Politics and viruses and murder hornets, oh my! 2020, you were a lot.
We know that 2020 was tough on a lot of people in ways we can't fully see or understand - it's something we think about every day.
We skirted through the year unscathed. There were times when we wondered where we would be able to get water for our rig. Visitor centers were closed. But other than a few annoyances, we were able to continue traveling and things stayed relatively normal.
Of course we all saw the stores being wiped clean of food. And cleaning supplies. And toilet paper. (you can't see it, but I just rolled my eyes!)
Now that 2020 is behind us, let's take a quick look back at some of our favorite stops of the year.
Valley of Fire State Park (Nevada)
This was one of our first stops as the pandemic began. We headed into Nevada with the hopes of finding a place to start really honing our Physicial Distancing skills! We found a place in Crystal, NV to duck away and boondocked just outside of Valley of Fire.
And it's where we saw Big Horned Sheep for the first time! (they had been on my "I need to see this one day" list since we launched in June of 2019!
It was such a neat place to visit and there were hardly any people there which is always a bonus!
Snoquera Falls (Washington)
Holy moly! This was amazing! Just outside of Mt Rainier National Park. 4-mile (round trip) hike to the base of a 400+ foot waterfall. There were only 3 other people on the trail when we went!
Olympic National Park (Washington)
Y'all! I had been looking forward to getting into the Pacific NW forever! And it did not disappoint!
We got our first look at Canada across the Salish Sea from Dungeness Recreation Area. We visited Hurricane Ridge.
And then we headed to the coast! (squeee!!)
We got our feet wet in the Pacific Ocean while visiting Ruby Beach. We went out early one morning at low tide and saw our first tide pools! Oh my word! It was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced! (My dream job as a kid was to be a marine biologist so that could help explain my "geek out" level) I made it my goal to get out during as many low tides as possible to soak in alllll the tide pools we could! (there are tons of websites and apps to show tides for the month so you can plan accordingly).
We were about 5 months into the pandemic at this point and people were getting more relaxed. The beaches and trails were full but you could maintain a decent distance from people if you tried.
Glacier National Park (Montana)
This place is breath-taking! Going to the Sun road is a must! We drove it 3 times in 4 days. With the weather always changing and light shifting throughout the day, the view seems to be different every time.
We saw a momma bear and her babies right off the side of the road eating berries. And we saw grown adults stop traffic to get out of their vehicles and approach the bears to take pictures. ::doh:: (note - we are in our vehicle, slowly moving forward so as not to block traffic, while getting this picture!)
We also made a trip to Polebridge Mercantile in the middle of nowhere for their famous huckleberry bear claws! Look 'em up, check 'em out, it's worth the trip!
Okay, so this one is a little different for us. We usually avoid crowded places (even without a pandemic!) but Gatlinburg is something special!
Yes, it is incredibly touristy. Lots of big, flashy, expensive things to do. We hit up a few (coughcough 10 or so!) of their wineries, cideries, and distilleries. They get ya with their free - or very cheap- tastings!
There were so.many.people! Mostly everyone was wearing a mask but there was almost zero possibility of keeping any kind of "safe" distance from other people.
So we strolled and took in the sites. Found a quirky Salt & Pepper Shaker museum. And rode a mountain coaster (there was only one other family there when we went).