Backpacking and Long-Distance Hiking in the Age of Covid-19
Mar 28, 2020 at 2:21 pm #3638266Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
New article posted today by Andrew Marshall:
“We need to take a hard look at what it means to be a long-distance backpacker in 2020 – what types of trips should be off the table, what types of trips are still okay, and how to keep yourself sane if you can’t make a backpacking trip work this year.”Mar 28, 2020 at 7:18 pm #3638375James SBPL Member
Thought this was a really appropriate response to the COVID context of today. Frustrating for sure to put off plans, but the responsible thing to do. And it will make it all the sweeter when we can actually get out there in earnest again!Mar 28, 2020 at 7:35 pm #3638379
Well written and thought out article. I guess I’ve been hoping/planning that this may all go away or lessen to a great extent in a couple months and still allow for some longer trips later this summer. And, hopefully for all of us, that will turn out to be the case. Those towns that are scared of travelers now may desperately want them later this summer if things die down with COVID. Tourism is vital to many of these towns. However, I do think that we all need to plan with the very real prospect that pulling the plug on a trip will be the right thing to do.Mar 28, 2020 at 8:29 pm #3638383Anne FlueckigerBPL Member
@anneflukeLocale: Northern Minnesota
Thanks for this thoughtful and spot-on article.Mar 29, 2020 at 1:31 am #3638404marjolein KeuningBPL Member
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Thanks you for your excellent article.</p>
We in the Netherlands have been in quarantine for 2 weeks now and, unlike many neighbouring countries, are allowed outside for exercise and to keep us sane.
Last weekend many people went to the beach and the woods, and since we are many people in a very small country, inevitably there were crowds, even people bootcamping together etc.
Our government pleaded with us to behave more responsibly, and also threatened with large fines and it worked! This weekend we had learned how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and most of the crowds had gone.
Some young people, teens, 17-18 are still having parties in their own homes, or campfires on a beach; they are most at risk because in every situation they don’t want to listen to the older people anyway. Usually this can be annoying but put down to ‘kids will be kids’.
Now of course, they can endanger their loved ones , strangers and themselves. I can only hope those people (of course not only teenagers) won’t spoil it for the rest of us and make the measures even more severe.
Anyway, thanks for the article again, and good luck and stay safe from another continent, but in the same boat..
love marjoleinMar 29, 2020 at 5:47 am #3638424ToddBPL Member
Good article. I like that you called out putting others before our self. I think if we evaluate any plan we have with that mindset, it will help us make good decisions.
Not sure what I think about different household groups going together. Might it be hard to remain vigilant and keep separation? The more time you are together the easier it will become to drop your guard. And is that really relaxing? Not sure.
Could you explain the advice to remain upwind of other household groups when cooking? What about cooking do you see making respiratory droplets a bigger concern? And assuming they are a bigger concern (from whoever is cooking?), shouldn’t they be downwind of others?Mar 29, 2020 at 8:57 am #3638446
Think a good term is postponements until the curve is flattened and those communities adjust to their – hopefully declining – COVID caseload. Think the sign will be lodging and restaurants opening up again for the windshield tourists.
There is going to be an increased tax base issue as retirees (often with tax reductions) cannot cover these communities bills for the most part. Even well-heeled retirement communities in the US (the Villages in Florida .. yeah off the typical thru hiker path) are getting COVID as they rely on younger workers who’ll increasingly become asymptotic carriers.Mar 29, 2020 at 10:18 am #3638451Greg MihalikBPL Member
“…. younger workers who’ll increasingly become asymptotic carriers.”
How does this happen?Mar 29, 2020 at 10:26 am #3638452
How does this happen?
Besides the tourist season that was just cancelled … likely some driving and restauranteering involved, figure most of the delivery drivers, warehouse workers, cashiers, clerks, etc.. still needed to run the distribution systems will catch it. Especially young “invincibles” adhering to the standards but kind of rolling their eyes at the whole thing .. taking shortcuts when no one is looking.
I looked at a virus confirmed cases map last week and could pretty much make out every major roadway by connecting the dots.
Many highly trained docs and nurses during flu season may get the flu (despite being vaccinated … there is a concept of viral load), and this thing seems much more contagious.Mar 29, 2020 at 10:58 am #3638459obx hikerBPL Member
So in light of this: Asymptotic vs Asymptomatic vs Asystematic
Are you intentionally using it in the mathematical sense and how exactly? I’m not filling in the blanks I guess.Mar 29, 2020 at 4:55 pm #3638539Greg MihalikBPL Member
obx – if you are referring to HK’s post I’m guessing he meant asymptomatic – not showing symptoms –
I want to know how young workers increasingly become that way.Mar 30, 2020 at 3:55 pm #3638745Bryan MBPL Member
Thank you for hosting this topic, and providing the guidance from a practical standpoint. Our scout campouts for April and May are cancelled as well as Scout day outings. We hold our Scout meetings with Zoom. That said, we have a June summer camp, which may be cancelled, and a July Alaska Trek, which we are debating changes to or cancellation, and I have a RMNP backpacking week scheduled with 2 friends in August.
My question is that would anyone consider cancelling July and August this early, plan to go as planned, and/or add a plan B and C to it, to mitigate any lessor restrictions/guidelines that are still in effect at that time? For July, we have thought of booking the airfare but only if we have full refund ability. I would assume from the models that by the time we are in late June or early July, our curve should be on the downslope.
We live near Houston. As a plan B or C, we could do local, but a 30 min drive gets us nowhere really, when it comes to a week of backpacking. We need to get to the Texas Hill Country, or further west or northwest into NM in order to get to some BLM land, or cooler temps. Not sure I want to go east to AR, but that is an option, to hit the Smokies. Worst case is a river kayak trip, even though it’s hot, we might get wet to cool off. Thoughts?Mar 30, 2020 at 6:31 pm #3638786Michael P CBPL Member
Thanks for the article, Andrew. It’s not only thru-hikers who have had to shelve their plans. I work with a Sierra Club group that takes kids from low-income schools on camping trips. We’ve had to cancel all of these for the Spring, and I feel sorry for the kids.
One thing you didn’t mention as an alternative is single-day day-hikes, which might be closer than a place where you can set up a base camp. You get outdoors, you can stay away from others, and you get exercise. In fact, if you carry 30-40 lbs, it’s as good as the StairMaster in your now-closed gym. Yes, it’s not nearly as good as camping out, but it’s a lot better than an eternal diet of squats in your living room.Mar 30, 2020 at 7:01 pm #3638794Doug CoeBPL Member
@sierradougLocale: Bay Area, CA, USA
@bkmoss34 Bryan—That’s a tough one. We just don’t know how this is going to play out, week to week and month to month. As you said, don’t get non-refundable tickets!
Having plans B and C sounds smart. Right now, some national parks are closed. Who knows if they’ll be open in June or when.
I heard the head of the AT Conservancy on a podcast recently, and she suggested only taking walks around your neighborhood right now, don’t even drive to a day hike to avoid the chance of burdening any medical or rescue workers.
If you can stay flexible and haven’t put any money down anywhere, then just wait and see whether your trips can go ahead.Apr 21, 2020 at 5:43 pm #3642449Derek M.BPL Member
@dmusasheLocale: Southern California
“Don’t travel in unfamiliar areas; don’t push yourself beyond your comfort zone and skillset, and don’t take risks.”
Not a bad article, but the last part of that sentence is simply asinine. Don’t take risks? What are you even talking about? That’s like saying don’t breathe.
It rubs me the wrong way when people don’t acknowledge that we takes risks with our lives and others’ every single day that we walk this planet, COVID-19 or not. I know the author means to say “don’t take undue risks,” but it’s still annoying to me. Oh well.
Anyway, it will be interesting to see how our thinking about this evolves over the next several months.
March 28th (when this article was published) already feels like a lifetime ago…Apr 21, 2020 at 6:13 pm #3642455jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
Derek…sometimes you have to go with the gist of a statement. We can’t always qualify everything to within an inch of its life. Yes, you could slip on a banana peel getting out of bed and die. Surely you can see that’s not the point?
This is no time to involve hospital staff and search and rescue and other emergency services with rescuing someone who did something asinine in the wilderness, or even just decided to go for it on a class 3.5 pass with no protection. do that next year.Apr 21, 2020 at 6:46 pm #3642458
“This is no time to involve hospital staff and search and rescue and other emergency services with rescuing someone who did something asinine in the wilderness, or even just decided to go for it on a class 3.5 pass with no protection. do that next year.”
Fully understand and agree with this statement. You shouldn’t be out there taking undue risks. I do have a problem with closing backcountry areas for the same reason while designating liquor and marijuana stores as “essential”. Cause we all know they’ve never caused any first responder issues…Apr 21, 2020 at 7:04 pm #3642464jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
Agreed. George. It’s impossible for agencies responsible for making these determinations to get it 100% right. There’s doubtless far more stressed out wine drinkers and pot smokers on these agencies than backpackers. And they need their meds!
My guess is that there’s several hundred reasonable exceptions to the general shutdown rulings in many professions and sports clubs and kayaking circles and all the rest.
We’re finagling the spirit of the law in a time of the letter of the law–because health care workers and others–grocery clerks!–are putting themselves on the line for everybody’s sake.
Maybe later on, good faith acting on the spirit of the law will open things up for backpackers.Apr 21, 2020 at 7:17 pm #3642468
You are correct, and I suspect as time goes by that more reasonable decisions will be made by those in power as to what activities can be safely allowed and which should continue to be restricted. Inevitably the pendulum swings too far in the beginning of a crisis but it will eventually reach an equilibrium where we can balance risk and safety.
I personally believe that this virus is going to be part of our lives for the next 18-24 months and we are all going to have to learn to go about our lives in a semi-normal fashion while simultaneously practicing habits that will keep us as safe as possible. It is the only reasonable outcome until a vaccine is produced – the economy cannot continue to be shut down indefinitely but we also cannot throw caution to the wind and start going to concerts, ballgames, parties, etc.. like we all did before the virus.Apr 22, 2020 at 10:16 am #3642530Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Timely article. I had signed up for an early June backpack trip in central Nevada with a local Sierra Club group. BUT… I’m cancelling B/C I know there will not be testing available for us. I stated in Andrew Skurka’s blog about this topic that I would not go unless we were all tested negative for COVID 19.
So, instead I’m doing my own trip to northern Nevada into either the Ruby Crest Trail or the Jarbidge Wilderness. The Ruby Crest Trail is a one way trip that requires hitchhiking back to the trailhead. I’ll do it but only in the back of a pickup, of which there are many in that area. I’ve been to both areas before and know the territory. The Ruby Crest Trail is spectacular, it’s called “Nevada’s Yosemite”.Apr 22, 2020 at 3:12 pm #3642577John VanceBPL Member
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
+1 on the Ruby Crest. The Ruby range is nice enough to make Elko almost an attractive place to live.Apr 22, 2020 at 3:44 pm #3642586StumphgesBPL Member
Where to buy canister fuel nowadays?Apr 24, 2020 at 1:44 pm #3642905
Outdoor recreation is starting to loosen up in some parts of the US, but mask rules vary. Let’s use California as an example:
In San Bernardino County right now they’ve opened up outdoor recreation including golf and daytime snowsports, but a cloth mask (face covering?) is required outdoors (and assume in businesses) all the times.
If going to the Bay Area a mask is required in businesses and other potentially crowded situations, but not if outdoors where distancing is easy..
All subject to change but a mask goes on the gear lists for now.
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