I’ve learned a great many things from my years of long hikes and cycle tours, but perhaps one of the most important is to roll with the punches. You can make all the plans you want, but if you aren’t able to adapt to what the environment, other people, and your own body throw at you, you won’t get far and you will be miserable.
So this year has been all about rolling with the punches.
Spring started on a high note in early March as most of the snow had melted off my favorite nearby low elevation trail (along Pilot Bay). I got in a few hikes there over the next couple of weeks and also spent a wonderful day hiking through the Creston wetlands. But then, as the seriousness of Covid-19 became known and all BC provincial parks and trails closed down, I was left scrambling to find places to hike. So I started exploring up the various secondary and tertiary logging roads close to my little community.
It did however become quickly apparent that my larger travel plans – to hike Newfoundland’s East Coast Trail and all or part of the T’railway, to explore other parts of Newfoundland and elsewhere in the Atlantic provinces, to visit my brother in Ontario and hopefully hike the Ganaraska trail and the northern half of the Bruce trail, and to spend the Canadian winter months in New Zealand – these plans were no longer feasible or something I felt I could responsibly undertake.
So, foreseeing a summer of staying close to home, I planted a garden. Not exactly an original act, but one that certainly made sense at a time when food security was anything but certain. (As did signing up for bi-weekly deliveries from a local organic farm to supplement whatever my small garden might produce.) Despite minimal effort on my part (other than the initial digging and soil preparation), my garden proved surprisingly productive. And watching it grow made me happy.
Even though BC Parks opened up the Berg Lake trail just before my reserved dates in late June, I chose not to do the Mt. Robson backpack this year. Instead I concentrated on exploring more locally, getting my alpine fix along Ripple Ridge and Top of the World Park (my only backpacking trip of the summer), taking several shorter road/van camping/hiking trips, and enjoying the trails around my village. I also acquired a folding bike. I didn’t end up using it much, but still, it’s a great thing to have along in my van travels (and much easier to stow than my full sized bike, especially when the van is rigged out for camping).
Unfortunately during a late September trip – another foray into the Creston wetlands, this time for three days of hiking – my van started acting up. What I hoped was a minor problem, ended up being a major one that would have cost more to fix than I paid for the van 4 years ago. So I’m sad to say that the Silver Pig has been retired to the scrap yard. I did however manage to find a replacement quite quickly. At 7 years old, my new minivan is the newest vehicle I have ever owned and hopefully will last a good long while.
As fall moves into winter, I continue my local rambles, mostly along familiar paths. Even along these oft trod paths there are always new discoveries.
I’m holding out hope that I will be heading out on a long adventure beginning next spring, though I will keep it closer to home and leave my east coast travels for another year. But even so, with so much uncertainty around Covid-19, I am taking it one day at a time and keeping my plans very tentative.
However things shape up, I am extremely grateful to live where I do, to have the privilege of secure housing in a beautiful and relatively unpopulated corner of the world, and the leisure time to enjoy it.