah, Oregon
Confession: this was taken March 1. I did not take a single picture during the month of February, which tells you what a great time it must have been. I know I was getting out for runs but it was often so rainy I didn't take my phone with me. This is a typical Pisgah scene that time of year (or, really, for like 5 months of the year).
March: Deschutes River, 100 miles east of Portland
This was taken during my so woman, much brave solo camping trip during Spring Break. I was sick of rain and itching to get outside after being cooped up for so long. Of course, I hadn't envisioned myself being a paranoid freak and hightailing it to my car after a half hour in my tent, but these things happen.
April: the coast, Oregon
My friends and I camped at the coast to celebrate another friend's birthday. It was a great time!
May: Bohemia Mountain, Oregon
Another rare weekend day spent outside the office. It was much needed! Bohemia Mountain is a short, relatively easy hike that nonetheless has some pretty nice views.
June: Crater Lake, Oregon
I gave myself one day off between finishing the academic year and studying for my exams in July. Crater Lake was just the place to spend it! It was a ridiculously nice day spent in great company.
July: South Sister, Oregon
FREEDOM! I took my second (and final) exam on July 15, which marked the beginning of a 2 1/2-month vacation. It may well have been the best 2 1/2 months of my life. This was taken at the top of South Sister, Oregon's third highest mountain and a pretty easy (nontechnical) climb. The weather was perfect, yet again, and camping at a horsecamp nearby was a blast.
Here's the unblocked view, in case you're interested:
August: Oregon coast
I took this in some redwood state/national park while caravanning to California on Highway 101 (which, I'll say again, I think is less scenic than I-5. I know no one else agrees with me on this but I stand by it!!). It was a nice way to break up the long drive.
September: Pioneer Peak, Alaska
I had some gorgeous photos from my trip home but in the end, Pioneer Peak was a no-brainer. I do believe this is the hardest hike I've ever done, and also the most spectacular. It was also one of the only times I've failed to summit something I set out to climb. I was super bummed about it but really, the last bit was far too sketchy for my liking. I'll make it up someday, though!
October: Spencer Butte, Oregon
I spent countless mornings with vistas like this one. I got into a great running groove this fall, running or hiking 5 - 6 mornings a week before school and getting out on trails for many of them. Trail running has been so much fun and has made me a much stronger runner. In fact, I liked it so much that I decided to scratch my plans for a spring road marathon in favor of something else (to be shared later because I'm secretive like that).
November: Mount Pisgah, Oregon
Another typical morning view. I love, love, love it when the valley is covered in clouds. I'm not a huge fan of Oregon's mountains and ubiquitous trees (whine, whine, whine) but I do love me some clouds.
November was also the month I ran a trail half marathon, which was a blast! I was shocked to run a 2:04:xx, a near PR, on a course that gained 1,500 feet and at an effort that, frankly, could have been much harder. I was expecting to run a 2:30 - 2:45!
December: near Powerline, Anchorage, Alaska
I like the similarities between my November and December shots. Sloping grassy fields with mountains jutting out. Pretty cool, right?
I've been in Alaska since mid-December. I was sidelined for nearly a week with a nasty cold, but I've more than made up for lost time since I got better. I've also gotten in plenty of lounge time, which is a rarity (nay, nonexistent!) in Eugene. I am excited to head back to Oregon this weekend, though!
Aaaand one more because I can't help myself: Flattop, Anchorage, Alaska
My favorite hike with my favorite dog.
And with that, I'm off to celebrate. Happy New Year, everyone!