And then the pandemic happened

Majestic trees covered in moss with a blue sky reaching for the skies


A girlfriend and I promised each other to take the 52 weekend challenge: hiking one day a week.

We started September 2020, when we decided to become members of each other’s pods.

At the time of the pandemic’s constantly developing scientific insights, people were beginning to form and create pods.

Pods consisted of a maximum group of 10 to 15 people, who gathered indoors, usually without a mask, in their houses to spend the missed times of social hanging together.

We thought, hopefully, that if we limited the numbers of interactions, we wouldn’t infect one another and other (sometimes more susceptible) folks in our networks and families.

Because she lived in Washington State, and I in Oregon, we had to travel part of the way to get to our hike the two of us together in her truck.

A very small pod, therefore.

Little did I know at that time, that this would be the start of one of my most wonderful years, leading to more self-discovery and inner knowledge.

If someone had told me before 2020 that I would thoroughly come to enjoy hard winds beating in my face, persistent rain finding cracks in my expensive raincoat that I didn’t know existed, the icy and snow colds that penetrate your hair and help to numb your ears with a wondrous longing, including incessant pain in my upper legs from climbing, and climbing, and climbing — naw, no way, I wouldn’t have believed it.

But I had not hiked much anywhere in my life.

Oregon and Washington are The Places to Visit if that’s your thing.

Now that I know that the giant trees are real, that waterfalls do take your breath away, that the half an hour view of a mountain range replenishes my being, that the elfin landscape of hobbit land does exist, I breathe better.

I think better.

And I have hope.

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