A look back at some of my favorite moments of 2017—an eclectic mix of people, places, and events I loved at home and abroad.
The Polar Bear Plunge
Jan 1, 2017 started on a prophetic note: the famous Polar Bear Plunge. (I had no idea what that would mean 11 months later.) I watched, as hundreds of people ran into the freezing surf of the North Atlantic off Coney Island, and what a hoot. I’d heard about it for years, but never captured it until 2017. While I can’t relate to the desire to play in near-freezing water, it was a fun, irreverent, over-the-top way to begin 2017. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Women’s March in Washington, D.C.
I was thrilled to travel to D.C. to join my sister in the Women’s March, along with millions of other people who, in solidarity, participated around the world. It was wonderful to take part in something so powerful, historic, peaceful, and coursing with positive determination.
Island Hopping in Florida
Some days just stick in your mind. Days that soothe the soul and make you feel good to be alive. Case in point, a gorgeous winter afternoon spent island hopping from Captiva Island to Cabbage Key to Cayo Costa and back again in southwest Florida.
The New York City Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival
There are a zillion (make that a zillion and a half) parades in New York City in any given year, but few are as joyous and fun to watch as the world-renowned Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet festival. It’s one of my favorites, and a yearly tradition if I’m in town.
Triple Creek Branding Day
Each year, Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, MO invites guests to partake in its yearly Spring branding event. A western tradition, branding days have been held for generations, and while I had mixed feelings about it, I couldn’t deny the sense of community and purpose the day afforded.
Peter Turnley Workshop
I love photography (I know that’s no surprise), and at least once a year I try to take a workshop from a photographer whose work I admire. It’s a wonderful way to learn from their awesomeness and improve my own skills. This year, I took part in a week-long class in New York City with renowned photojournalist and street photographer, Peter Turnley.
The Pit in Dawson City
I’m a big fan of great after hours dive bars, and The Pit, within the Westminster Hotel in Dawson City, is one of the best I’ve come across. Whether it was the beloved building that sits slightly askew, the strategically placed Christmas lights in the dead of summer, the eclectic crowd, the amazing band, or the back room pool table, that captured my heart, I couldn’t tell you. But I loved it. (P.S. Don’t let the photos fool you. I went extra early to take photos. By midnight it was too packed for pictures and there was a line out the door.)
Flying over Kluane National Park
Majestic mountains, spectacular vistas, a helluva lot of snow. Flight-seeing over the Kaskawulsh glacier and the ice-fields of Kluane National Park was one of my favorite excursions all year.
The Dinosaur Hunter
Sure, travel is about exploring new destinations, but places are given weight, texture and meaning by the wonderful people you meet along the way. Wendy Sloboda was one of my favorite “meets” of the year, you could say. A bad-ass dinosaur hunter born and raised in the Canadian Badlands.
Exploring Writing on Stone
A wonderland of history and natural beauty. Writing on Stone Provincial Park introduced me to historic First Nation petroglyphs and pictographs and the world of sandstone coulees.
Behind the Scenes of the Bucking and Barrels Rodeo at the Whoop Up Days in Lethbridge.
I love learning how people do what they do, and hanging *backstage* with the cowboys at the Lethbridge rodeo in Alberta, was one of the best nights of the summer.
My First Northern Lights
I’ve seen countless photos of the Northern Lights on every platform one can imagine. In fact, photos of the Aurora borealis are as common as selfies it seems. But no matter how many times they’ve popped up on my screens, nothing did them justice like looking up into the heavens and seeing them vibrant and real, first hand. Amazing.
My First Time Dogsledding
I’ve wanted to go dog-sledding for years, so when I stepped on a sled for the first time in the Yukon, I was in heaven. Haven’t written about it yet, but I will.
My Own Polar Bear Plunge
Who knew that when I saw so many people throwing themselves into the cold ocean on January 1st, that my last trip of the year would be my own very kind of polar bear plunge, in the wilds of northern Manitoba. It was a spectacular adventure. Check back here next week for the story!
Here’s wishing you a very healthy and happy New Year!