Yesterday, my city was ordered to “shelter-in-place.” Well, by “my city” I mean the place where my husband and I are staying with family until our jobs exist again. COVID-19 has not treated us well, and I am sure you can relate on some level.
This pandemic has left most wondering what on earth the protocol is for handling indefinite quarantines and uncertain futures with wisdom and sanity. For the outdoor community, the tension between the desire to get outdoors and the potential impacts of adventures is dominating conversations.
While my Instagram feed has been littered with pictures of empty trails and #socialdistancing, other accounts have been discouraging outings. In a section from @pnwoutdoorwomen’s latest post,
“We recognize that getting outside is integral to mental health. But, let’s consider some alternatives to overburdening small communities while we take care of ourselves.”
Is it possible to tackle self-care while also honoring the distance needed to keep others safe?
Continuing the conversation and sharing creative ideas is our best approach to both receiving and offering support within our community. Here are some of the brightest- and quirkiest- ideas for getting active outdoors and staying healthy during quarantine.
1. Visit local parks at off-hours, or just take a walk/run around your neighborhood.
Just getting outside and interacting with the natural world will boost your mood and help your mind stay positive and clear. Remember to stay at least 6 feet away from others, cover your coughs and sneezes, avoid touching anything unnecessary and avoid groups.
Check out this hilarious compilation of at-home, quarantine climbing from Rock and Ice. And if you're inspired get in on the fun and share your quarantraining routine.
Please be responsible… and for something a little less risky, now is prime time to get on the hangboard for some strength training.
3. Discover an Inspiring Outdoor Podcast
When you need an incredible backcountry tale or some tips for your future trips, podcasts are there for you. Not sure where to start? Try one from this list of the 16 Best Adventure Podcasts from The Dyrt.
4. Give Your Outdoor Gear Some TLC.
Do you have gear that needs to be patched? Does your rain shell need another coat of DWR? Or… if you dare… when was the last time you really cleaned your backpack? Putting in some time now will not only help your future, un-quarantined self, but also will keep your gear in-service and out of landfills for longer!
5. Create Something to Honor One of Your Past Trips
My favorite way to try to remember and immortalize hiking and backpacking memories is through watercolor. When I create something based on a past trip, it is sealed in my memory in a way that makes it easy for me to access again as well as to share with others. Though any creative outlet will be great, check out Estonian hiker and watercolor artist Maiu on her YouTube channel Maiu Takes a Hike for inspiration, tools and basic watercolor tutorials.
6. Re-stock and Check-in on Your First Aid, Repair and Spice kits
Some chores seem like they have just been waiting for a time like this. If you have some extra time, open up your kits and check the expiration dates, quality and quantity of what’s inside. It won’t take long, but that future self running around unmasked and hugging people will thank you. Check out this inventive little DIY spice kit from Instructables that clocks in at only 1 oz. to build a new or improved pack-worthy spice cabinet.
7. Read a modern classic that takes you deep into the wild without leaving your home
There are plethoras of thru-hiking memoirs, environmental advocacy books, and true tales of adventure out there. The Contemporary Adventure Canon from Outside Online will give you a great place to begin reading: starting with the stunning and moving autobiography of Japanese Alpinist Junko Tabei. Even if you aren’t a reader… at least Google her name. It's worth the time.
8. Plan Your Next Adventure!
As I am writing this, the sounds of my husband planning our next adventures interject every other thought. I think that it's a good thing, regardless of my slowly falling productivity level, because planning and dreaming allows us to get our minds set on something exciting. It gives us goals to work towards and hope for the things that come next. New to planning for hiking and backpacking? The Cloudline Hiking and Backpacking Blog has everything you need to know in detailed but accessible articles.
Through the COVID19 pandemic, the outdoor community has the opportunity to model positive behavior and safe interaction with nature. Let’s stay hopeful, and take this seriously, for the versions of ourselves and others who aren’t daily worried about toilet paper and can adventure out together.
Stay healthy, stay home and stay adventure-ready!
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Emily is a copywriter based in northern Michigan. She's happiest outdoors, whether she's hiking, skiing, paddling, or swimming. As a writer, she loves working with companies that inspire all people to get outside. When she's not writing or playing outdoors, you can find her cooking, reading, or hanging out with family and friends. Find more of her writing here.