All year I had been excited to write a Best of 2017 post, but when the time came I was burnt out and lacking the motivation. After essentialy two months away from blogging, I’m ready to get back at it. So, without further ado, our favorites from 2017:
Liz & Zach: Tradesmen Brewery, Charleston, SC
The two story bar, built in an old house and managed by a husband and wife brewmaster/bartender duo offered the best beer flights we had all year. At $5 a platter, not only were they cheap, they contained several of the best beers we had all year.
Liz: Langhor Campground, Bozeman, MT
In order to have a reasonable commute time to a place with internet, we usually have to stay in cramped, noisy, developed campgrounds often lacking trees. While they do have nice things like electricity, showers, and cell phone service, it’s nice to get away every now and then. Nestled outside of Bozeman, Langhor Campground allowed us to do just that. Our campsite bordered Hyalite Creek and we spent hours eating, reading, and relaxing near it’s shore.
Zach: Cave Spring Campground, Sedona, AZ
There have been a lot of great campgrounds this year but I think this one edges out the competition simply because it was the first with our trailer. After a few questionable AirBnb stints we decided to buy the trailer in Phoenix, AZ and immediately parked it in the Grand Canyon parking lot while we lodged with Liz’s family. Instead of heading on to spend the week in Las Vegas, like planned, we took a detour to Sedona. The campground – nestled in a unique canyon valley – was fairly empty throughout the week and had a few nice hikes nearby.
Liz: Robbers Roost, Big Bend National Park, TX
I think the picture below explains itself. We were the only people for miles, the view was amazing and the stars were extraordinary.
Zach: Agnes Lake, Voyageurs National Park, MN
Like Liz’s favorite campsite, Agnes Lake offered immense solitude. Situated on a large lake on a larger island accessible by canoe, we only had to share the view with a mother deer and her doe (and a million mosquitoes).
Liz: Sakari Sushi, Des Moines, Iowa
You wouldn’t think that Des Moines would have some of the best food of our trip, but it’s been eight months and I’m still dreaming of Sakari’s shrimp tempura.
Zach: Red Curry Mac & Cheese, Jack of Cups, Charleston, SC
I’m no chef, but this one was so good I tried recreating it on my own (not nearly as good). The red curry sauce complimented the relish in a very unexpected and satisfying way.
Liz: Road to Hana, Maui, HI
We started the day in a genuine rainforest and ended in a certifiable desert. Along the way we saw countless waterfalls, discovered my new favorite plant – the rainbow eucalyptus, visited the largest temple in Hawaii, and watched waves violently crash on lava rock cliffs. It’s crazy that people live here and drive this route daily on their way to work or school.
Zach: White Rim Road, Canyonlands, UT
The 100 mile drive was the perfect level of off-roading excitement I was looking for with our 4Runner. Liz and I took hour long shifts at the wheel avoiding rocks, climbing canyon switchbacks, and doing our best to share the trail with mountain bikers. Then, in our shift as a passenger, we were able to focus less on the obstacles ahead and more at the grand beauty of Canyonlands.
Liz: The Decemberists
2017 was a great year for live music! I went to two music festivals, Laurelive in June with Megan and Traveler’s Rest in Missoula with Zach, and saw some other amazing shows – Bon Iver, Garth Brooks, and the xx (my second favorite concert of the year). But when it came down to it, the most memorable performance was the Decemberists headlining both nights of their music festival. A live show should grow your appreciation for the band and, while I liked the Decemberists before, my admiration for their artistry increased and listening to The Mariner’s Revenge Song will always take me back to that concert.
Zach: War On Drugs
Liz and I listen to a lot of music. According to Spotify’s 2017 ‘Year In Review’ we each logged well over 50,000 minutes of listing time. And, for me, it was the year of the War On Drugs. Not only did they top my chart for both most listened to artist and album, they also held 4 of the top 5 song positions (with one spot going to The Growlers). And, after seeing them in concert, they also hold the top slot for concert and live song. Watching them play Under the Pressure with a glitter snowstorm raining down on the crowd was surreal.
Liz: LaPine State Park, Bend, OR
Having run 1,000 miles last year, I had a lot of options to chose from. But LaPine State Park checked all the boxes for a great run route. It was scenic – you can’t beat running through the ponderosas along the Deschutes river. It was peaceful – each run I saw, at most, one group of runners. And most importantly, it was flat.
Zach: Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Charleston, SC
Since we spent two weeks in Charleston, I had the chance to run across the bridge a few times. The best part of the five mile round-trip was the last mile – all downhill.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
- Subway, Zion National Park, UT
- Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park, TX
- Rim-to-River-to-Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
- Muir Snowfield, Mount Rainer National Park, WA
- Iceberg Lake, Glacier National Park, MT
Miles Driven: 26,785
National Parks: 25
Flat Tires: 2
Emergency Appendectomies: 1
There were so many great experiences last year that didn’t get mentioned. We travelled more in one year than most people do in their lifetime. And we get to do it again this year!