To Hike or Not to Hike?

To Hike or Not to Hike?

Important Questions of Self Quarantine

Have you tired of wearing your pajamas to work yet? Have you scared yourself by looking in the mirror at your ungroomed self one too many times? Are you thinking the walls of your house sure could use a good cleaning and you sure wish somebody else would come over and do it? No? Just me? Well okay. Maybe it is just me and I am also asking myself tons of other questions in between working at home, cooking a ton of food I don’t need to be eating and binge watching Netflix.

In my house we are self quarantined as much as we possibly can be. We have both ends of the spectrum. On one end, we have the Sheriff. He can’t totally self quarantine. He apparently is essential and has a lot of responsibilities that he didn’t even know he’d ever have during times of a pandemic. On the other end, we have the Smartest Boy in the World who just before all this started, kicked Hodgkins Lymphoma to the curb with the help of some potentially lung damaging chemo and radiation. He has to stay home. So we are maintaining social distancing. We are downing vitamin C. We are washing hands. We are praying for an end, praying for a treatment and praying for a vaccine.

The lot of the bunch in my house is making fun of me as I am the social distancing sergeant. I feel like I’m constantly having thoughts like “I don’t know where you’ve been” or “please don’t touch me” and am constantly on edge about “was that a cough?” Sometimes, they aren’t just thoughts but words that actually come out of my mouth. Its a scary time for all of us just not knowing what’s up or what’s going to happen.

What some of us have found is that we have some free time to embark on our favorite activities. We also know that the outside (outside as in nature) germs are not the germs we need to be concerned with. We know the sunshine, grass and dirt are good for us right now. So what do we do with all that? Go on a hike of course! Right? Well under normal circumstances, I would say YES! I’d say lace up your boots, grab your pack, hit the trail and get a sticker when its over. But over the past few weeks, we have seen what is happening when everybody has those same thoughts all at the same time. We are all back together again.

Now I am really hoping that being together outside is much better for our current pandemic status than being in stores, in schools and restaurants. But I can’t bank on that. I wouldn’t want gamble anyone’s at risk status on just my wish and hope.

Getting out of the house is necessary. I don’t think its humanly possible to totally stay home. I mean you just cannot do it. It’s not good for you mentally, spiritually or physically. Fresh air is a necessity. Dirt on your hands and feet is healing. I said dirt, not germs. There are ways to get outside without exposing yourself.

There are also ways to get outside and expose yourself and everybody you come into contact with to germy viruses, flu and a multitude of many other icky blobs of sickness. Ways to do that is to ignore the recommendations of leaders, business owners, bosses and loved ones. Ignoring the rules of those essential businesses who are staying open is a way to start all kinds of problems. We recently visited a local restaurant that is trying to limit themselves to 10 customers at a time for take out only. They have turned their tables over, roped off their seating areas and posted notices all over the places. Customers ignored their recommendations and sat on their tailgates, congregated near their windows, and some even sat down just on the outside of their ropes. What will happen if we all ignore this business and their owner’s request? They’ll close. Its as simple as that. They are trying to follow the rules, trying to think of their employees and of their customers. If we ignore them, they’ll have no choice but to shut the doors. We have also seen photos posted on social media of overcrowded hiking trails, crowds of tourists all at the same locations, and people deciding to become hikers for the first time in their lives.

So am I saying we aren’t hiking? No, I’m not. We have been out and about a few times. We are sticking to trails close by. We are sticking to trails we know that are open. We are going at times when we are thinking lots of people aren’t there. We are avoiding weekends. We are listening to park rangers, park website. We are sticking to places we know. We are following the rules. We are not picking this time to choose a brand new challenging trail that we have never been to. While its great to have this time to try new things like that, its not the time to do things like that.

I, personally, don’t want our leaders to have to tell us to stay home. Others think that is the answer and it may come to that. I don’t want that. I can stay home, keep my family home, choose my times and places that I visit wisely.

So to hike or not to hike?

Yes do go on a hike but follow some basic guidelines:

  1. Hike near home. I know not everybody has unlimited acreage to jump onto but almost everybody has neighborhood, a trail, an open park, or even a back road near you where you can get outside. If you have absolutely no where to walk, walk up and down your own porch stairs or around your own building.
  2. Hike where you know. We know our trail close to home is open. We know the ins and outs of the trail. We know how big it is and if we can safely distance ourselves from others if needed.
  3. Hike by the rules. Call your local park or park ranger. CALL, I said call not GO, to check it out. Check out their website. But do all of this before you go. Don’t get there and be disappointed that its closed or roped off. By no means, cross barricades or closed off areas. There may be more than one reason its closed. Also don’t be exposing my favorite park ranger, Ranger Roberts to any icky globbiness of sicknesses. She is essential.
  4. Hike at slower times. Hey you know that Monday motivation that you will want to hashtag in the coming weeks? Go hiking then. I think you may find some very empty trails on a Monday at 8 am. Solitude at its finest. Hike early mornings or during the week when trails are not so busy. You’ve got the extra time now, remember?
  5. Worst case scenario. Skip it for now. Lets make sure there will be time for this later by not getting sick. Let’s embrace all those inspirational quotes on the stickers on our Nalgene bottles. Keep the peace, radiate positivity, be kind and be the change!

We really are praying a lot, eating a lot and enjoying our time as a family during this crazy time in our world. We hope you are staying safe and sound in all physical, mental and spiritual ways. If you are struggling, reach out to someone. Even though we are separated, no one has to go this road alone.

the whiny hiker

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