15 Best Moments of 2015

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I guess I’m a little behind on this post, considering most bloggers have already done their 2015 recaps BEFORE the new year. But I want to start 2016 by remembering my favorite moments of 2015.

As I make travel plans and life plans for this year, I want to really cherish the positives in my life and use those to direct my future. I’m extremely grateful for the adventures I’ve had, the opportunities I’ve been given, and all of the incredible people I’ve met out on the road.

I can only hope things continue on this trajectory in 2016.

Here are 15 of my favorite moments from 2015

Ringing in the New Year in Seattle

This moment certainly straddles the line between 2014 & 2015, but I’m talking about the moment just after the clock struck midnight. I was surrounded by people who had become best friends as I watched fireworks pop up out of the Space Needle in a city (Seattle) that feels like home. I couldn’t ask for a better way to begin 2015.

Standing in Front of Multnomah Falls

My friend and I set off on a roadtrip in January (we called it the Persephone Chronicles), which was filled with crazy adventures and lots of fun. Visiting Multnomah Falls was on our list of things to do and it was such a beautiful sight. It’s a classic PNW photo op, and definitely worth the stop.

Watching the Sunset

As we drove from Idaho into Utah, not only were we greeted with the most picturesque mountains, but we were also given quite the show. The sun was setting behind the mountains, turning the sky all sorts of orange, purple, and pink. I had to pull over just to get a photo. It’s still one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen.

Antelope Island State Park

Admiring Antelope Island

On my 26th birthday last January, my friend and I made a day trip from Salt Lake City up to Antelope Island State Park. As soon as I heard about this place, I knew that’s where I wanted to spend my birthday. It was desolate, quiet, exactly the kind of peace I crave. Looking out over the Great Salt Lake, everything felt perfect and free.


Arriving in Jackson Hole

I spent a few months early in the year completely broke, with zero prospects of getting out of Missouri any time soon. Just when I thought things weren’t going to happen, I was offered a job. Cut to June and I was arriving in Jackson Hole, ready to start a new adventure. I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw where I would be living for the summer.

Falling in Love with Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park was never really on my list of places to go, which I now know was really stupid. It has a reputation of being Yellowstone’s little sister, the smaller park to the South. It’s so much more than that. I fell in love with Grand Teton this summer and leaving it behind was heartbreaking. I can’t wait to return someday.

Hiking in the Rain

I made it a goal of mine to hike as much as possible while I was in Wyoming. Living next door to Grand Teton National Park, there was an endless list of beautiful trails. I did quite a few, but my favorite hike was the String Lake Loop–which I completed in POURING RAIN. Canoes were floating out in the parking lot by the time I finished, but I had the trail all to myself.

Watching Old Faithful

On my first trip to Yellowstone, I spent most of my time near the Upper Basin. I felt it wouldn’t be a true First-Time-At-Yellowstone adventure without seeing Old Faithful. So we sat, we waited, we were surrounded by a crazy amount of people, but when the show finally began, WOW!

100 Bison (& Counting)

Bison are not a rare sight in Grand Teton and Yellowstone–it’s almost guaranteed you’ll see a few during your trip (assuming you head to the right areas). Even though I saw them all the time, it was this particular day that sticks in my memory: we were surrounded by 100+ bison on all sides, so we sat & watched for hours. I feel so lucky to have been there; right place, right time.

Discovering Yellowstone’s Backcountry

One day I set off to see a waterfall in Idaho. Slightly disappointed with the lack of wow when I got there, I turned around to go home. Then I saw a sign for “Cave Falls” and thought, why not? 19 miles down a gravel road later, I unexpectedly ended up in the backcountry of Yellowstone, with the place to myself. (Hiking alone in bear territory not recommended)

Take a ride on the Bridger Gondola in Teton Village. It takes visitors on a scenic ride up Rendezvous Mountain--for FREE

Riding up to Rendezvous

There’s a free gondola ride in Teton Village that takes you up to about 9000 feet on Rendezvous Mountain. Standing up that high while looking out over the Jackson Hole valley made me appreciate the area even more. A highly recommended activity.

Coming Face to Face with Mama Moose

I was in Jackson Hole all summer and all I wanted was to see a moose up close. I arrived thinking it would happen within the first week, but a couple of months passed with no moose sighting. Then one day while cleaning one of the cabins, I glanced out the window & saw this mama moose standing in the yard. I was the only one there to see her & she stayed the whole day. It was the most magical moose sighting, better than I could have dreamed.

Hiking to Hidden Lake

I spent a couple of days in Glacier National Park and every inch of that place is incredible. I did the “hike” from the Logan Pass Visitor’s Center up to the Hidden Lake overlook. I was WAY out of breathe and kept thinking “there’s no way I can make it”. By the time I got to the overlook, I felt like I had achieved some crazy feat (even though thousands of people do this). If you try this & think you can’t make it, just imagine how much better this view is in person.

Climbing at Kootenai Falls

I’m kind of into waterfalls. (Who isn’t though, right?) So when I hear about some crazy waterfall place, I have to go. Kootenai Falls in northwestern Montana did not disappoint. Climbing around the falls was so much fun. It’s such a cool place to go.

Going Back to Washington

I spent most of 2014 in the state of Washington–part of the time in Seattle, the other part on a farm in Poulsbo. Needless to say, I’d grown to really love this beautiful state. Without really meaning to, I ended up back there towards the end of 2015 (this time on San Juan Island). Watching the boats go by in Fidalgo Bay really made me feel like I was home again.

What were your favorite moments from 2015?



By Courtney Minor

Wandering around and writing about it.

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