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The Lost Summer and Fall Reprieve (and Meeting Lucas!)

August–November 2020 After our Gem Lake backpacking trip , we had high hopes for getting out into the wilderness more as sort of escape from the day-to-day realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. But nature, and the reality of climate change, had something else in mind altogether, as the 2020 wildfire season set in almost immediately. Lost Summer Smoky, hazy skies (and poor air quality) became a regular occurrence August–October 2020. We were forced to cancel many camping trips and attempts to go backpacking. We tried to take whatever clear days we got to get out of the house and onto the trails. Fort Ord While closely monitoring the air quality, we were able to sneak in a day trip in September to cruise some of the beginner-friendly bike trails at Fort Ord National Monument, near Monterrey Bay. The Orange Day While we had days with much, much worse surface-level air quality, the "orange sky day" of September 5 was an emotional low point for us (and probably many others in the Ba

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