This is the latest from my Unprocessed Sunday series, posted a day late and covering a favorite locale, Mission Trails Regional Park.
I just finished Spring Break with my daughter, one that I wasn’t expecting to become 9 days of sitting at home. But COVID-19 and the new era of social distancing is our overlord.
All weekend, I heard that people were taking the State’s exception for outdoor exercise way too far. Photos of thousands of people at the beach were shocking, but honestly, not too surprising. Friends were texting me that the parking areas at Mt. Woodson and Iron Mountain were full. The type of traffic one would see on a normal, non-pandemic weekend. As always, we can’t have nice things, and further closures were inevitable. Italy had to ban their own outdoor exercise exemption when people immediately abused the heck out of it.
Still, I had some hope left after I arrived home from dropping my daughter off on Sunday (2 hours earlier than normal!). The Mast Blvd. equestrian entrance to Mission Trails Regional Park was still open. And I was officially working from home starting today, so at 3:30 PM, all I needed were hiking shoes and a 5 minute drive. That would be fantastic.
The luck, not surprising, ran out. I decided that I really wanted to hike along the Shepherd Canyon area on the West side of the park. I hit the trailheads at Seda Drive and Corte Playa Catalina. It would have been a great hike with beautiful clouds, lots of gorgeous green chaparral, and a great evening (not to mention, that damn power line running through the middle).
Mission Trails Regional Park Trails – Closed Closed Closed
Alas, the trailheads were closed. Coming home, the Mast Blvd. gate was also locked up. Obviously, what transpired over the weekend led the local park management to reconsider their light closing. It’s a shame, but I don’t blame them, and they are doing the right thing.
So, to scratch that itch, I processed some random images tonight. None of these have previously been added to my website. Some are decent, some are documentary, but all have an important place for me.
When things open back up remains to be seen. I suspect it’s going to be months and months. Life really does have to shut down. My own Photo Club is going virtual for probably the next 18 months, because our membership skews elderly, and they need to be protected. So many people are being cavalier about the pandemic, and the spread will continue unabated until they are finally squirreled away in their homes.
The Introverts Will Inherit The Earth
I must say. The pandemic is awful, but I sure enjoy a quieter world. Even deprived of my hiking, I nearly finished up reading a book on my Kindle, with just a few birds in the background. The peace and quiet was beautiful.
After spending so much of my life being told something was wrong with me (the classic condescension that introverts receive from the extrovert masses), I love this social distance.
The introvert in me feels so much more energized and alive. I pray for the eventual millions of people worldwide affected by the coronavirus (and its more than possible I join that list), but the world feels so much more alive when I can escape the noise of homo sapiens.
I hope you enjoy these images from Mission Trails Regional Park and I hope to process more soon, perhaps on a Sunday!
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.