I wrote my last post in late April about the January trip to Costa Rica. It is now the end of a long pandemic year and Covid still dominates our lives. I am binge watching Outlander (57 episodes), knitting and mostly staying home. It has definitely been a weird period and we have all had to reach further into ourselves and figure out how to manage it. Time sometimes feels suspended with long days to fill and other times I wake up thinking “where did the last month go?”.
Extra time opened up in the void created by not seeing friends and family. I had to cancel a May trip to the Czech Republic and really missed seeing everyone. Zoom celebrations and Facetiming and more phone calls became the norm for connecting. Watching the news became a thing. Cycling, hiking, gardening, outdoor coffees and happy hours (on the deck) and the Willoughby Farmer’s Market were much more appreciated. I am lucky to have a number of interests and projects going and staying busy is never a problem.
By June, I realized that being grateful for staying healthy and focusing (when I could, which sometimes was took real effort) on helping others and the little good things in life was the key to staying positive. It also helped to not be consumed by covid and political news, which also wasn’t easy. Plus summer brought the reopening of the YMCA pool, some outdoor in-person gatherings and a trips to Mason and Ohiopyle, PA as welcome changes to too much alone time.
In August, life became full again. For Nate an Rachel’s wedding in late August, I built a bridal arch for the mostly outdoor ceremony. It was a stretch for me, but it worked. We camped at Punderson with Dave’s siblings for the long wedding weekend. It was the inaugural trip for the new Rpod camper. It all felt close to normal.
We really broke the camper in when we left August 29 for Wyoming and camped 35 nights in it. It was the perfect self-contained travel experience. Kitchen? Bathroom? Comfortable bed? I was besotted. We quickly figured out what we were doing, fell into our roles and managed not to bump into each other too often. We were able to stay away from people and still enjoyed new places and two breweries. The Black Hills and Custer State Park were a trip highlight. For a week we mostly drove off the interstate through Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming to Jackson.
We enjoyed the Grand Tetons and camped with our friends Bill and Slick. Bill recruited a new Forest Service volunteer for a day. While we were there, it snowed. I was extremely thankful for the amenities of the Rpod. We also reconnected with Molly, who was part of our 2018 Grand Canyon 21 day river trip crew. She lives in Jackson and made a surprise appearance later in the trip at another campground.
Next we headed to Boise, Idaho to prep for an eight day raft trip on the Salmon River. There we were able to catch up with Boise friends. Plan B was quickly created when wildfire smoke created poor air quality for the Salmon river area. Plan B meant packing for a river trip and returning to the Jackson area. With Slick, Bruce and Eric we base camped, did day outings and floated the Snake River. The fishing and fall colors were big attractors. Our friend Joan from Ohio joined us for a few days on her way home. While I missed the river trip, I was really happy with our campground and the area. Granite Creek campground is 9 miles up a dirt road along Granite Creek, after a 10 mile drive through Hobart Canyon along the Hobart River. It was a short hike to a waterfall and short drive to a hot springs spa built by the WPA. The funny part was that we occupied the “Camp Host” sites and people assumed that’s who we were. So after offering disclaimers, we enjoyed playing camp hosts and talked with many fellow campers.
After returning home, we got one more camping weekend in with Dave’s sisters at Pymatuning. In October and November, I always spend many hours with garden and leaf clean-up. Cookie baking dominates December. Two big snowfalls provided cross country skiing opportunities. Christmas was stay-at-home with zooming. The plan is to leave for Costa Rica and more outdoor living in January. Pura Vida 2021.