Looking back on 2020

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

– Charles Dickens, “Tale of Two Cities”

The year 2020 had much in common with the period Dickens wrote of. In 2020 the “noisiest authorities” again insisted that our time was superlative; unique from and more important than all others, and thus worthy of the most extreme measures. They didn’t set up guillotines, at least, but from March through June, in the supposed best interest of the public health, the authorities shut down all parks and health and fitness facilities, public and private.

Nevertheless, during 2020 our group still managed to go on 74 hikes for a total of 354 miles; averaging 4.8 miles per hike.

During the first quarter we saw mockingbirds at Fort Ward, checked out the Titanic Memorial in DC,  and visited the National Mall to enjoy the annual cherry blossoms.

During the second quarter, as noted, the authorities pretty much shut down all healthy outdoor activities for health reasons. Nevertheless, during the last few weeks of the quarter we were able to get in a little quality time at Brookside Gardens and along the Old Town Alexandria waterfront.

In Fall things started to reopen a bit, and we spent a lot of time hiking at Carderock, some more time in Old Town, and checked out the Neabsco Boardwalk and Schaeffer Farm.

As the year drew to a close and the presidential elections were in the offing, the authorities once again clamped down on outdoor activities.

In Maryland and the District of Columbia, science dictated that it was safe to hike outdoors with a group of up to 25 people, but indoor dining at all restaurants by even a single person was too risky. Meanwhile, in Virginia, the same science dictated that it was too risky to hike outdoors with more than 10 people, but any number of people eating indoors at a restaurant was just fine.

Don’t ask me to explain the jokes; I just tell ’em.

Anyway, we revisited Conway Forest and Brawner Farm, checked out the Christmas trees on the National Mall, and saw a Christmas kitty in Old Town at night!

Despite the trying times, 2020 was the most wonderful year! I love you Pamela!

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