December 3rd comes again

December 3rd is an important date for me for two reasons: first, because it’s the day I completed the Appalachian Trail back in 2010. The AT was an incredible experience in my life and led to me where I am today. Reaching Springer Mountain was a moment I had dreamed of since third grade.

Then, last year, December 3rd was my final official day at my job. I had been at my position for 6.5 years and had been involved with the organization since 2007. I felt like my job was a huge part of my DNA. Its mission certainly was among the most important parts of my life.

Walking away from that was extremely hard. I loved so much of it, and I loved so many of the people involved. But I was burned out and very unhealthy. I needed time.

This December 3rd, I am remembering not just Springer Mountain and the Appalachian Trail, but the year I’ve had because I took a deep breath and left the security of a dream job.

I am extremely grateful for my family, who understood and accepted the fact that I needed to make a change They helped me get ready to sell my house. They also supported me through the loss of my best pet ever, Mitsie, who died last December. I am beyond grateful that I was home, with her, during her last month of life. I also was able to be in a safe place during my bout with Covid-19 and be around when it found my parents.

It was a very strange, but good, year. I cannot list everything I am grateful for, but here are a few highlights in pictures.

I am grateful to have experienced early spring on the Foothills Trail with Richard.
I am grateful for completing a hike I’ve dreamed of since 2010 – the Bartram Trail. It was spectacular.
I am grateful for spring in the Smokies.
Chef’s kiss of perfection.
I am grateful for roadtrips with my parents –
and home time too.
I am grateful for a month walking the stunning Oregon Coast Trail with Julie — and our trail family.
I am grateful for local adventures with Elliott, who always cheers me on.
I’m grateful for the ability to make a last-minute plan to visit Glacier National Park and a few perfect days there.
I’m grateful for a spectacular autumn hike with great friends in the Chequamegon National Forest, even if my ankle was not doing so well.
I’m grateful that my ankle recovered enough to spend a relaxed week along the Greenbrier River – and then visit wildernesses of the Carolinas with Richard.
I’m grateful for getting the chance to walk the land where Elliott grew up.
I am grateful that I had time to watch this little one grow up. Elliott and I rescued him last winter.

It has been a year: what comes next? Well, this year didn’t turn out at all like I envisioned, so I hesitate to even make a guess at what comes next. I hope to be surprised.