Best and worst outdoor family adventures of 2015

We are at the far end of the tunnel that is 2015, so it seems like the moment to look back at all the fun we had this year. It’s also, handily, been just about a year since I started this blog. One of my hopes in starting it was that it would encourage us to head to new places and it sure did. So thanks for being that voice in the back of my head saying “Hey, why don’t you try going to…?” Because of that voice, we explored farther afield in our amazing state than we ever had before.

Here are our favorite adventures from this past year:

Best family hike: Blue Hill Mountain

This wasn’t the biggest hike we did, the furthest away, or the most exciting on paper, but it was one of those days where it all just came together. The weather, the wildflowers, the views, the moods, the trail…it was perfection.


Worst family hike: The “tick hike”

I don’t want to slag on the specific land trust because it isn’t their fault, but we took an easy half-mile stroll on conservation lands one day that turned into a tick nightmare. We are cautious of–but not paranoid about–ticks, so when my husband said, “Jeez, I just brushed up against a bush and got five ticks on me” my “hmmm” was more of curiosity than terror. But as we continued we found more and more of the suckers (pun intended) and had to continually stop and pick them off our legs, socks, and shoes. Finally we just gave up and ran back to the car, where we tick checked like we’d never tick checked before. Even so, on our drive back home one of the kids would say “Hey, I found another one” and we’d calmly answer “Just toss it out the window” while internally screaming in the front seat. Miraculously, when all was said and done, only one of us ended up getting bitten. We found it just a few short hours later and–thankfully–they were dog ticks not deer ticks.

Obviously, this hike lives on in infamy in our family.

Best family adventure: Baxter State Park

No question. This was the all-encompassing winner for the year. It had everything: camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, sliding down waterfalls, owl pellet dissection…everything except a moose. So obviously we need to go back.

Mt. Katahdin Baxter

Worst family adventure: All those fishing trips we didn’t take.

We had a lot going on this summer: travel, work, putting an addition on our house, volunteer activities that took up more time than expected. We got out a lot for hiking and swimming, but fishing got horribly neglected. I haven’t fished a lot since I was a kid and I was really hoping this would be the year I picked it up again and we made it a family routine in earnest. No luck. Perhaps a resolution for 2016?

Just out of curiosity, I checked to see what your favorite adventure of 2015 was according to my stats. The winner? The essay I wrote about taking my daughter climbing up the second hardest trail in Acadia. Thanks for all of your support, shares, and comments on that post and all the others. This was my first year of writing on this topic and I’ve learned so much as well as been pushed to try new and different adventures with my family. (Thinking about the ice caves still makes me a bit queasy.)

As I think ahead to the next year, I’d love to hear what’s been useful for you. So, you tell me. What would you like more of in 2016?

If I didn’t capture your idea above, just write it in below. Whatever it is, I hope this continues to be an inspiring resource for you and your family. It has been for mine. Wishing you the very best adventures in 2016!

Cherie Galyean

About Cherie Galyean

In a perfect world, Cherie Galyean would spend hours every day chasing her kids up hiking trails, pretending to garden, and baking things. Instead, she works full-time in the non-profit sector and fits those other things in-between loads of laundry in her free time. A Maine native with multiple hometowns, she currently lives on Mount Desert Island with her husband, seven-year-old daughter, five-year-old son, and the best shelter mutt in the world.