May has gone by in a flash and as I hear others complain about how slow time is going by during Covid, I personally find it hard to believe it is already time to sit down and write another Changing Seasons post.
Our state is in a phased reopening and more places are open and available to us to visit this month than last month, but in reality the opening of stores and restaurants has not really changed things for us. We are not big shoppers or ones to go out to eat and for the essential items we do need, we are opting to continue to use the curbside pick up services.
Early in the month one of the first things to open were parks and outdoor spaces. At first I was excited about having access to the trails and nature preserves that had been closed, but then I realized everyone else was excited about the exact same thing. Our local and state parks have seen unprecedented numbers and on weekends are filling to capacity. Cars are waiting in lines for hours only to get to the entrance gates and be turned away due to full parking lots and too many visitors.
A couple of weeks ago, a hiker had a slip and fall on the trail which turned fatal for him when emergency vehicles were unable to get access to the park due to the long line of cars and people blocking access to the trail head.
For me, I head into Nature as an escape, seeking solitude and peace. A chance to be away from people. This is a bit hard to achieve when the entire state of North Carolina is out there trying to do the same thing. In spite of the over-crowded parks, however, I have been able to spend a lot of time outdoors this month and still enjoy the quiet. It has just taken some creativity on my part. I rise early, head out late in the evening or get creative with my work schedule to hit the trails mid-week, these are the times when less people are able to get away and the kids are still “in school”.
One Wednesday morning that I was off of work, a friend sneaked out of her office and we enjoyed a trail ride together.
Hubby and I spent an early morning exploring the UNCC Botanic Gardens. It was a lovely time for a visit as much was in bloom.
We also ventured out to a new (to us) wildlife refuge. A 5 mile drive or hike around a swampy protected area. We did not see much wildlife that day and I wasn’t too happy with my pictures but it is a place I look forward to returning to and doing a bit more exploring.
A friend and co-worker got a new puppy this month. With restrictions lifted enough, allowing us to see people outside of our household we were excited to go meet the little guy. We spent a very enjoyable evening on her back deck sipping sangria and eating pizza. The new member of the family is adorable and quite the contrast to his much larger older brother.
I think my favorite part of the month was hubby and I getting the kayaks into the water for the first time this season. We had foolishly tried to go on a Saturday morning but as we got close to the launch and realized the line of cars we were stuck in to access it, we decided to go back home and come back at a less crowded time of day. Later that evening we drove back over for a sunset paddle. With few cars in the lot this time and no wait times to get close to the launch we had the perfect twilight trip. Calm waters, rich in wildlife and perfect lighting it was one of the most fun adventures we had all month.