When we look back on 2016, we see a year filled with exploration, discovery, and personal growth. We cooked up a bunch of great recipes, made amazing new friends, reconnected with old ones, and saw some pretty spectacular sights. Despite the internet having written off 2016 as a total disaster, we are grateful that for FOTG, it was a pretty good year.
Last winter, we got our first taste of “slow travel” as we waited for our car’s A/C condenser to be repaired in Anza Borrego. We were unwitting bystanders during a BLM raid at a nudist hot spring outside of Holtsville, purchased gas for $1.17 gallon in Tucson, and briefly visited Yuma before being advised by the locals to “go someplace more interesting…”
In the spring, we hung out with naturopaths, palm-readers, and gem-therapists in a coffee shop outside of Sedona, AZ, time traveled across 4 time zones on our way through Navajo Nation to see the iconic Horseshoe Bend, nearly froze to death in Michael’s sister’s apartment in Durango, CO, and ill-advisedly tubed down the rocky Virgin River in the town of Springdale, UT.
In the summer, we found a campground paradise in Weaverville, CA, crashed not one, but two house parties during 4th of July celebrations in Bend, OR, shot a big project for Visit Idaho, drove across the country in four days, and then shot another project for Wild, Wonderful West Virginia. After which, rather than endure one more hot, sweaty, sticky night, we drove straight into the cool, indifferent embrace of New England.
In the fall, we brought our life on the road to a close. The ye olde Ford Focus, after logging an impressive 38k miles, needed a rest – at least for the winter. But we plan to continue to expand Fresh Off the Grid into future. Spring is just around the corner… and there’s a good chance we’ll have gone entirely stir-crazy well before then.
So watch out 2017, we’re coming for you! But before we do, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from 2016.
Top 10 Camping Recipes of 2016
Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at supper time. When you know how to make pizza with a cast iron skillet, you can have pizza anytime.
One of our more improbable meals turned out to be one of our most popular of the year.
We brought some much needed nutritional updates to this backpacking staple.
A craving for good Americanized Chinese food knows no bounds. Now you can get your fix even out in the backcountry.
Making a s’more into a granola bar was easy. Making it vegan turned out to be more difficult than we thought.
The ultimate veggie burger for meat lovers. We went the distance to develop this sweet potato & white bean burger.
This dead-simple, yet nutritionally balanced meal arose from an “oh crap, what are we making for dinner” moment.
Tacos and beer are a match made in heaven, so why not cook them all together?
Eating this hearty, smoky, warming stew felt like wrapping ourselves up in a blanket and sitting next to a campfire.
Putting a unique spin on hash, this breakfast skillet will start your day off with a protein kick
Top 3 How-To Guides
We got pretty good at finding a free place to camp during our 13 months on the road, and we’re passing that knowledge onto you.
Take your fire making skills to the next level by making your very own Swedish Fire Log.
Keep the hangry away by keeping a properly stocked camping pantry.
Top Places We Visited
With fields of flowering cacti, the vibrancy of the Sonoran Desert was on full display in Organ Pipe National Monument.
Tucked away amongst the blazing red rocks, we searched for secret swimming holes in Sedona, AZ.
We spent so much time in Zion National Park this year that we were able to memorize the automated narration on the intra-park tram ride. We hiked the Narrows, climbed to Observation Point, and even got a chance to check out some of the other hidden gems of the area.
Part outdoor paradise, part spiritual retreat, we feel in love with the enchanted town of Mt. Shasta. An overnight backpacking trip up to Heart Lake was all we need to find our inner peace.
We hiked along a section of the PCT to reach Russell Lake, deep inside the Jefferson Wilderness.
If you haven’t been, then you’ve got to go to Idaho! We spent an entire week exploring this up-and-coming state. Mountains, deserts, forests, rivers, and hot springs, the best of the west can be found in Idaho.
One of the most underestimated states in the Union, West Virginia blew us away. We spent almost two weeks exploring the diverse range of outdoor opportunities in the Mountain State.
There’s no place to capture autumn than in the Adirondacks. We went on an overnight kayak trip through some of the most spectacular fall foliage we have ever seen.