Yesterday morning (September 1, 2021) Hannah and I were preparing for our Saturday departure to LAX for two weeks of friends and hiking in California. I’d just set up pickleball with our Santa Barbara friends, Bill and Claudia, while the confirmation of our Air B&B lodging in Mariposa, at the gateway to Yosemite National Park, had arrived.
Yesterday afternoon everything changed. The straws of not traveling to California became too many. (Sort of straw vote!) The Delta Variant of Covid and the wildfires outweighed the excitement of our Golden State fortnight adventure.
Straw One, so much had changed since I made our Delta Airlines reservations in March of 2021. The vaccine was readily available and returning to our active lives, sooner than later, seemed like a given. First the Delta Variant, and then the wildfires.
Straw Two, Tuesday we learned that all national forests were to be closed in California so that meant hiking into the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara was out.
Straw Three, already the Caldor Fire blocked our drive from Yosemite to South Lake Tahoe; ten thousand people have been evacuated from the area.
Straw Four, with the wildfires still out of control, we were looking at the possibility of Yosemite closing, having to hike with masks, and breathing intolerable smoke.
Straw Five, the realization that getting to the McArthur Burney Falls in northern California may be impossible and if we did, we’d likely see a trickle of water due to the historic twenty year drought in the West.
Straw Six, vaccinated folks like us are getting Covid, which was an unknown development this past March.
There was just too much hanging over our heads to make it the 75th birthday national parks vacation that I was hoping for. True, I’m just 73, but you get the point. Covid has made many of us wanting to travel now before the next pandemic or climate catastrophe. Yes, climate change is real.
So how much money did we lose?
We don’t pay for our 15-day $1276 Enterprise rental car until we actually get the car. Cancelled with no charge.
All the motels we signed up for allow us to cancel until the last day or two. No charge.
The $315 two-night Air B&B in Mariposa for our September 9 and 10 stay had a full refund policy if we cancelled by September 4. No charge.
Delta gave us e-credit for our plane tickets that we can use on another Delta flight if we make reservations by December 31, 2022.
Money was never the issue, the possibility of hiking with masks, breathing nasty wildfire smoke and closed trails were ultimately the key straws that has us postpone our two weeks in California.
California, we are not giving up on you! Winter 2022!