Top Posts of 2017

So apparently it's kinda a thing to do a round-up post at the end of the year with your most popular posts. I don't know if it's humble-bragging or if it's to check the pulse of the blog and go, "wait a second...you all liked THESE posts?! Dang it, I'm in the wrong niche" or what, but it sounds fun so let's do this!

Except I'm picky, so I'm going to first give you MY top favorite posts of 2017, and then we'll poll the audience and see how we do. Kinda like "The Newlyweds Game" but as blogger vs. audience! Who's ready for some round-ups?!

Liz's Favorite Posts

Looking at my favorite posts, I suppose I trend towards posts that are difficult or inspiring, and I value posts with meaningful writing. As much as I love photography, my first and original love will always be writing, so my best writing will usually make it to the top of my "favorites" list. I also value experiences that were difficult or unique, as you'll soon see.

5. The Vicarious Experience of Photographing Mountain Biking

I met up with a group from Triangle Off-Road Cyclists (TORC) at Lake Crabtree early this summer to photograph mountain biking for the Wake County parks project. This particular meet-up was a regular meet-up just for women to get together and ride the trails. No, not just ride the trails - dominate the trails, encourage each other, and build community. The meet-up with the local women mountain bikers was incredible. I loved taking photos of action shots, and I loved seeing these women encourage each other to go for those routes or the pump track or that next big jump. The outdoor community is sometimes criticized for not being inclusive of women and minorities, but seeing groups specifically set up for women to not just succeed but thrive and revel was just amazing. Now that's something I want to be a part of.

4. What Good Is a Meteor Shower if You Have Clouds? And Other Lessons Learned in Shining Rock Wilderness

This was probably one of my more frustrating trips this year. I went solo backpacking for a quick weekend away from civilization, to see the Perseids meteor shower, to snuggle with Ryder, and to see Shining Rock. All of those things went horribly wrong: I was surrounded by people, it was cloudy and you couldn't see any meteors, Ryder was being a real obnoxious jerk, and I totally missed the turn-off to see Shining Rock. But you know...sometimes the tough moments are the ones we remember, because they help us appreciate the really great moments, like that sunrise on Black Balsam Knob, or snacking on blueberries (or maybe they were huckleberries? They're almost identical to blueberries) along the trail, or just kicking yourself at the end of it all, laughing at the fiasco, and knowing you'll do better next time. 

3. Two Minutes and Thirty-Seven Seconds

Basically: I went to the mountains. I backpacked the hardest trail in NC and one of the hardest trails on the entire East Coast. I saw the full solar eclipse. It was amazing.

2. Notes from Chicago

Okay, so this post was a kinda avant-garde travelogue with pictures in ode to Chicago. Maybe it's weird, but I like it. Cool night pictures, a giant Tyrannosaur, a ridiculous number of freckles on my face (it's my "summer look"), and a seagullzilla. Yes, I'm a weird nerd. Whatever.

1. Fighting the Terror of Climbing

This made the top spot not because of some epic amazing adventure, but simply because I wrote about my phobia of heights. When you write something so raw and vulnerable like your deepest fear then yeah, that confessional writing is going to be important to you. It's a seriously overlooked post, but if you've got a few minutes it's worth a read.

Honorable Mentions:

City of Oaks Marathon Relay Race Report

I ran the marathon relay with my Oiselle teammates and it was such a great experience! Read about the experience from one of my teammate's perspectives on Vanessa's blog: http://vanessavila.com/raleigh-city-of-oaks-marathon-relay/ 

Tuna Run 200 Race Recap: 2017

I absolutely love this relay race, and it was so much fun running it again this year! I don't know about you, but usually it seems like things aren't as fun the second time around. Not so for this race! It's definitely a favorite yearly event now.

Sir Walter Miler - Track Elites Compete in Local Race, New Women's World Record Set in Denim Mile

Looking at some of the photos still gives me chills from all the excitement and competition. I'm definitely applying for a media pass for this next year!

NCFC Fights for Bid in NASL Playoffs, Comes Back from Deficit to Tie Cosmos

Local soccer. MLS bid. Exciting game. Of course this was a favorite of mine! I was disappointed I couldn't attend more games this fall and write up more articles but my schedule was absolutely nuts and I had a conflict with all the games for the rest of the season. I'm super excited about spring season though!

Bald and Beautiful on the Appalachian Trail

Beautiful views, great company, and the Appalachian Trail? Yes please, for the win.

Appalachian Trail: Max Patch, Max Views, Max Adventure

I took a friend on her first backpacking trip this year. On the Appalachian Trail. In the snow. Oh yeah, you know that was memorable!

Okay, so I picked eleven favorite posts instead of five. ::shrug:: My blog, my rules. Here are your top five favorite posts from this year according to popularity.

Readers' Favorite Posts

Apparently you all like gear, events, the Appalachian Trail, and shopping. Noted!

5. Gadget Comparison - My Favorite Device to Track Activities and Runs - And a Link Up!

Huh. So apparently you all like seeing gear reviews? This is pretty much the only gear review I've ever done on my site, so I found this pretty interesting. I mostly haven't done gear reviews because: 1) there are plenty of blogs dedicated to JUST gear reviews so I figured the market was saturated (maybe not?), 2) I don't know about you, but pushing up posts about products all day every day feels spammy to me, and I don't want to spam you. This is my passion project and I want to write about what I really believe in, ergo experiences and not things. 3) I hate shopping, so it's not like I'm going to buy new gear all the time, and I hate asking companies for free products because...I dunno...My momma always taught me that you gotta work for what you want in life and not to ask for handouts? Really, I don't know why exactly I'm not comfortable pitching to companies or asking for free stuff. It's probably because I hate feeling like someone is selling to me or asking me for free stuff, so I don't want to be that person. In any case, between my aversion to shopping and my aversion to asking for free gear I have so little turnover on my gear that it doesn't seem worth doing gear reviews. But hey, if it's something you really want to see then let me know in the comments! Or wait a few days for my reader survey. Which I should finish soon. Hopefully. (Maybe it's best to leave a comment just to be sure.)

4. Sir Walter Miler - Track Elites Compete in Local Race, New Women's World Record Set in Denim Mile 

Apparently you like seeing fast people run in awkward jeans just as much as I do! Or maybe you actually like seeing up-and-coming elite runners and track athletes, in which case...you're the weird one. ;) (Just kidding; I loved seeing the elite runners! What an experience - the air was absolutely electric that night on the Meredith track!)

3. Arundel Castle, West Sussex, United Kingdom

For the record, I really have no idea how this has some of the top page views for the blog in 2017. This post went up in August 2016! Now I'm with you all: a medieval castle is pretty darn cool. But I'm going to double-up #3 since this post wasn't actually from 2017. Soooo...

3b. Bald and Beautiful on the Appalachian Trail

Oooh yes, you all have good taste! This trip was such an amazing experience: I honestly cannot imagine a better campsite or a better sunset than what we had on Hump Mountain.

2. Appalachian Trail: Max Patch, Max Views, Max Adventure

Everyone loves Max Patch! And what's not to love? It's a fantastic section along the Appalachian Trail and it was great going with Emily on her first ever backpacking trip! Even if it was uphill. Both directions. In the snow. Ha!

1. New Marketplace for Local Artists Opens In Downtown Hillsborough

You all are apparently big fans of supporting local artists, which hey! I totally love you for that! I hope you keep supporting your local artists throughout 2018!

Honorable Mention and Please Stop Reading This Post:

New Hope Trail at Jordan Lake

I kid you all not - this is my next most popular post for 2017. Y'all. How did you even find this post?! This post is from April 2013. 2013! This post is from way before I blogged regularly. True story: I posted a grand total of 7 posts in all of 2013 and 3 posts in all of 2014. That doesn't count as blogging - those are intermittent spasms of quarks in the black hole that is the Internet! (#nerd) I didn't start blogging with any real activity until summer 2015. This post is my very second post ever on this site and was ages before I got a nice camera or got into photography. How do you all even find this post?! The photos are crap, the writing is crap, and the information is probably outdated by now. Seriously, stop going to this post before I make you all mad and take it down. (Or I guess I'll just have to hike New Hope Overlook Trail again and update the post? Ugh. Fine. Who wants to come with me?)

Summary

So in terms of my top five favorites and your top five favorites, it's interesting we don't have any similarities, but there's plenty of overlap on the honorable mentions, so I won't complain. Except please please please stop reading my posts from 2013. Really.

Is your favorite blog post on this list, or did your favorite blog post not make the list? Let me know in the comments!

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