Pacific Northwest, staying home

Fresh air, sun, mountains — and masks

When we pulled up to the trail head, there were only two other cars. Not bad. We purposely took a day off mid-week in an attempt to avoid crowds on our hike. We also didn’t pick a super popular hike to begin with.

As we were getting situated and out of the car, another car pulled into the trail head.

“Hurry!” I shout-whispered to Bryce. I didn’t want us to be starting the hike at the exact same time as this new comer.

It was a beautiful day to be outdoors. I’d like to say I had forgotten we were in the middle of a pandemic on this Wednesday before Memorial Day.

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But, as soon as we caught up to a pair of hikers, my guard went up. We quickly covered our faces with our cloth buffs we had around our necks at the ready. The two hikers had already stopped to the side of the trail (prior to us getting close) to take photos of Mt. Rainier off in the distance so there was plenty of room for us to pass. Luckily, the beginning of this trail is on an old forest road so there was plenty of space! Just to be sure they heard our footsteps approaching, we kindly said “hello.” They replied back and we carried on.

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Yellow Hill Trail had succumbed to a fire three years ago but with trees branchless and charred black, you would have thought the fire was more recent.

We saw a young deer grazing in an open area. I was kind of surprised that it didn’t run away upon seeing us. But, glad to know we weren’t being too disruptive!

At the top, there was some snow and we were rewarded with great mountain views on a sunny and clear afternoon.

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The oddest thing to me was that two other hikers came to the top while we were still there — the area is spread out so we were no where near them — and these two strangers decided to sit together and eat lunch. (These were different hikers from the pair we passed on the trail earlier). They even continued hiking together without any face coverings or masks! If I had witnessed this pre-Covid, it may have come across as unexpected, but we are in the middle of a pandemic!

Have you gotten out for any summer hiking or outdoor activities? Other than hiking, I’m not sure what else there is … I suppose fishing or water activities like boating but I am neither a fisherwoman nor own a boat.

So, hiking it is. I love hiking in general and appreciate it even more with everything going on right now.

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