A year ago today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic because the Big V was totally out of control. Some of us probably knew what “pandemic” meant in the abstract, but none of us had a clue what declaring one was going to do to our lives. We’d gone hiking that day only to come home and find falling stocks, closed businesses, and cancellations galore. It’s been a long year since. One of our dearest friends lost her brother to the Big V but everyone else we know has made it this far in decent shape. The biggest hit we took personally was seeing almost all of our big travel plans for last year simply evaporate. We were disappointed but that was trivial compared to the millions employed by the travel industry who suddenly found themselves without work. 😥

But now things are looking better. Science has finally caught up with the Big V and we have both vaccines and better treatment options. We’re not (collectively) at the finish line yet but we’re a lot closer than we were a year ago. We spent much of the last 365 days hiking locally, revisiting old favorites and trying trails we’ve overlooked in the past. So, naturally, we decided to acknowledge (no way we’re going to celebrate) the pandemic’s first (and hopefully last) anniversary with a short hike (5 miles (8 km) round-trip, with 780 feet (287 m) of gain) at Lower Table Rock. Today was cool but nicely sunny. The vernal pools are full and a few of the earliest wildflowers are starting to emerge. This is a popular hike and we were not alone in our enjoyment of the trail, the weather, and the views. Social distancing prevailed, so it was all good. 🙂

Climbing to the plateau
Recent rains
Western Buttercup (with tiny crab spider)
Grass Widow (among the first flowers of the Spring season)
Vernal pool
Upper Table Rock from Lower Table Rock
Clouds over basalt
Clouds over the old runway
Vernal pool
Vernal pools
Vernal pool
Heading back