Happy Solstice to all!

Winter has arrived, but the Yu-Darling household is missing its most enthusiastic member. We bid an unexpected goodbye to Neva this year and her absence has weighed heavily on our pack. Jen’s parents moved to Colorado permanently. Jeremy reached milestone birthday #50! A geek-themed road trip took us west to Bend, Oregon and we caught an eclipse on the way home. We logged thousands of human-powered miles on foot and ski, began birding and identifying local flora, and moved our houses toward greater electrification and energy efficiency (ongoing). Jen continues to overhaul favorite recipes into healthier versions. Her current unicorn is The Ultimate Whole Wheat Sourdough Pizza Dough for our pizza oven. We’re trying our best to lead healthier, greener, kinder lives in this beautiful place.

Can you believe this is our 19th annual photo recap? Neither can we! But it’s nice to review the year that was before we enter the next.

Your communications in any form: digital (email, text, comment below) or analog (cards, letters, packages, and most of all – hugs) are always a delight. We love catching up on your latest news even if we are absolutely lousy at replying. For those who don’t know the drill: links to past years’ cards can be found on the sidebar.

Making the most of a good snow year on trails familiar and new. (Winter/Spring 2023 – Crested Butte, Colorado)

In April, Neva developed an eye issue which quickly revealed itself to be an incurable aggressive cancer ravaging her body. We determined that we would not subject our dear girl to any further suffering. Neva spent her last morning eating her favorite things, sniffing and hiking a local trail, and playing with her beloved orange ball. With broken hearts, we let her go peacefully at home, without pain, in the care of a compassionate veterinarian, and surrounded by love. You can view a short (90 sec) video compilation of Neva’s remarkable life.

A short hike to Neva Rock the day we said goodbye. (April 2023 – Nederland, Colorado)

Yuki took Neva’s passing the hardest. The best therapy for everyone was to hit the trails where Neva was happiest. (June 2023 – Crested Butte)

Yuki wasn’t convinced about the water, but she was a good sport. (August 2023 – Crested Butte)

After back-to-back annual mushroom bonanzas, we figured the fungi might take a year off. But Nature is extraordinary and we were delighted to stumble upon several new chanterelle patches. (September 2023 – undisclosed location, Colorado)

Jeremy celebrated turning 50 in his preferred mode: under the radar, with his pack, enjoying good champagne and wine, and having his cake (right). A bespoke cosmic-adjacent-themed cake for the birthday boy (left). (September 2023 – Nederland)

Time in the high country becomes extra special after vacationers return home and the mountain aspens take on warmer hues. Getting those cherished hikes (left) and runs (right) before the snow. (September 2023 – Indian Peaks Wilderness & Gunnison National Forest, Colorado)

A perfect day on the summit of Mount Emmons. (September 2023 – Crested Butte)

Fall colors were late and other obligations called, but we caught pockets of early aspens in show off mode. (September 2023 – Gunnison National Forest)

Our trip to visit Jen’s favorite aunt and uncle in Bend, Oregon included stops at Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho (volcanism!); and John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon (fossils! geomorphology!) where Yuki became a Bark Ranger (it’s $5 for the tag – you don’t even have to have a dog, really). In Bend, we kindled our love for the larch tree, admired the volcanism-dominated landscape, were inspired by our hosts’ green energy solutions and innovative Arduino seed viability/density sorting project, and met our cousin’s new family.

Above Blue Basin. (October 2023 – John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon)

Yuki, the Bark Ranger. (October 2023 – John Day Fossil Beds National Monument)

The return drive involved a little rockhounding at Glass Buttes in eastern Oregon (largest obsidian deposit in the world!); a hike in snowy Park City, Utah; and an annular solar eclipse preceded by insane traffic at 6am as all of Utah poured south on I-15 to view said eclipse.

The setting at a freeway rest stop on the edge of the zone of annularity (we planned that – meticulously). It was surprisingly and wonderfully empty. (October 2023 – I-70, Utah)

Shooting the eclipse with solar filter in place (left). Annular totality (right). (October – I-70, Utah)

Quietly moving through fresh snow with a free-range Yuki. (November 2023 – Crested Butte)

From snow-kissed Colorado, our best wishes for you in 2024.

Jen, Jeremy, and Yuki

In loving memory of our dear, sweet Neva who lived life with joy and gusto. She was our little shadow, a rocket engine on snow, our Baby Cheese, a most special and Good Little Girl.

Don’t forget the 2023 Cutting Room Floor!

past years: 2022, 2021,2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005