Let me start by saying that this whole situation is bad, and it’s going to get worse. In no way am I downplaying the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic. Every day we see more confirmed cases (and deaths) and are witness to drastic measures being taken on all levels. The NCAA tournament will be played without fans. The NBA has suspended it’s the season. There is a ban on international travel.
What we’re being told is – stay away from everyone, which leads me to my point.
As campers, we thrive on relative isolation. We literally go out of our way to spend a weekend away from the rat race. Many of us can’t imagine a better way to spend our time. As people become more withdrawn during this outbreak, many will be at a loss when it comes to recreation. Malls, bars, and movie theaters are a bad idea. Many summer festivals and concerts have already been canceled. But for the average camper, those activities are lower on the list, to begin with.
I camp a lot and I already have everything I need to recreate with a handful of friends. And it doesn’t need to be an overnighter. I’m a big fan of pitching day camps. I love hiking into a remote area of a park or national forest with a few camp chairs, hammocks, and freeze-dried meals. I’ll spend the day reading, napping, eating, and just wandering around the woods. For me, it’s about as relaxing and rejuvenating as an afternoon can be.
One of my favorite things to do in the last few years is to meet friends in a park somewhere for a picnic. I have a cooler that attaches to my bike that holds not only beer and snacks, but camp chairs, blankets, a tarp, and a Bluetooth speaker. On bikes, it’s easy to find a spot with no one around, leaving us to lounge all afternoon with little worry.
My wife and I kayak a lot, and I’m looking forward to hitting a few new rivers this summer. We’re lucky enough to have 14 miles of the Minnehaha Creek flowing right through Minneapolis, and we’ll run that too, but the current situation is a great reason to hop in the car for an hour and hit some new, remote rivers we haven’t paddled yet. It will be quiet without a soul in sight.
Do I like malls, bars, and movie theaters? Of course I do. But there have been plenty of times at those places where I’ve thought “Meh…I should have grabbed my pack and scouted out that new bluff I’ve been wanting to camp at.” I’m looking forward to a summer filled with more outdoor adventure than ever before, and I wish the same for my fellow campers. Let us not be stifled by hiding out at home. As long as we’re staying away from others, we’re being responsible. Lucky for us, we’re also doing what we do best.
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