The Blonde Coyote: 2012, in review

In 2012, I turned 30 and hit my 50th state! Bring on 2013!

In 2012, I turned 30 and hit my 50th state! Bring on 2013!

Hey Everybody! I’m winding down 2012 in a rare state of relative repose, spending these last chilly days of the year hanging out with my family. With my parents in Pennsylvania, my sister in Germany, my brother in California and me all over the map, we’re rarely all in the same place at the same time. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are gearing up for an epic start to 2013!

In 2012, I started the New Year in Germany, celebrated my 30th birthday with a 5-day backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon, fell in love at first sight with a Teardrop camper in Texas and bought my very own less than a month later, took it for a 3-week test drive in Utah, got chased by an angry moose and wrestled alligators in Colorado, found an abandoned filly and Butch Cassidy’s hideout in Wyoming, drove the Loneliest Road in America across Nevada, made new friends in Tahoe, spent a week with my siblings in San Francisco, met a master on the Lost Coast, revisited my post-college cabin in Oregon, met some ski-mountaineers in Washington, crossed into British Columbia, picked up charming Canadian hitchhikers, crossed off my 50th state: Alaska!, hiked up a disappearing glacier, took a geo-pilgrimage to the Burgess Shale fossils (and wrote about it for the January issue of EARTH magazine), climbed an epic mountain above Banff, was welcomed back into the US, visited old friends and favorite trails in Montana and North Dakota, drove east across the US, landed in a house in the Virginia woods right next to the Appalachian Trail, just in time for fall, attended Bridge Day in WV, went backpacking on the AT with old friends, hit Niagara Falls, my 5th Great Lake and the Adirondacks on a road trip, spent 3-weeks housesitting in Vermont where I hiked to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory and to the summit of Camel’s Hump and then landed back in PA for the holidays. What a year!

The road into Monument Valley, one of my all-time favorite drives.

The road into Monument Valley, one of my all-time favorite drives.

In honor of an awesome 2012, here are links to this year’s five most popular posts:

1. Teardrop Dreams/ Teardrop Dreams…Coming True!

The Raven & the Rattler visit Capitol Reef National Park in Utah

The Raven & the Rattler visit Capitol Reef National Park in Utah

2. Back To the Turquoise Trail

Bowie & the Blonde Coyote by the coyote skull in the juniper tree.

Bowie & the Blonde Coyote by the coyote skull in the juniper tree.

3. Boondocking 101: How To Camp For Free In Beautiful Places

Free campsite in Cedar Breaks National Forest, Utah

Free campsite in Cedar Breaks National Forest, Utah

4. How To Wrangle an Alligator! 

Mary vs. Alligator. I won!

Mary vs. Alligator. I won!

5. Grand Canyon- Day 5: Bright Angel Snowstorm! 

Hiking up the Bright Angel Trail in a blizzard!

Hiking up the Bright Angel Trail in a blizzard!

Writing is meant to be read and each day, several hundred people visit the Blonde Coyote. I know that’s not a lot on the scale of the World Wide Web, but I’ve always believed in the importance and power of individuals and triple digit visitor statistics never cease to amaze me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everybody who has taken the time to read and comment on my posts! You guys are awesome. I hope that you’ve all been inspired to see more of the World.

So far on my 2013 calendar: a road trip to the Florida Keys, visiting the Trinity Site in New Mexico, spring in Utah, summer in the Rockies, and an August alligator rodeo in Colorado. What else? We’ll see! I am open to any and all possibilities! My resolution this year is, as always, to see more of the World and in 2013, I’ll be taking you all with me via the Blonde Coyote. So stay tuned! Happy New Year! MCM

Crossing the Tonto Bench in the Grand Canyon

Crossing the Tonto Bench in the Grand Canyon

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
This entry was posted in Appalachian Trail, Beyond the USA, Bowie & D.O.G., Cowboys & Horses, Hiking!, New Mexico, Photography, Road tripping!, Sustainable Living, Teardrop Trailer, Uncategorized, Vagabonding 101. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The Blonde Coyote: 2012, in review

  1. Tiffani says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us. The stories and beautiful pictures are so wonderful. Have a wonderful adventurous new year and safe journey to you.

  2. beeseeker says:

    What a super review, thanks for sharing.

  3. natureglo says:

    You have inspired me to live on the road. I am hoping to be a vandweller, teardrop dweller, hopefully soon! Thanks for all your inspiring stories!

  4. I am exhausted reading your recap of 2012. I’m really impressed with the teardrop trailer – and where you’ve taken it. Here’s to more great travel in 2013!

  5. Jason says:

    That’s quite a year! Congratulations. You have inspired me to downsize and do more traveling again. Also, from one writer to another, I think you have the makings of a book here. Let me know if you want to collaborate or just need a sounding board. I’d be happy to help.

  6. ashley eastwood says:

    I love you, Mary Merry Everything. May 2013 be breathtaking, astounding and confounding. And may you put it all on your blog!

  7. You truly do live the life of dreams, and what a better way to end a spectacular year than with family. Wonderful meeting you and living vicariously with you in the teardrop. May you have a wonderful and Happy New Year!

  8. Tina says:

    What you have done in 2012 is just amazing, thanks for taking us all along with you. Many blessings to you in 2013!


    Just a reminder if you are in CO.
    What did you do with all of those rocks I saw you had in your car??

  10. sedonagirl says:

    Geez Mar, is that all? LOL Happy New Year to you. Keep the inspiration coming. I will be following your lead in 2013 and become a nomad. Maybe we’ll meet up on the road! Cheers

  11. sedonagirl says:

    Geez Mar, is that all? Happy New Year to you! Keep the inspiration coming- I will be following in your footsteps in 2013 and start my life as a nomad. Maybe we will meet up on the road 🙂 Take Care

  12. Kacie says:

    Cheers to a wonderful year, and more to come in 2013! Thanks for taking us along on the adventure! If you’re ever in need of a place to stay in TN, you’re always welcome at our farm!

  13. Noel says:

    Happy New Year, and thanks for a great blog with great pics!

  14. Wow! What an impressive list of wonderful travels. So great that you are sharing with others the way you do. I love reading your blogs and seeing your great photos. I see from your synopsis here that I have missed a few, so will do some catch-up reading. Also, don’t know if you got the email I sent about the little pop-up tent trailer that my husband and I got in October. We’ve made a couple of short road trips and a longer one down to Carlsbad Caverns for Christmas. You have probably been to the caverns, but if not, you might want to put that on your itinerary after Trinity Site, as you will already be in the southern part of the state. Best to you, Mary, on your 2013 travels. …. Carol

    • Congrats Carol! I’d love to see pictures of your rig! I went to Carlsbad last winter. The night before the caverns we camped in Guadalupe National Park and that’s when I saw my first Teardrop camper! Less than a month later, I bought my own. I guess I never got around to writing a post on Carlsbad! I was so focused on Teardrops I must have overlooked it. One of these days! Here’s a link to some photos from that trip:

      • Hi Mary, I enjoyed looking at your Carlsbad Caverns photos. My favorite is the one I call Cavern Chandelier. I have several photos of our little pop-up and my Forester. Where is the best place to send a photo? I sent a photo to your email one time, but didn’t hear back, so not sure if you got it or it went into spam. Have you been to Lake Lucero in White Sands? I don’t know how close it is to the Trinity Site, but once you are in the area, you may want to see it, also, if you haven’t already. We were very fortunate to see water there – the lake was really a lake – the day we went to Lake Lucero. Anyway, I think of you whenever we’re traveling and camping. Safe travels to you always. Carol

      • Hi Carol, You can email me at I’ll have to look for your last email, I don’t think I ever got it! I’ve done a few hikes at White Sands, but not to Lake Lucero yet. I love that place- so photogenic! Have you been to the Three Rivers Petroglyphs? Between Tularosa and Carrizozoon Highway 54.

      • Hi Mary, …We’ve been to the petroglyphs several times. In fact, one of the photos that I’m going to send was taken there on Christmas. Usually we drive all the way into the campground at the wilderness boundary, but this time we camped right at the petroglyph site since we were headed to Carlsbad Caverns – actually just to Brantley State Park – the next day. I sell photo greeting cards at the Three Rivers Trading Post, photos of the petroglyphs, but also photos from all over the southwest, Have you ever backpacked in White Sands? It is an easy hike in, but far enough off the beaten path so as to get photos of dunes at dawn and sunset with no footprints. Carol

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