It’s occurred to me that I haven’t been good at writing posts recently. My last update was from May, and that was subsequently my last big hiking trip. Since then, I have been incredibly busy, and that means I haven’t had as much time for fun. I did get out a few times this summer with the family. But there’s a lot to talk about. So here’s what happened in 2017.
I successfully defended my Ph.D. dissertation.
On December 14, I defended my dissertation in front of my committee. This is why I haven’t been very active this year. I had a lot of work to do and little time to do it. But in the end, I got it done. My dissertation and all of the accompanying paperwork has been submitted to the graduate school and I’m on track to receive my diploma in May. So where does that leave me now? Unemployed. I’m currently spending my time feverishly applying for jobs, hoping to get an interview and an offer. These things take time, so for the moment, my adventure hiatus will have to continue until I can afford to go back out and have some fun.
We welcomed the birth of my son.
On January 6, 2018, Adam Isaac Singer made his first appearance into this world. Clara is stoked to have a baby brother, and I’m excited to add another member to my adventure team. Our adventures this summer have been small to accommodate time constraints, a toddler and my pregnant wife. I imagine that in the coming future, most of my adventures will continue to be family-based with only a handful of bigger trips for myself. Of course, it all depends where I end up. I’m hoping there will be mountains and wild places nearby.
It was the summer of car camping and hot springs.
I know I’ve been doing something right when I’ve instilled an adventurous spirit and a love of camping in my daughter. Clara loves camping. This spring we bought a new sleeping bag for her, but it remained wet and cold into June. We finally had our first chance to test it out during a trip to Boise. We were headed down for Erin to see a specialist and decided to make a long weekend out of the ordeal. So we stopped at Pine Flats campground along the South Fork of the Payette River in the Boise National Forest and spent two nights beneath the towering ponderosa pines. Pine Flats happens to have a hot spring a short hike from the campground, and that was quite a treat. In fact, there are a series of hot springs scattered along the banks of the river, and we also spent some time at Kirkham hot springs down the road. We then headed into Boise where we took Clara to the zoo. This adventure was documented in the video below:
In July, we headed up to the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington. I had been up there several times in the past few years, but Erin had never been up there. We stayed two nights at a remote campground and ended up being the only ones there the entire weekend. See the adventure below:
August came, and the first solar eclipse to cross the United States in my lifetime was forecasted to cross southern Idaho. We couldn’t resist this opportunity. Erin’s friend Alex came to visit as part of a broader tour of the west. She was headed to Yellowstone after the Eclipse. We tried to plan our own epic adventure to Denver, and then back via Yellowstone, but unfortunately we had to cancel that part of the trip. But we did make it back to southern Idaho to experience the eclipse and soak in some hot springs.
I first learned of this plan when we were in Boise in June. I soon found that all of the camping locations along the path of totality had already been booked up. Apparently this was a much bigger deal than I was expecting. I had gone back and forth on whether it was even worth trying to make this trip happen without advanced reservations. But I had a trick up my sleeve. The campgrounds do reserve some spaces as walk-in only, meaning they are available on a first-come first-served basis. The eclipse was on Monday, but the reserved spaces were booked up starting Saturday night. However there were still several spaces at several campgrounds that were available on Friday night. With that knowledge, I figured that there might be some walk-in sites unoccupied Friday night. Alex was arriving Friday evening, and we didn’t want to drive down immediately, so instead we got up early and left at 3:30 am hoping to get down to the campgrounds before the crowds would arrive. We turned down the South Fork of the Payette River and pulled into the first campground, which happened to be Pine Flats. There was one space open, and we took it for three nights.
We visited family too.
My parents flew us east in November to celebrate Thanksgiving and a late 90th birthday for my grandmother. She now lives in Charlotte, and my sister lives an hour north. My aunt and uncle and cousins and their families came in and we had a mini family reunion. It was a nice break. Clara got to meet her cousin for the first time and they just adored each other. We took them to the North Carolina Zoo because the Boise Zoo didn’t have elephants.
Looking ahead for 2018.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I haven’t been good at making regular updates. A lot of that was because my time was spent writing my dissertation. I plan to post more often, even if they aren’t all hiking and adventure stories. For now, I’m spending about as much effort writing job applications. But hopefully I’ll get some time and funds to keep up with some local adventures and not neglect my photography hobby or this website. And maybe I’ll get to write about the next chapter of my life.