Looking Back: September

Oh September, you devil you. Normally you are one of my favorite months, one full of vacations and adventures and great weather and friends. This year, you are not at the top of my list. September was a rough month for California. It was one of many wildfires; I read somewhere that there was a fire in almost every county (we have 59 of them). Also, on September 28th, this website posted the following information: "Since the beginning of 2020, over 3.7 million acres in California have burned from over 8,100 wildfires." According to Google, California is about 104 acres in size. Three and a half percent of the state has burned, and two places close to my heart (near my parents and near my brother) have gone up in smoke. 

As I type this, one of the biggest fires, the August complex, which is nearly one million acres in size (roughly the size of Switzerland), is still only 47% contained (according to CalFire). The one near my parents (the North Complex) is 78% contained and the one near my brother (the Glass fire) is only 5% contained. It is hard to find words sometimes. 

My Mom took this photo from her front yard.

But life goes on, doesn't it. While the state burns, we all still have to go to work each day, go out and find goodness in the world, go to Costco, etc. So, as always, here is what I did to "go about my day" in September. 

Running: As this is the way I keep sane, I had to try to do this as much as possible. I ended up running about 260 miles in September, including a couple of hiking trips. I have been running less days per week but more miles per day in an effort to still "quarantine" a little bit (less time out in the community) but to still stay healthy and have a little fun. 

Reading: This was an okay reading month for me. I only read one physical book; the rest were audiobooks. This was due to the fact that I did a hiking trip and instead of reading at night, I studied. Then when I was at home, I also studied and when not studying, tried to plan a couple of trips, which I will talk about in a few, so did not really read my book as much. My favorites this month were Wunderland and Shortest Way Home, although none of the books I read really wowed me. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood. 

Travel: The beginning of September was supposed to be spent in Belgium, Holland and surrounds, but as that did not pan out, a road trip to Oregon to stay with my friends up there was plan B. I usually do this every July, but this year things were a little different! I finally circumnavigated the Three Sisters, which I had been wanting to do for years but it was always too snowy in July. This year it was a record breaking heat year and was in the high 90s. Talk about a 180! 

After that was a visit to Mt. Rainier to hike parts of the Wonderland trail. Luckily the hiking days were smoke free, but on the drive from Oregon to Washington and then again from Washington back to California, the smoke was fierce and the AQI was over 600 at times (for those of you not familiar with AQI, a normal good air quality is under 50 and a so-so quality is under 100 and above 300 is, "Health warning of emergency conditions: everyone is more likely to be affected" according to AirNow.gov.) Definitely the view of the Oregon coast was not what it normally is (aka there wasn't one)! 

Mt. Rainier as seen from the west side. 

As I mentioned above, I also tried to plan a couple of trips. I had the week of September 21st off, and had a permit and plan to go and hike part of the John Muir Trail. However, at the beginning of the month, the National Parks were all closed due to the fires and on September 4th, a fire broke out near where I would be hiking, and is also now one of the largest ones in the state. My permit got canceled and so I also canceled my trip. This year has definitely been one of much flexibility and patience. 

Misc.: What else? The garden is now going over into winter mode; there are a few more straggler tomatoes and peppers and a few figs, but otherwise, its nearly bare. I am studying a lot, but am still not sure if my exam will get canceled (it is scheduled for December 5th). I am trying some new protein ball recipes for hiking trips, even though I am not sure when they will be. 

How was your September? What do you do when plans get changed? 


  1. 2020 just keeps punching us down, doesn't it? The fires in CA are so awful. I can't even imagine. We don't have wildfires here, in general, so I can't imagine what you guys are going through. I am glad your parents are safe - I think they evacuated or were on call to evacuate? Abby and Ryan evacuated earlier this summer - they weren't really in the worst area, but it was close enough that they decided to go to the rental house they were painting that weekend to get a break from the smoke. It's just been a literal dumpster fire of a year.

    I am not great at rolling with the punches. I am such a planner, like you are, and am not very flexible. I haven't been all that impacted by covid, though, as we weren't really planning any travel this year w/ the baby coming in August. Pre-covid, we had talked about going to a resort on the north shore of lake superior in August for Phil's bday. It would have been our first time together away from Paul - we've both been away for 1-3 nights for work travel, but never together. But with covid, we opted not to do that because I hadn't seen my parents since Feb so we needed to see them instead of ditching our child and going away. ;) So now our first kidfree trip is probably... 2+ years away?? We'll see. I sure am glad we took that babymoon to Ashville in october of 2017!

    My September was pretty good, though. The weather cooled off here for the most part and the humidity dropped so it was much more pleasant. I was outside way more than I was in July/August which is always good for my soul/mental health!! And I had lots of social plans which filled up my cup!!

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