Well, 2022 got off to a good start (but then so did 2020 and 2021 😒). Yes, COVID eased off some. But then came the flu, RSV, Ukraine 🇺🇦, inflation, Queen Elizabeth II 🇬🇧, gun violence, a tense national election, more from Donnie the Dodger, and the terminal illnesses of two old friends. If these weren’t enough, we moved to Minnesota – for family reasons (and the weather 🥶). And yet, amid all this turmoil, we still did some outdoor stuff, all of it somewhat calming and diverting.
JANUARY: We went to Arizona again for a brief visit with Heidi and Bob and for some desert hiking. We also reconnected with Carol – who I’d climbed with back in the day – thanks to her recent move to Sedona. This lead to a great hike of spectacular Cathedral Rock. Back in Oregon we did a lot of local hiking, including our annual climb of Stein Butte.
FEBRUARY: We paid a short visit to Minnesota to get a taste of “real” winter with a brief, cold hike in Hyland Lake Park. Back in Oregon we concentrated on local hikes, including a climb of Hardin Butte in Lava Beds National Monument and finally snowshoeing to the top of Burton Butte.
MARCH: We made the decision to move and listed our house, which sold way faster than expected. Way faster. Move preparations cut deeply into our outdoor time this month. We did pay last visits to Kitty Mack on the Rogue River, Jacksonville Forest Park, and Upper Table Rock. These were all bittersweet moments. 😢
APRIL: We flew to Minnesota and bought a townhouse. Back in Oregon we got in last hikes to Mount Ashland and along the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail (the first hike we did in Southern Oregon). A last hike of Porcupine Mountain on the PCT was enlivened by a face-to-face encounter with a cougar. 😲
MAY: After driving to Minnesota, we had to wait a month before we could occupy our new house. So, of course, we filled this slack time with hikes. We joined the state’s Hiking Club and started to walk our way through 68 of Minnesota’s state parks, starting with Fort Snelling and visiting nine more before month’s end. 😁
JUNE: Along with longtime friends Wayne and Diane, and his sister Bonnie and her husband Jim, we rafted the Yampa and Green Rivers between Deerlodge Park and Split Mountain. The rivers were flowing well and it was not too hot – so another great raft trip. Back in Minnesota, we got on with visiting more state parks.
JULY: This month was all about hiking state parks and other preserves in Minnesota (and a few in Wisconsin). We did a multi-day trip Up North to visit the state’s oldest park (Itasca) at the headwaters of the Mississippi River. We also spent (too) much time fixing our new house. 🙄
AUGUST: Back before we decided to move, we’d made plans to go on two trips in California’s High Sierra with Wayne and Diane. Our first trip involved day hikes from a basecamp in June Lake. Then it was back to Minnesota to continue with our state park quest, which included a visit to Mystery Cave. 🦇
SEPTEMBER: Our second scheduled trip with Wayne, Diane, Bonnie, and Jim, was a mule-supported hike along the John Muir Trail from Red’s Meadow to Tuolumne Meadows. Despite some rain, navigation issues, and Bonnie and Jim having to leave early, it was a memorable, possibly last trip, to the High Sierra. Back home, we did a multi-day trip to state parks in the Far North along the Canadian border.
OCTOBER: It was finally time for our long delayed annual family reunion, this year in Asheville, North Carolina. Our days were filled with hikes, art, various libations, shared meals, and catching-up. Fall colors were at their peak, so all of our hikes here were spectacularly multi-colored. 🍂😊 Those back home were pretty colorful too. 🍁
NOVEMBER: We got in one more state park quest (and another visit to Fargo) before the days shortened, temperatures plummeted, and snow finally arrived. ❄ The rest of the month was taken up with repeat hikes in our local area, plus a few to new places nearby. Some snow came, then went, so there was some anticipation as to when it might be back (as we knew it would).
DECEMBER: Snow and cold arrived in earnest and we stuck mostly to hikes near the Twin Cities. We also got to spend Christmas with family on the East Coast – something that’s much easier to do from Minnesota than from Oregon. All we have to worry about now are blizzards and loss of extremities to the cold. 🥶😉