Good night 2018

This was a tough year for some of our friends and family, and though it had some challenges for us also I feel fortunate as it comes to a close. I’m finishing the year in good shape and gearing up for a big year to come. Here are some things that come to mind when I reflect on my 2018.

Snow

Despite a couple of good storms early in the year, the Tahoe snowpack was looking pretty dismal until March, when some big storms brought it back near average. Ann and I ventured up into the mountains during one of those storms. After helping to dig out stuck cars, overnighting in a grocery store parking lot, and having our truck starter fail in the snowbound Echo Lake parking area, we may have learned our lesson. Maybe.

2018-03-03 campsite 2977 US-50, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
I had to clear the heavy snow from the top of the camper

Of course it made for some very nice skiing also.

Aaron in Larry bowl
My backcountry ally Aaron enjoys powder

In April I came up with an idea for combining mountain biking and backcountry skiing. Aaron was game. It’ll be the next big thing for sure.

2018-04-29 Buckeye camp departure - Aaron & Dylan's ridiculous adventure 5
Me done skiing
We never would have reached this slope without the bikes

Unvegan

After 9+ plus years on a vegan diet (four ovo-vegan, including eggs), I got a blood test to see if I had any obvious health issues. The results were predictable: low B12, everything else okay.

My diet has always caused a small rift between Ann and me. She eats small amounts of high-quality meat, as organic, local, and sustainable as she can manage. I’ve always respected that, and felt a bit sad not to share the nice meals she makes. I decided it was time to rectify that and join her light meat diet. After a small course of B12 supplements, it should help me maintain healthy B12 levels also.

I still don’t eat any dairy, and I don’t think I’ll start. My digestion just works better without it, and I don’t believe that humans need animal breast milk. So not to worry, I’m still a smug pain in the ass to have over for dinner.

Unvegan
That’s a piece of cod I’m about to consume

Butterflies

I participated again in Adventure Scientists’ pollinator project with my friend Nathan. I had one particularly good day where I managed to catch and document 17 butterflies at my site, enough to win a friendly “pollinator marathon” contest in my region. Mostly I enjoy contributing to something important while enjoying the outdoors, and look forward to doing more of this in the future.

Butterfly catchers

There were also many butterflies on my Willowa backpack trip, which I wrote about separately.

Family

I was delighted to discover I have a cousin (once removed) living right in Reno. She happens to also enjoy rock climbing and the outdoors and is a treat to spend time with. Hi Brook! This is an example of the good side of Facebook. Without it she might have been here for years before we figured it out.

My Dad’s struggles with Parkinson’s disease intensified this year, and I made a few visits to spend time with him and help find resources to help him along. He has two residences now, the primary one in Indian Hills, Colorado and a second small home in Phoenix, Arizona where his wife Sarah gets world-class ballroom dancing instruction. Despite the circumstances we always find things to enjoy together, even if it’s as simple as throwing a frisbee to their dog Regal.

Dad slings disc for Regal

Numbers

And my tradition of tallying things continues, so I can create my usual yearly graphs and introduce a couple of new stats. One has disappeared – though we did some rock climbing this year I quit tracking stats on it.

Hours Tracked (by GPS): 300.5799999999998

Hours Tracked

Outdoor Nights: 57|6

off_grid_nights,outdoor_nights

Miles on Foot: 807.3800000000001

miles_hiked

Elevation Gain on Foot (ft): 199348

feet_elevation_gain

Ski Tours: 28

ski_tour

Counting ski tours is inspired by a self-proclaimed “anomaly” Walter, a 68-year old phenomenon I’ve encountered a few times (with partner Otto) who says anomaly status comes when you rack up over 3000 tours. I will have to live a long time to become an anomaly.

Books Read: 16

Books Read

My end-of-year reading fail is largely due to not finishing Better Angels of Our Nature by Stephen Pinker, which I recommend regardless.

And year-over-year comparisons:

Hours Tracked off_grid_nights,outdoor_nights miles_hiked feet_elevation_gain ski_tour miles_biked Bike Elevation Gain (ft) Books Read

I also read 1.7 million words on Pocket!

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