2020 ~ Adventures with The LovedOne

Oh, 2020. You seemed so nice when we first met. You were fun for two months, then you turned ugly. Real ugly. A plague and a recession and wildfires and an election and continuing drought. Yes sir, you threw quite a bit of hurt at us! Yes you did! But we survived. And The LovedOne remained photogenic while social distancing from others kept her within camera range.

JANUARY: Back when we took “normal” for granted, we used a direct flight to Nevada to go hiking near Las Vegas (Arizona Hot Springs) and in Death Valley National Park (Funeral Slot Canyon, Big Bell Extension Mine, Saddle Rock Mine).

Arizona Hot Springs (in Arizona just south of Las Vegas)

FEBRUARY: While still in the Before Times, we again took advantage of a direct flight to Arizona to visit our friends Heidi and Bob and do some hiking around Tucson (Wild Burro Loop, Romero Pools). A bit more than a hike was our scramble up Picacho Peak using ladders, ramps, and cables.

Climbing one of the ladders on Picacho Peak

MARCH: The Big V, which had been lurking for several months, finally crashed the party. Our big travel plans evaporated as various countries and cities locked-down. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ We found ourselves reprising some classic local hikes (Sterling Mine Ditch, Whisky Creek Cabin) while the powers-that-be prevaricated about what we could and couldn’t do and with whom and where and when.

On the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail

APRIL: We counted ourselves lucky to be living in a place where going outside (away from other people) was still allowed. So we continued reprising some of our local favorites, including a snow hike of Mount Ashland and a wander out to Boccard Point.

Toward Mount Ashland’s summit with Mount McLoughlin on the horizon

MAY: We still stayed close to home but let ourselves stretch some with a return to Taylor Creek (to find its 5 wooden bridges still intact after a devastating wildfire ๐Ÿ™‚ ), a partially cross-country circle around Fish Lake, and a sunny day scramble to Vulture Rock.

Circling Fish Lake (the boulder field only lasted a half-mile)

JUNE: The Big V’s first surge crested, some of the lock-downs were eased, and we took a calculated risk to visit the Oregon coast for a few days. We hiked across the Oregon Dunes, did a loop in the rainforest at Cape Perpetua, circled Lola Lake, and wandered along Whaleshead Beach. We did not get the plague. ๐Ÿ™‚

Socially distant on Whaleshead Beach

JULY: The lock-downs eased more, so we expanded our horizons to Mill Creek Lake in the Trinity Alps, a summit in the Mountain Lakes Wilderness, hikes around Mount Shasta, and a loop in Crater Lake National Park (despite visitation having been up this year, the Rim Village parking lot was half empty). But, as we know now, the Big V wasn’t gone, just on a break. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Garfield Peak rising above Crater Lake

AUGUST: We took another calculated risk and joined our long-time friends Wayne and Diane for a self-contained (a rental cabin plus only eating in and going out only to hike) visit to Lake Tahoe. We were able to hike at (unexpectedly) crowded Rubicon Point and at much less busy Ellis Lake and General Creek before thick, chocking wildfire smoke rolled in. Fortunately, the Big V did not. ๐Ÿ™‚

Diane and The LovedOne on the trail to Ellis Lake

SEPTEMBER: We took the chance on the one “big” trip we’d been able to save this year – a mule-supported hike in Northern Yosemite National Park. We were outside all the time, so social distancing was no problem. Despite wildfire smoke on most days and a rescue (not us), we had a great time. Again, we dodged the plague. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

The LovedOne discovers mules love tangerine peels

OCTOBER: Science was telling us that the Big V was going to come back strong once the weather cooled. So we took one last calculated risk and revisited the Oregon coast. After seeing the Trees of Mystery, we hiked to Hidden Beach in Redwood National Park and to beautiful Windy Valley in the Coast Range. Once again we skirted the plague. ๐Ÿ™‚ But, unwilling to roll the virus dice yet again, we made this our last away-from-home trip of 2020.

On the trail to Windy Valley (the scenery gets better, much better)

NOVEMBER: Everything that we may have done somewhat cautiouslyโ€”and gotten away withโ€”in summer carried a higher risk now, because the Big V loves winters ๐Ÿ˜ฆ and we entered it with an exponentially expanding case load. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ Another partial lock-down was ordered, so back we went, again, to reprising some classic (and not-so-classic) local hikes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Along the PCT near Porcupine Mountain

DECEMBER: After a warm start, winter weather finally arrived, elevations above 5,000 feet (1,525 m) turned white, and the ski area on Mount Ashland opened (albeit with many restrictions). We lumbered through the month, dodging spells of bad weather, to get in a few more of the local classics, like Wagner Butte and Lower Table Rock. We wrapped-up the hiking season with our traditional end-of-the-year ascent of Stein Butte.

At the old lookout site on Wagner Butte, with Mount McLoughlin in the distance

Despite the travails that afflicted all of us to varying degrees in 2020, we still somehow managed a few adventures and 680 miles of hiking! Maybe because, by and large, there wasn’t much else we could do except hike. We’ve made some tentative plans for 2021 but we’re actually not sure what we’ll be doing in the year ahead. It’s still sort of an open question. Perhaps more (as yet unspecified) adventures, some of which may involve hiking. ๐Ÿ˜€


6 thoughts on “2020 ~ Adventures with The LovedOne

  1. Thanks! We tried to be careful with any adventures that weren’t local. Careful in the sense of not being spreaders. The Big V is still out there so we’re staying local for the moment. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. You two really made the most of 2020! Even though you probably didn’t intend to be stuck at home in Southern Oregon for so many months, I certainly enjoyed seeing all of your hiking adventures in our beloved Rogue Valley. Here’s to many more adventures in 2021!


  3. I guess I had to sacrifice my “normal” artistic standards just to get out of 2020 alive…
    As for anagrams, let’s hope LOVE DONE doesn’t happen lest I become a LONE DOVE. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  4. I like the December and January photos even if they are not up to you normal photographic standards.
    I also noticed the first time that you can read LOVEDONE and either LOVED ONE or LOVE DONE ๐Ÿ™‚


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