Can you believe it?! 2017 is here! 2016 was a great year for me, but the end of the year means it’s time for my 2016 travel roundup + the opportunity to have 365 days of even more adventures! 2016 was a pretty amazing year, especially considering this was a saving year!
My Year In Numbers:
Miles Traveled – [30,074] – This is my best approximation of road miles, flight miles etc.
Days Traveling –  – While this is the first year in a couple of years that I didn’t break 100, this was also a building year. Because we’re heading to Southeast Asia in 2017! We still were able to travel much more than planned!
Beds Slept In + Campsites –  – I stayed with friends, family, in hotels and we even slept in the back of our 4Runner (yay for SUV camping) to cut back on costs and get to take even more adventures!
Flights Taken –  – I took a decent amount of flights considering 99% of my travels were domestic and I much prefer road trips over flights, but I still spent plenty of time in the air this year.
States Visited  – I’m very happy to have been able to take so many domestic trips this year, since 2017 will be very international. I got to visit Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Countries Visited  – I got to keep my streak of leaving the country for the last seven years alive! When my dad and I went to Big Bend National Park in Texas we were right at the Mexican border and we just had to go to Mexico for lunch! It was an absolute blast and it will be a must for all my future visits to Big Bend.
My Year From A to Z:
A – ‘Akaka Falls
‘Akaka Falls was just a short drive from our base in Hilo, and we stopped twice during our four days on the Big Island. Both times we arrived just around sunrise and we managed to have the view of this beautiful waterfall all to ourselves. Landing on the Big Island was also another huge accomplishment of mine because I have been to all fifty states!
B – Bachelorette Party
All my amazing bridesmaids, some friends and family all came together, from all over the country, to meet in Eureka Springs, Arkansas! It’s an unbelievably charming small town in NW Arkansas fill with art, history, great food, shopping and loads of fun! It was the perfect place for a girls weekend and my amazing squad made it all happen!
C – Crabtree Falls
Matt and I managed to sneak in about 48 hours in Asheville this fall and it was just so incredible! We even got to get out and hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We hiked to Crabtree Falls with Matt’s parents and got to share one of our favorite places with them.
D – Dream Lake
Dream Lake was my favorite lake of the four we hiked to in Rocky Mountain National Park. We celebrated Matt’s birthday weekend here and getting to go outside with him always makes for a great adventure!
E – El Cosmico
I had been wanting to stay at El Cosmico for a couple of years, but my dad finally made this dream come true this year on our father / daughter hiking trip. We went all the way to Big Bend National Park, which put us decently close to Marfa, and my dad made moves to make my teepee dreams come true. In fact, he ended up being teepee crazed as well! Many sweet bohemian dreams were had here.
F – Falling Water Falls
Matt and I made a couple of trips to this stunning turquoise waterfall and swimming hole in Northwest Arkansas! It’s a local favorite for a dip on a hot summer day, so don’t forget your swimsuit!
G – Botanical Gardens
Lilly took me to the Botanical Gardens on our day alone together in DC and it was the perfect, earthy place to catch up with a dear old friend. I loved the ability to see rare, unique and beautiful plants all in one gorgeous location.
H – Hanging Lake
This was one of my favorite hikes of 2016. I’ve been dying to make it here and we finally made it happen. Colorado has some true natural beauty and this trail is a striking example of why the state is known as ‘Colorful Colorado’.
I – Indian Creek
This trail was absolutely stunning, even with missing that grand finale, and after we made it back to cell service we also realized that we took the ridiculously hard route – typical. Even though we didn’t make to Eye of the Needle or Tunnel Cave Falls, we still loved all the other falls on this trail in Arkansas and hope to conquer it next year.
J – Johnson’s Shut-Ins
This is one of my favorite state parks of all time! I’m so glad I finally got to share it with Matt!
K – Kaua’i Helicopter Ride
What an amazing gift! Two very dear friends gave us a doors-off helicopter ride over the Garden Island and I’m pretty sure I said, “WOW!” every 1.25 seconds. Because it was a first for the both of us and such a spectacular ride this quickly became one of the top experiences of 2016!
L – Library of Congress
I had read in a book that this was a really beautiful spot in DC that I had missed the first time I was there. As a result, I knew that it had to be at the top of the list this time and that book was so right. This is one of my new favorite places in DC.
M – Monument Rocks
Finally, I fell in love with a site in Kansas. I feel bad that Kansas gets such a bad reputation for being boring, but, to be honest, I hadn’t taken the time to find things to inspire + wow me in this state. That is, until now.
N – Na Pali Coast
The Na Pali Coast just blew my mind. It’s this coastline made up of deep, sheer, valleys that are just lush with vegetation, flowing with waterfalls and have some unreal views and beaches. Because it’s so rugged and wild, the only way to access this part of the island is by foot or by boat. (Which, then, you’d have to hike anywhere else). We were able to hike 11 miles total in the Na Pali Wilderness which starts at Ke’e Beach. If you’re physically able to hike, don’t miss this.
O – Ozark Beers
Every time I come home, I find that something has changed, or perhaps, I just notice something I hadn’t before. Having become a beer-lover while living in Asheville, I came back to the Ozarks and discovered an amazing beer-culture brewing here in the Ozarks! I visited eighteen breweries in this region alone, along with a cidery and a meadery. I did interviews during my visits and complied a guide to the breweries. Of course, this was one of my favorite projects of the year!
P – Petit Jean State Park
This State Park in Arkansas was actually a contender to be the first National Park, and it’s easy to see why. There’s so much natural beauty squeezed into a small area and I’m so glad that even though it wasn’t America’s first National Park, it was Arkansas’ first State Park!
Q – Queen’s Bath
I was so excited that this famous / infamous (depending on your personal view of this tidal pool) that I had read about years ago was not only on one of the Hawaiian islands that I was visiting, but it was right by our condo! We made the short hike down to this gorgeous spot and I hope to return my next time in Kaua’i.
R – Rio Grand Crossing
Since 2009 I’ve left the country at least once a year, and my dad allowed me to keep this tradition alive by taking a johnboat across the Rio Grand with me, into Mexico for lunch! We spent a morning and early afternoon in Boquillas del Carmen taking a tour of the town from a local, my dad took his first tequila shot ever with me at their bar and we had delicious green chili enchiladas while overlooking the Rio Grand. It was such a fun escape from the USA for part of the day!
S – Sam’s Throne
Matt and I have really made a dent in our Ozarks bucket list and Sam’s Throne is one of my favorite short hikes in Arkansas. We’ve camped here a handful of times and we were able to soak up this stunning view at sunrise and sunset. It’s definitely a favorite.
T – Trails of Big Bend
Big Bend is such a special place. It’s totally off the beaten path which makes it seem more elusive. There’s no stumbling upon this place, it takes intention and it’s so worth the long drive. We did a little over 20 miles in our three days there and saw some truly spectacular sites! The big draw of Big Bend is that there is so much to see there. There are the Chisos Mountains, there’s the Rio Grand, there are loads of canyons, rock formations and even some rock formations. Now you just have to have time to see it all!
U – Unique Green Sand Beach
When I found out that there’s a green sand beach on the Big Island, and that there are only four green sand beaches in the entire world it became right up at the top of the list! We opted to take the budget friendly (and healthier) option and hike the 5+ miles roundtrip. It felt like a long hike because you’re exposed to the sun the whole time, but we were greatly rewarded by this olive-colored sand beach found inside a collapsed cinder cone. I highly recommend this extremely unique stop if you’re on the Big Island!
V – Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Honestly, this national park is the whole reason I chose the Big Island as one of the two islands we visited on our honeymoon. I’ve always wanted to see an active volcano and walk through lava tubes, so it was such a joy to be able to do these things with my husband!
W – I Became a Wunder
This was without a doubt the BEST THING about this year. 2016 is the year that I married my soulmate and my partner in life. We had a beautiful wedding under a massive tree on my grandmother’s farm surrounded by our loved ones. It was the most beautiful celebration in the world and we kept the party going with a beautiful reception in my parents backyard where we drank craft beer, danced under the stars surrounded by loads of cozy lights, amazing homemade decorations and more succulents + flowers than you can imagine! My family + friends put so much effort + love into this day and came from all over the U.S. to share in the best day of my life – the day I became Mrs. Wunder.
X – XoXo, So Many Romantic Adventures with My Love
Matt is my biggest supporter. He reads my posts, encourages me to try new things, lets me use his amazing photos – and even takes photos specifically for my blog and more than all these things he shares the vast majority of these adventures with me. I couldn’t have asked for a better husband.
Y – Yum! Shaved Ice + Food Trucks
I fell in love with all aspects of Hawaii including the food! Now, you’re probably thinking traditional Hawaiian food, but I’m talking about the amazing + unique food trucks that we encountered and frequented and more than anything the shaved ice! We had it at least once a day, but more like twice a day. Haha. Our favorite was Wishing Well Shaved Ice in Kaua’i. They made the most beautiful and tasty organic shaved ice creations! Generously, after we got back from Hawaii they mailed me a few of their stickers.
Z – Zig-Zagging My Way to 166.38 Hiking Miles
I’m seriously proud of this one. Last year was the first year that I met my hiking miles goal, but this year I completely crushed my goal this year. I added 10 miles to what I did last year which put my goal for 2016 at 116 miles and I hiked 166.38 miles this year! Woo! Matt gets loads of credit for this one because he’s so energetic and always up for a day in the mountains or chasing waterfalls.