Oh boy, what a year! I think 2016 was one of the years where I had the most fun, had a lot of “first” in the outdoor world and met some of the most meaningful people in my grown-up life.
Here we go for a little Rock Hopper 2016 retrospective:
Finally took the opportunity to go skiing with Outherthere and OverRide (he is going again this year, check it out!). NYC is so close to so many awesome skiing spots, I can’t believe I didn’t go sooner. Fell a lot, got bruised a lot, but had a hell of a good time!
Between one backpacking trip with Nadine (see Appalachian Trail post) and hiking with Outerthere family, to one epic caving trip with Kay and the Guano team in Puerto Rico (think sleeping in caves, crawling with snakes and bats, rappelling down unknown pits…), I can safely say, I wish all months looked like March. More, more please!
APRIL (aka Birthday month):
I went to VAR (Virginia) with MET Grotto members (Julia, Bob, C.J and so many others) and NRO, got some good mud action and finally went on my first HVH (Hudson Valley Hikers) trip to start a series of Appalachian Trail section hikes with leader Camping Jay who introduced me to Ultralight backpacking and is the sole responsible for a big hole in my bank account in the following months. I also had the privilege to meet the one and only Kremlin. This gal ended up thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail SOBO a few months later and is a true source of inspiration.
MAY and JUNE:
Hiking season is out in full force: backpacking trip with Outerthere where I took one of my coworkers camping for the first time (she came back for more). It was also when we took Kremlin to Maine to start her SOBO thru-hike with Camping Jay and Ant for a 4 days trip through Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park. Right after summiting Mt Katahdin, we went through her gear for an epic shake-down (when you remove all the unecessary gear items one always bring along). Hiking the Knife’s Edge is to this day, one of my favorite hike ever.
Huge first too with SKYDIVING! Thanks to Outerthere, we got the chance to jump out of an airplane in upstate NY with some of our regulars. Epic? Hell yeah!
We continued the AT section hiking series, from Vermont to Massachusetts, where I got to try Gossamer Gear backpack for the first time (aka flying on the trail). Also took the chance to summit Mt Washington (and its baby brother Mt Monroe) in the Whites with Adam before checking out Mahoosuc Notch and see our first moose (which almost run over our car). This awesome month would not be over without some cool caving in Sellecks and McFails caves with Teddy Garlock. A trip to the Gunks for some outdoor climbing (Outerthere baby!) and more caving with Julia.
Man, what a month! Got the pleasure of leading my first 4 people backpacking trip through Harriman State Park on the AT with CJ, Nadine and George from the one and only Queens Comfort. Did another section of Vermont with Kremlin, Camping Jay and other awesome peeps to finish off with moving back to my home country: France.
Took one of my sisters and a friend of Miriam through a one week hiking trip through Vercors (see first post here) where we hitchhiked, slept in stranger’s home and had a great time.
Started off on my first solo trip on the GR10 in the French Pyrenees where I met some pretty cool people, got lost in Spain and discovered that I did not know how to pitch my tent well in strong winds (ongoing post series here). I also discovered the generosity of strangers and to keep faith in humanity.
Went with another sister of mine, her boyfriend and her friends to Scotland to hike the West Highland Way before finishing off on the Isle of Skye for a couple of days (posts to come).
OCTOBER, NOVEMBER and DECEMBER:
Those months were more quiet, adjusting to a different life but I managed to squeeze in a boat trip (got sea sick, sea life is not for me!) and a small trip into Paris Catacombs (also called quarries), as well as discovering Normandy and its beautiful cliffs.
Big shout out to (in no particular order): Camping Jay, Al (and the entire Outerthere family), Kremlin, Julia, C.J, Kay, Bob, Antonel, Sophie, Marie, PH (and Scotland crew), George, Nadine, Adam, Teddy, QC crew, R (and the GR10 crew). Sorry if I forgot any. You made my year unforgettable!
So yeah, 2016 was an awesome year and I cannot wait to see what 2017 is going to bring. Hike on!