Spring was filled with much confusion. I was in Northeast Arizona when the COVID-19 restrictions began. Traveling wasn’t fun. I felt ostracized and unwelcome. Once I realized this wasn’t going to be a short-term problem, I scurried home and spent spring recreating locally while struggling to process this current reality. I wrote a lot. It will be a good reminder of this time in my life.
- 2020 – Life in Jan’s Jail . . . taking on the 14-Day travel quarantine challenge
- 2020 – A Speck in the Storm
- 2020 – I Just Want to Live Before I Die
- 2020 – Don’t Tell Me NO!
- 2020 – This Hiker’s Tug of War
- 2020 – Blooming April, Spring Doesn’t Care
Living near this lake for several decades I’ve spent plenty of time along it’s shores and hiking the trails but this was my first summer ON the water. I learned about the old highway that runs under the lake and is still visible (the shadow line on the right). How is it possible for pavement to remain intact under water for decades?
While in general the joy of hiking wasn’t present during my paddles, I found satisfaction swimming, watching fish, frogs and birds, discovering the creek inflow channels, and imagining camping on one of the little islands.
Spending the last six summers in the mountain states, I’d forgotten how hot it gets in Redding starting in June; my melting point is around 80F. It was easy to start questioning my decision to stay local. Several times I considered running away.
Life on the road gave me the opportunity to run from weather or fires and smoke. Staying home, meant daily checks of the air quality starting mid July. This was my last day of paddling. Soon enough instead of buying backpacking gear I was buying an air purifier and dragging out my N95 masks, for smoke rather than COVID-19.
And then it was finally time! My local forests sort of invited participation with this statement, “We ask the public to please recreate responsibly. Law enforcement and/or search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues. High risk activities such as rock climbing, etc., or backcountry activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided.” Maybe a little selfish, hiking and backpacking in my local wilderness areas was a decision I didn’t take lightly, but one imperative to my personal well being. Trails were open, and with careful planning I selected options with few cars at the trailheads and rarely a human sighting while on trail. I didn’t stop anywhere along the way, no restrooms, no gas, no food or drink. I’d return home to resupply, do laundry and grab gas before hitting the repeat button.
- CA – Trinity Alps Wilderness, Stuart Fork Trailhead . . . early spring jaunting
- CA – Trinity Alps Wilderness, Swift Creek Trailhead . . . early spring jaunting
- CA – Trinity Alps Wilderness, Long Canyon Trailhead . . . early spring jaunting
- CA – Marble Mountains Wilderness, Mule Bridge Trailhead . . . Spring Jaunting
- CA – Trinity Alps Wilderness, Tangle Blue Lake Trailhead . . . spring jaunting
- CA – Trinity Alps Wilderness, Stoney Ridge Trailhead . . . Late Spring Jaunting
- CA – Trinity Alps Wilderness, Poison Canyon Trailhead . . . early summer jaunting
- CA – Russian/Marble Mountain Wildernesses, Jan’s PCT Swimmer’s Route
- CA – Russian/Marble Mountain Wildernesses, a PCT Wildflower Jaunt
- CA – Russian/Marble Mountain Wildernesses, PCT Eye Candy
- CA – Mt Shasta Wilderness, South Gate Meadows Trailhead
- CA – Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Cabin Creek Trailhead (aka Squaw Valley Creek)
- CA – Trinity Alps Wilderness, Bear Lakes Trailhead
- CA – Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Parks Creek Trailhead . . . Let’s Go Swimming
Looking at this list makes me realize I didn’t have a wasted summer. It wasn’t anywhere near the #epic summer I had planned, but at least I got out. The biggest regret I have is giving up a month of opportunity. I suffered from the heat and was miserable during my early July jaunt on the PCT in the Russian Wilderness. I decided I needed to wait until fall. In retrospect I realize what I should have done was find places where I could lounge around lakes during the heat of the day. It’s not my style, but then again neither is staying home feeling sorry for myself. Once again, maybe I should have run away?
FINALLY, the week before Labor Day weekend, we had a weather change and were gifted a break from the heat and smoke. So off I went to find my happy spot, and yes more swimming. Did I say this was my summer of swimming?
I spent September learning a lot about knee anatomy, followed by knee surgery in early October. For six weeks, it’s crutches and 8 hours a day in a CPM (continuous passive motion) machine, so basically 24×7 in bed. Oh fun!
I took advantage of my downtime while I was cooped up inside, hiding from heat or smoke, to write my series on a decade of lessons learned.
- 2020 – A Decade of Section Hiking Long Distance Trails . . . my podcast debut and resume
- 2020 – A Decade of Lessons Learned . . . What’s In My Pack?
- 2020 – A Decade of Lessons Learned . . . Bug Management
- 2020 – A Decade of Lessons Learned . . . Solo, Partner or Group
- 2020 – A Decade of Lessons Learned . . . Navigation and Planning
- 2020 – A Decade of Lessons Learned . . . Campsite Selection
- 2020 – A Decade of Lessons Learned . . . Electronics and Technology
- 2020 – A Decade of Lessons Learned . . . Water, Water, Water
- 2020 – A Decade of Lessons Learned . . . Eats Drinks and More
- 2020 – A Decade of Lessons Learned . . . Preparing for the Unexpected
I also worked on a few DIY projects.
- DIY – Summer Quilt . . . how to convert a down throw
- DIY – Sleeping Bag to Quilt Conversion
- DIY – Phone/Camera Case . . . made from Frogg Toggs Pouch
Lastly I’ve been busy contributing to other communities, including my interview with Jester (link).
In Susan Alcorn’s recently released book, I’m one of the women interviewed and hear I have a dedicated chapter (I’m still waiting for my complimentary copy to arrive). It’s a little nerve wracking not knowing how content will be used and edited, especially in a project like this one. “In Walk, Hike, Saunter, long-distance hiker Susan Alcorn introduces you to 32 experienced outdoors women who consider hiking to be an essential part of their live. The common theme of Walk, Hike, Saunter is that there are many paths to incorporating hiking into your life. Whether hiking is one of many things that you enjoy doing, or whether you find hiking such an passion that you don’t mind living out of your car in order to pursue it–you can reap the rewards of exploring the world on foot. The women, all 45 and older and in the prime of their lives, are all superstars–shining examples of the richness that hiking can bring to our lives.” The book is currently available in paperback but at some point in the future will be an e-book as well (Amazon link).
I’m also happy to be contributing to the PCT Foundation Document (link). It’s a very interesting project. You can learn more and add your two cents if interested.
My blog will probably be fairly quiet for the next few months as I go through rehab. I’ll be spending a lot of time in my home gym, although I’ll be dreaming of being elsewhere. January will be my 3-month post surgery mark and April 6 months. I’ve been forewarned that patience is the key to achieving the desired outcome, which to me means full function of my knee.
Disclosure: Amazon affiliate links may be included which provide me a tiny kickback to help pay for this site.