The Situation,it's Temporary! What Outdoor Adventure can you do During a Stay-at-Home Order

Like you, my life has been disrupted by COVID-19. I only go into the office two days a week and the rest of the time I work remotely from home. Yesterday the Governor announced a stay-at-home order until 10 June. So whatever my new normal was it will change again. 

I understand for the outdoor adventurer the stay-at-home orders and limited movement and working remotely or not at all can be a lot to deal with. But getting out and trying to stay active and maintaining social distance is an important task for us to stay both physically and mentally fit

While we are under a stay-at-home order we are fortunate that our parks are still open to provide a place to go and to get out. I know this is not the case for everyone out there. In the last week, almost daily if not a few times a day I receive a feed of trailhead access that has been closed due to too many people at the parking lot or on the trail and not practicing social distancing. This is because people keep accessing the same popular trails and areas at the same time. Which in turn defeats social distancing rules.

** Update as of 8 April 2020 Shenandoah National Park is closed and this is the result of people not being about to maintain social distancing. **

Military personal have their lives disrupted all the time due to their service to the nation. But military personal can adapt to their operational environment and find ways to keep things normal. They figure out how to stay psychical fit with no or limited gym equipment in the field and train for marathons while deployed.

The situation, it's temporary! Take the time to think about what you can do, not what you can't do.

Below is a list of things that people can do to help you through your stay-at-home and practicing social distance.

Please ensure that you follow CDC and state and local guidelines to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and practice Leave No Trace recommendations for getting outside amidst COVID-19

Prep Your Gear:

This is a great time to prep your gear and checks its serviceability. When was the last time that you ever washed that backpack that you always put on the ground? You will be amazed by all that dirt that was on your pack. Place your pack in your bathtub and run a bit of water in the tub and add some mild detergent like Woolite or an outdoor detergent for cleaning gear. Also, a good time to make any repairs to your tent and also refresh its waterproof properties or seam seal it. Maybe it's time to pull some maintenance on your stove. Here is a past post on Maintenance and Repair for an MSR Whisperlite

Organize your gear closet or gear storage solution. Keeping everything organize and in order will help you head out for your next adventure and not speeding time looking for where you put your favorite Ti mug. Don't forget to inventory your gear and make a checklist for packing. If you are missing something or need to replace some gear don't forget to support your local independently owned specialty gear shop. Check their websites to see what services they are providing such as curbside pick-up or appointments for in-store purchases. I called Joureyman's Adventure Company for some bicycle inter-tubes. I was able to place my order and pay for them over the phone. Once I got to the store the owner came outside and dropped the tube in my car. Easy and safe for both of us.

Before you decide to throw out that used piece of outdoor gear see if it can be donated to something like your local bike Co-op or if it can be recycled. Maybe you can put life back into your gear like I did with this Camping Gaz Turbo 270 Stove or Camping Gaz Bivouac 270 Lantern. Or better yet, do your own DYI project like I did with fork bike light mount.

Refresh Your Outdoor Skills:

Sure, you have been at this outdoor thing for a while but when was the last time that you really worked on developing your skills? This is a good time to brush up on some of those skills. How many knots can you tie correctly? How long can you track stay your bike or bunny hop that log? Do you know the PCT method to hang a bear bag? These are just a few of the skills that you can either work on in the house or in your yard. You don't have to have much space to do it. Take this time to revisit some of the skills you might not have used in a while and try to master them. Also, a good time to teach a skill to your kids. Those skills you get spun back up on could come in handy when things go wrong in the field.

Outdoor Cooking:

Everything tastes better when it is cooked outdoors. There's nothing to say you can't make a cup of coffee on your camp stove at home. How about a virtual camp coffee meet-up once a week over Zoom and share your method and cup of coffee with others.

Go truly old school how about cooking dinner without utensils. Think Hobo pack or something like that. This can be done on the grill or your fire pit. Old school BSA Fieldbook has a section on cooking without utensils. How about getting that dutch oven out and fix up a cobber. Or now is the time to plan meals and dehydrate them for later on when things get turned back on.

Have Your Own Outdoor Indoor Film Festival:

Missed your local showing of the Banff Mountain World Tour? Don't worry! You can catch the Banff Centre Film Fest at Home. Plus you can search for outdoor films that are being provided for free to view. There's just too many to list here but they cover about any outdoor activity that you can think of.

Get Outside:

You don't have to go far and it is best to stay local. But follow the guideline outlined in your community. Take the time to look up the public land agencies in your area to find out their guidelines during COVID-19. The guidelines could change daily because people aren't following the rules and not practicing social distancing. Below I have provided links to some of those resources in my area. 

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries also provided is the  Richmond Falcon Cam and the first egg was just laid a couple of days ago.

Virginia Department of Forestry plus they provide and Conservation Education Page with games for kids and free PDF downloads for Virginia native trees and plant guides.

Virginia State Parks are day use only right now. Some parks are offering an opportunity to continue volunteering and practicing social distancing. iNaturalist is an app that helps document plants, animals, and fungi all around the world through citizen submissions. Any time spent making these observations can be counted as volunteer hours. From the app, you can find opportunities in your area.

NPS Public Health Update This page covers all National Parks but you should check each park's website. I happen to live in an area that the National Park Civil War Battlefields are in my local area. This is not the time to make a cross-country trip to your National Parks. Richmond area Battlefields Map

If a National Park is not local to you they do offer Watching Wildlife Webcams

Can't get to the National Mall to see the Cherry Blossmans? No problem the Trust of the National Mall provides Bloom Cam

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forest provide a Recreation Conditions Report that provides information on what areas are open and closed.

All the other local, state, and CDC guidelines also follow Leave No Trace. Just to recap, the adventure you seek can be found in your own house or backyard in your local green space or park. This is not the time to get out for an epic adventure. Be safe and be responsible.

Share your Stay-at-Home outdoor adventures in the comments.



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