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).
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.
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. 😥 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.
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.
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 🙂 ), a partially cross-country circle around Fish Lake, and a sunny day scramble to Vulture Rock.
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. 🙂
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. 😳
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. 🙂
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. 🙂
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. 🙂 But, unwilling to roll the virus dice yet again, we made this our last away-from-home trip of 2020.
NOVEMBER: Everything that we may have done somewhat cautiously—and gotten away with—in summer carried a higher risk now, because the Big V loves winters 😦 and we entered it with an exponentially expanding case load. 😥 Another partial lock-down was ordered, so back we went, again, to reprising some classic (and not-so-classic) local hikes. 🙂
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.
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. 😀