2012 on Alaska Girl at Heart

This year was a mixed back of highs and low.  It was a great year of growth for my blog and I enjoyed a lots of amazing adventures.  But, it was also marked with some down points.  Over-all I’d give this year a thumbs up.  Grab a cup of coffee (or tea)…this might be a long one.

January

I started my year by kicking of the Photos of the Week and Adventures of the Month goals/resolutions.  It was fun to “force” myself to take photos and have adventures.  It wasn’t perfect and sometimes I “grasped at straws” to fulfill my commitment.

My January Adventure of the Month was being a tourist in my own area…Seattle.  A friend and I spent three days using the Seattle City Pass.

FebruaryPam and Sharon After Zip Lining

Taking my mom to Belize was a serious highlight of 2012.  I already loved Belize, so seeing my mom enjoy it was amazing.  Some of the fun adventures we had included swimming through a cave in the Cayo district, crossing the border to Guatemala for a visit of Tikalziplining in Guatemalaenjoying frigate birds near Hopkins, snorkeling Shark Ray Alley/Hol Chan, and eating more lobster than anyone should be allowed to enjoy.

 

March and April

The spring brought adventures closer to home and included a ridiculous Seattle Ghost Tour and a weekend train to Portland.  I hope to have future train adventures.  It was such a fun way to travel.

MayPolar Bear Ball

As summer approached so did graduation for my twin nephews.  I needed to get to Alaska, so after years of my parents telling me how amazing the Alaska Marine Highway System was, I did a road trip to Alaska.  It was such a fantastic journey that gave me several pangs of homesickness along the way.  Highlights included The Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Zoo, Denali National Park, the Klondike Highway, and of course the ferry.  Taking the ferry afforded me the opportunity to take me dogs with me and gave me the flexibility of having my own car for all the side trips.

June

I arrived home on June 1st and just as I got off the ferry my mom called to tell me that they lost everything in a fire including their amazing furry child, Misty Marie.  To say that June was a low point is an understatement.  I flew to Alaska two more times between June 1st and July 4th.  It was hard to find a silver lining in June.  But, if I had to I would say that it brought our family closer together.  We had always been close, but June made our bond indestructible.

JulyBaby Humpback Upclose

While in Alaska in early July, I talked my mom into taking the Kenai Fjords tour with me.  I had taken the tour during my trip in May, but unfortunately I had a hard drive fail and lost all the photos from the first ten days of my trip (of which included my Kenai Fjords photos).  I could not believe how amazing the trip was even with the crappy weather.  A humpback whale breached right near the boat.  It happened so quickly and so closely, that I cut off part of its tail.  Still it was amazing.

August

Bull Sea LionAs fall began to encroach on summer, I headed to South America and spring.  Early in 2012, a friend and I randomly planned a trip to the Galapagos.  The Galapagos was one of those trips I thought would never happen and would remain on my bucket list FOREVER.  We were welcomed with the warm smiling faces of sea lions and the warm welcome extended to blue footed boobies, iguanas, tortoises, and flamingos.  We hiked to the rim and into a volcano, swam with sea turtles and sharks, and kayaked among penguins.  With no natural predators, the Galapagos is an amazing marine environment.

SeptemberMachu Picchu

After the Galapagos, my friend went home and I ventured to PeruMachu Picchu was another bucket list item that I thought might never happen, but since I was so close I couldn’t possibly skip it.  Originally I had planned to hike the Inca Trail, but a chronic knee issue that required surgery put a damper on that.  Instead I took van transport through the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo, a train to Aquas Calientes, and a bus to Machu Picchu.  It takes some logistics to get there, but WOW it’s impressive.

October

One of my twin nephews decided to visit in October.  It was a bit of a challenge finding things to do that we would both enjoy, but we did.  In one weekend we visited both the Olympic Game Farm and Northwest Trek.  The first was new to me, but I’ve been to Northwest Trek several times.  Neither park disappointed.  At Olympic Game Farm, we fed yaks, llamas, zebras, bison, elk, and deer right from the car window.  We even threw some bread to the grizzly bears.  At Northwest Trek, we walked the trails through the wetland animals and predator sections and then caught a tram through the omnivore section.  It was so much fun spending time with my nephew.

November

Aside from spending the first two weeks of November with my parents, November was a bit of a bummer.  On the 5th, I had my sixth knee surgery (the third for the exact same problem).  Having my parents around to help was my only saving grace.  They left right before Thanksgiving and I think I spent the next three to four days crying.  I missed them so much.

December

The last month of the year was relaxing while I continued to recover from my knee surgery.  I attended a couple of Christmas parties, but chose to spend Christmas at home with my dogs.  I hope to be off crutches and through with the brace by the second week in January.

What will 2013 bring?

I’ve been trying to figure out what I want out of 2013 and I definitely have some ideas.  I’m hoping to plan a third trip to Belize and my friend and I planning our next annual trip.  Right now Croatia and Slovenia are towards the top of the list, but I want to consider Greece too.  One thing I know about the two of us is that we usually make a decision quickly, so I’ll likely be able to announce our plans soon

Happy travels and adventures!!!

I’d love to hear about some of your 2012 adventures and plans for 2013.  Please share them in the comments section.

Blog Growth

For those that are curious, and since I brought it up earlier, when I started this year my blog had one follower and has now grown to over 400 people who follow me via Twitter, Facebook, and email.

I had nearly no visits to my blog at the beginning of the year, aside from a couple family members.  As of Christmas Day I’ve had over 11,000 visits and that doesn’t include those of you that read my posts via email.

Prior to 2012, my only visits came from the United States.  Now, I have visitors from every single continent.

I’m truly blessed by this and hope to see further increases in 2013.  Thank you all.

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