The official start of summer is finally upon us!
Lately, I’ve been trying to really embrace each season and relish the unique value that each one provides. For me, summer always brings tremendous energy. I always get a burst of excitement and motivation, and I’m aiming to harness that energy and use it to do some awesome stuff. I know if I don’t make a point to go out and do, summer will be gone in a flash.
Here’s what’s on my list this year.
Race (at least) 3 times
Before I do my big half marathon race this fall, I want to “warm up” with a couple short and mid-distance races to get a feel for racing. I like having something tangible where I can get excited and set some goals. They’re like little breadcrumbs along the path of my training.
My first race is this Saturday and I’m excited for it! My current 5k PR is 30:18, so I’m hoping to best that and make it under that sub-30 mark.
Run the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon
As part of my half marathon training, I’m going to have a lot of long runs to power through. Long runs are much more enjoyable and less tedious when you go somewhere new, pretty, interesting, or all of the above. Although I’ve been to the Grand Canyon about 10 times now, there’s a big section of the Rim Trail I’ve never seen. The Rim Trail is mostly flat and a lot of it is even paved, so it’s a perfect place for a long, leisurely run with some of the best views you could ask for! Plus, it’ll be a good way to scout the best viewpoints for the next time I have guests in town.
Hermit’s Rest (the westernmost point) to Bright Angel Trailhead is 7.1 miles one way or 9.7 miles if I want to run all the way back to Mather Point/the main visitor center. I’ll take the bus out to Hermit’s Rest and then run back. Granted, that’s not the whole Rim Trail, but it’s the main part. The entire trail is nearly 13 miles, so I’ll have to save the rest for another time!
Roam the Irish countryside with old friends
One of the first things I’m up to this summer is jetting off to Ireland! I’m meeting up with some of my dearest friends for a few days of exploring Dublin and the southwestern corner of the island. I’ve never been to Europe at all, so it’ll be a complete change of scenery. I’m looking forward to some beautiful sights like castles, rolling green hills, stunning coastline, and quality time with some of my favorite people. Expect pictures later! :)
Visit Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly is a fairly obscure national monument near the New Mexico border about 3 hours east of me. I’ve seen some really amazing photos there and I’d love to spend a day exploring and getting some amazing pictures. It’s one of those things I feel like I have to go visit at least once while I have the chance!
Go out for an impromptu photography trip
Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve developed a new appreciation for photography. I’ve had this idea floating in my head to spontaneously head out somewhere pretty for sunset after work and just take some photos. Sometimes taking photos can be an afterthought while I’m out hiking, but I’d like to go out and enjoy photography and hone my skills just for the sake itself. It’s a nice way to slow down and enjoy the scenery without worrying about finishing the hike. Plus, I never hike at sunset, so it would be nice to see some of the same things in new light, literally.
Cross more local hikes off my list
Here in northern Arizona, we seriously have more trails than you could possibly conceive of. I go hiking fairly regularly and there’s still an absurd number of primo trails I haven’t done yet. To name a few, I’ve got my eye on Plateau Point and Hermit Trail at the Grand Canyon, AB Young and Boynton Canyon in Sedona, and Heart Trail in Flagstaff.
So far this year, I’ve been off to a good start and have already crossed two new trails off my list. Besides repeating some of my favorites, I’d like to cross at least 5 more off my list by the time summer’s out.
Dream up next year’s trips early
Up to this point, I’ve planned most of my trips relatively late, with only a couple months or even just a couple weeks advance notice. Although this can work out really well sometimes, it can also mean scraping the bottom of the barrel for things like plane seat assignments and hotel availability.
I’m trying to start planning my trips more like a year early, or at least more than six months. Some of my ideas right now include Glacier NP, Yosemite again to do Half Dome, Norway, and the Canadian Rockies in Alberta. Not sure how I’ll ever narrow it down!
What’s on your summer to-do list this year?