Funny story: I thought, given the turning over of a new year and whatnot (even if I’m a little late to the party here), that I should look back to the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016 to see what words of wisdom or hopes for the future I laid out on this blog. It turns out, though: nothing. No thoughts about that at all.
Which, now that I think about it, is actually not surprising. I don’t generally go in for the, y’know, top 10 posts of 2016 or top three lessons I learned this year or top five new years’ resolutions, all of which strike me as somewhat gimmicky. (Though I do appreciate the isolated internet nod to the fact that there is such a thing as a past, that not everything exists only in the current moment to be entirely forgotten about the second after you read it.)
BUT! Hey! Guess what! There were some pretty great bikey moments to 2016.
On a large scale, I was able to make it to a few places I’ve been wanting to go for a long time. First, I finally made it to the Steens Mountains and the Alvord Desert, way deep in southeastern Oregon. That was possible only because a friend of mine let me know about a bike-friendly bus system that cut down on many of the miles I had to travel to get there. YAY for transit options that expand the reach of bicycling.
That trip was life-affirming to the max, and happened a few months in to a 9-month-or-so protracted existential crisis that I feel like I’m only now starting to resolve. I like to think that trip helped mitigate the crazy a little bit.
Secondly, my fall trip to the North Cascades showed me that it is, indeed, possible to both bike and backpack in the same trip. With a frameless backpacking pack that I could roll up and strap to the top of my bike rack, I was able to ride my bike to the places I wanted to backpack, switch up my gear, lock up my bike, and backpack the hell out of the place. That, if anything, is probably my favorite car-free accomplishment of 2016. I suspect it will lead to many more awesome adventures in 2017 and beyond.
I was also able to take a bunch of sneak-it-in mini-trips, mostly to Oxbow Regional Park or Stub Stewart State Park, close-by spots that either allowed me to go to work from my campsite (Oxbow) or to bike out after work and still have time to play (Stub Stewart). Maybe more than anything, that kind of mini adventure is what helped me feel grounded and happy this last year.
(I also for the first time stayed in cabins at Silver Falls State Park, which felt particularly cozy given the outside conditions;)
There was, of course, much more awesomeness to 2016 as well, including the opening of the new and much bike-friendlier Sellwood Bridge, a mini bike trip along the Clackamas River before any of the campgrounds officially opened, and my first-ever trip to Boulder, CO. All told, it was a pretty damn good year in which the ability to be on my bike or running through the woods or getting the heck out of the city every so often helped a lot in staving off the crazies.
More than anything, that might be my takeaway from 2016: get thee out on thy bicycle, stasia, and everything will be okay. Or, at least, if I get myself out on my bicycle I will be in a better headspace to make the decisions I need to be making.
So that said, bring on 2017:)