Backcountry skiing in between Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

What It Means To Be An Outdoor Enthusiast During COVID-19

I tried really hard to avoid talking about COVID- 19 on nacforadventure…. I’ve increased my screen time in the past two weeks, and a majority of the content has been some way or another related to the current events of the pandemic that is completely changing the world that we live in. So I want my personal social media to be an escape away from this crazy time. But it’s a little hard to avoid. Overall, it’s been such a huge change to my everyday activities.

It’s made me work from home for the past two and a half weeks.

Made me not able to see me family (even my brother who lives 15 minutes away).

It’s restricted my daily outing to the grocery store to get fresh veggies.

And completely cut off in-store thrift shopping.

And it’s also  greatly impacted my outdoor life.

I can no longer go spring slush skiing and hit the jumps and rails with friends then tailgate in the parking lot. I can’t head down south to camp and get a taste of summer. I can’t go to a busy city park to play outdoor games with friends. We’ve had to cancel upcoming trips we’ve been looking forward to, including a huge campout with Klymit and a birthday closing weekend skiing with my family.

backpacking in southern utah march 2019
How much can happen in a year…. this was the beginning of last March when first moving to SLC, UT. I hopped in the car with my brother and his friends for a fun week full of camping under the stars.

But what I can do right now is participate in social distancing. I’ve seen a lot of social media posts about how to properly social distance. And I have seen even more posts shaming others decisions to do what seems like fair game.

The thing is that the line is so blurred. There are obvious no-gos… like traveling far distances to remote towns to “escape”. Hitting up well-known, busy parks and outdoor spots, knowing that you will be exposed to others. Inviting friends over for backyard barbecues and games.

But what about hiking on empty trails 15 minutes from your house? Or backcountry skiing at quiet spots near your home? Riding your bike around the neighborhood? There’s so many things that have no hard line to tell you whether or not it’s okay.

And I think that’s where a lot of anxiety has come from.

Not wanting to be shamed over social or (more importantly!) expose yourself to the virus, but still wanting to participate in a safe manner that best for you and the world right now.

I don’t want to come out and tell people exactly what to do and what not to do, because I’m not your mother, and people should act like adults.

And so I think all I can say is to BE SMART and PLAY IT SAFE.

Outdoors people are naturally critical thinkers.

We know where the line is and how comfortable we feel approaching it.

We know how to look at a situation and analyze the best route to go.

We know how to determine if it’s safe for us, but also safe for others and the environment.

So I am hoping that outdoor-minded people use this intuition in a time that lives need to be handled with as much care as possible.

Backcountry skiing in between Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah
I’m very fortunate to have a backcountry skiing set up, but that doesn’t mean I’m not being responsible in this sensitive time. I only go with people I live with, and use the proper precautions.

To give you a glimpse…. I personally have been lucky enough to be working from home, and only been going to the store to get groceries and other essential items. I have only been to the store maybe 3 times in the past 2.5 weeks. To be completely honest, I have been participating in outdoor activities, mostly backcountry skiing.  I have limited it to only doing so with the people that I directly live with. I know that these people are experienced, and I understand freak accidents happen, but I believe that we have made precautions to mitigate any risks that may put our lives (or other emergency workers lives) in danger.

I think that one of the most underrated outdoor activities available to me right now is utilizing my backyard and porch. It’s been a great escape to enjoy the sun and the wind and trees and the grass, and I highly suggest hanging outside listening to podcasts if it is available to you.

I believe that my decisions have been the best for my personal well-being, physical health, and mental health, as well as others’ health and the environment’s.

On top of this, as this situation is evolving, it’s also important to constantly be updating your stance and choices. Just because you did something last week, doesn’t mean you can’t change your behavior starting right now.

Everything is happening so quickly , yet every day feels lightyears long, and it’s so uncertain where we will be in a year, a month, a week, or even a couple days from now.

But what is certain is that we should all be thankful for the life we get to live. Thankful for our health. For a roof over our head. For the food in our pantries. For our ability to focus on other things. And for the Earth that we live on. Remind yourself of these little things, hang in there, and be smart.

Imagine how sweet of relief it will be when all of this is over.

Your nacforadventurer and social distancer,

 

AJ

 

 

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