Trailspace Social Distancing

9:45 a.m. on March 23, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
4,360 reviewer rep
1,607 forum posts

For those not under shelter-in-place or other guidelines, thought it would be good to start a thread...
20200322_095716.jpgA wander through the woods of a local wilderness this weekend avoiding popular trails - stayed local and traveled directly from home to trailhead and back with no stops. No big views (that's where I thought a lot of folks would end up so avoided) but enjoyed the wildlife and forest sounds for a peaceful couple of days.

10:15 a.m. on March 23, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
73 reviewer rep
4,108 forum posts

The Great Outdoors are still open. 

12:54 p.m. on March 23, 2020 (EDT)
BigRed
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
6,632 reviewer rep
1,205 forum posts

Approaching the summit of Dronningkrona (the queen's crown) on Saturday.

GRS05843.jpgMy daughter, son in law and I made camp at the base after we got down and did another summit on Wednesday. Saw a few other skiers but no close contact.

Yep, the outdoors are still open.

1:29 p.m. on March 23, 2020 (EDT)
LoneStranger
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
10,075 reviewer rep
1,625 forum posts


DSC05323.jpg
Bondcliff. If you look closely you can see my black TS beanie poking out from under my hood.

Drove to trailhead separately and camped in individual shelters. Worst part was no cheeseburger on the way home.

1:36 p.m. on March 23, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
4,360 reviewer rep
1,607 forum posts

For some...my son in Madrid is not allowed to go to the park never mind discretionary travel.  But they have it a lot worse than us with a lot of people on top of each other.  Thank goodness for wide open spaces!

2:11 p.m. on March 23, 2020 (EDT)
Patman
REVIEW CORPS
3,278 reviewer rep
2,311 forum posts


20200321_182233.jpgWaiting for sunset from Rocky Top (Thunderhead MTN) / Smokies


Cool Phil. I made the wrong choice over the weekend.

I wanted to get some miles in so I planned an on-trail trip in the Smokies (about 25 miles as an overnight). I parked at the West Prong trail head in Treemont, did the 2-mile road walk to the Middle Prong Trail, looped up over the Appalachian Trail and back down Bote Mountain.

Even though it was raining Saturday morning, I still passed maybe 12 people going up Middle Prong (which is really a wide gravel road for the first few miles), so easy enough to avoid people. I was passed by a older man and younger woman trail-running. I caught up to them at the Greenbriar Ridge junction and the man was coughing profusely. I gave him as wide a berth as I could and busted past them. 

Once I reached the AT and started south, I counted some 14 north bounders and most appeared to have thru-hiker tags on their packs. I stopped and moved off-trail for all to pass and only had a conversation with one older-than-me woman who was near exhaustion and had questions about water and finding a place to camp. I gave the needed info, and told her how weird life was out in the world right now, and she said she was going to try and get off the trail in Gatlinburg. I was thinking "good luck hitching a ride right now" but didn't say it out loud. (It's a dangerous 15 mile road walk from Newfound Gap to Gatlinburg).

On the way down Bote Mountain, I passed a group of maybe 15 boy scouts!?  That was my last on-trail trip for a while I guess. It's off-trail or nothing for me now.

But honestly, all I could think about was how weird things are now. My wife went on FMLA to avoid exposure (so no income there for a while), my employers sales are down 80% all of a sudden, I'm down over 35% total in my retirement and (more painfully than the 401K) my discretionary investments. And I was issued an order to NOT work from home. Hard to get away from all this even on the mountain.

3:14 p.m. on March 23, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
4,360 reviewer rep
1,607 forum posts

Yeah it's a crazy time...I haven't looked at my 401K and don't plan to until the end of the year...but I am not too close to retirement yet.

My weekend plans adapted...knew I wanted to be local but needed the AT to access the wilderness.  I met a guy at the trailhead waiting for a batch of thru-hikers to feed them so I immediately diverted onto little used trails and some good off trail ramblings (cut my mileage down a bit and changed my destination from an outcrop I wanted to visit).  Invested some time exploring some corners for campsites and water sources to bank on in the future...
20200321_135951.jpgSpots like this seep/spring are difficult to see off trail in the summer, and although I am not sure this one would run in the dry season, I'll be sure to check it since I found a pretty little potentially shaded campsite near it about a mile off trail.

8:43 a.m. on March 24, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
4,360 reviewer rep
1,607 forum posts

Patrick...so sipping coffee and reading back through your post, I find you passed at least 41 folks on the trail last weekend. That's more than I think I have passed this year...I can see why you want to stay off trail on upcoming trips. Hope the spring vegetation growth doesn't make that too difficult but I know you are used to it. 

1:24 p.m. on March 24, 2020 (EDT)
Patman
REVIEW CORPS
3,278 reviewer rep
2,311 forum posts

Yeah it was nuts. Folks were clearly stir-crazy. The Smokies just announced a shut down / closing of all areas; I think they noticed the same thing. I read reports of hundreds of people hiking to Charlies Bunion last weekend. 

https://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm

Luckily for me I have other options; and since I work for a company that is part of critical supply chain, I have a "hall pass" letter to keep in my car should any authority question me for being out and about. I have no compunction about using it if needed to help facilitate a hike. Mental health after all...

Susan and I are planning a short off-trail excursion soon in fact...

11:30 a.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
rambler
70 reviewer rep
243 forum posts
5:28 p.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
schifferj
REVIEW CORPS
1,088 reviewer rep
17 forum posts

I’m seriously considering a multi day trip to Hell’s Canyon as soon as the weather improves a skosh. I make an annual trip down there at this time of year to shake off the rust and typically see no one on the trails. Have no reason to believe it’ll be any different this year. I personally don’t see a problem with having to fill up with gas along the way but I’ve had a lot of shade thrown on me on other forums for my willingness to do so _ typically by people who think nothing of daily hoarding trips to stores in search of stuff they don’t need.

7:06 a.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
4,360 reviewer rep
1,607 forum posts

The problem lies with different shelter-at-home policies, as well as different views of "hiking".  It would be almost impossible to socially distance along the "highways" of the AT, PCT, etc. Patman and I discussed the hygiene of AT shelters (both of us avoid them) well before this pandemic began.  However, a lot of folks on this forum seem to wander in the lonely areas instead of hiking in a line with a bunch of other folks.  That would seem safer in these times than the standard definition of hiking that I am seeing in these orders (greenways, parks etc).  Decisions must be made on a personal level in context with your local orders.

12:36 p.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
Old Guide
447 reviewer rep
443 forum posts

The Virus doesn't move on its own, we move it . When we quit traveling, short or long distances, it dies.

7:21 p.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
balzaccom
0 reviewer rep
746 forum posts

VALLEJO, Calif. — March 26, 2020. USDA Forest Service appreciates the public’s interest in outdoor recreation, particularly in light of current events. The Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service, in response to the recent statewide shelter-in-place order issued by the Governor of California, is joining the cause to aggressively mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by closing developed recreation facilities on our National Forests statewide.

“Developed recreation sites” refers to designated recreational use areas designed to facilitate public use. Information on individual recreation sites and opportunities are available from local National Forests.

Closures of developed recreation facilities are being put in place until at least April 30th in an attempt to avoid groups of people and promote social distancing of staying more than six feet apart.

While designated recreation sites will be closed, the general Forest area including the extensive trail system will remain open and available to the public. Hiking and walking outdoors are widely considered beneficial to maintaining one’s health. It is the intent of USDA Forest Service to maintain trail access to the extent practicable.

Please keep health, safety and the environment in mind when visiting National Forests. Your personal responsibility is critical to ensuring public safety and preventing further restrictions. We ask that you consider whether your personal participation in outdoor recreation at this time would pose an unnecessary risk to others as we all work together to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate your cooperation in keeping our National Forests safe and healthy for everyone’s use.

4:12 a.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
BigRed
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
6,632 reviewer rep
1,205 forum posts

The Powers That Be in Norway are strongly discouraging people from going into the mountains even for day trips, because they don't want to add any rescue/injury situations that add to the crisis.

The touring association huts are nominally closed, but anyone with the universal key can still get in to most of them, so it's honor system. Cohabiting a hut with strangers is obviously a great way to spread the virus, OTOH it's common to have a hut to yourself in more out of the way places.

The govt has forbidden people to stay in their private vacation cabins, unless they are doing it to stay away from a sick family member -- doesn't make sense to me because they might be / probably are carrying the virus asymptomatically. Lots of letters to the editor on that one, because it seems like a great way/place to isolate your family, but I think the hut ban is a good way to keep people from moving around and spreading the virus, and to keep from overloading local health and emergency services. Some of the small towns that have far more huts than permanent residences are trying to make their own rules.

So Norway's tradition Easter week break -- next week -- when a lot of people head for Spain and the Canary islands etc. for some sun, as well as the mountains and coast, is now an extreme staycation. With schools closed as well, the local xc trails are uncommonly busy, every day. Fortunately, snow conditions are holding up despite some thaw days. We're getting some fresh today and tomorrow.

The near-ban on day trips is a bitter pill, but if people stay in line for a few weeks so the thing starts to taper (hopeful/wishful thinking, I know) maybe we can still have some kind of a spring ski season in the mountains

10:18 a.m. on March 28, 2020 (EDT)
FlipNC
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
4,360 reviewer rep
1,607 forum posts

I think we are all saying mostly the same thing from different angles.  I'm staying home through this as I have to travel enough for field work on what classifies as "Essential Business" for government projects during the week...for those projects I will be LNT camping in dispersed areas and carrying my own food or getting take-out to support a local restaurant, all in compliance with State and Local orders.  I feel that's safer than staying in a hotel. 

Since outdoor activity is allowed here under the shelter-at-home order, and National Forest trails are open, I am not going to comment or disparage someone who lives close to one of these areas and decides to go there without stopping in towns and hike/camp in a little used area, vs concentrating all outdoor pursuits in a park or on a greenway...I passed one of those areas yesterday coming back from a project and it was too busy for my comfort. 

For myself, while I could get to a wilderness area in about an hour, I have a stock of gardening supplies in the shed and will be starting my tomato and pepper seeds this weekend in hopes of a bountiful summer harvest.  Then lots of garden and compost pile prep over the next few weekends...stay safe everyone.

3:04 p.m. on April 11, 2020 (EDT)
ghostdog
0 reviewer rep
308 forum posts

With all the out of work, social distancing issues we have been doing more charity work donating to our local food bank. Easy to do online. 

11:07 a.m. on April 12, 2020 (EDT)
balzaccom
0 reviewer rep
746 forum posts

In more urban environments, people are still walking more--and the city of Oakland is closing 10% of its streets to traffic to allow more pedestrians...

https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/04/10/coronavirus-oakland-banishes-cars-from-74-miles-of-city-streets/

May 25, 2020
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply