The USA Is Closed!
The global pandemic hasn’t only forced the closure of the Appalachian Trail, effectively to all non-Americans, it also means the USA is closed too!
My Canadian feelings aren’t hurt in any way whatsoever. Frankly, the border closures are a prudent medical necessity, plus we in Canada have also closed our borders to Americans too. It is what it is! So what next?
It was devastating when my Appalachian Trail dreams died. Many years of pining and planning crashed hard and fast! Yes, they are completely dead for this year, and likely also next year too for non-Americans. So my best options to scratch my hikin’ itch appear to be within my own country’s borders. Yet there are still some issues.
Firstly, the Canadian hiking season is smaller, with shorter summers and longer winters. But not a deal-breaker. Secondly, we have only a few long-distance thru-hikes with the infrastructure for a “proper” thru-hike. Most of our long trails are designed for section hiking, with few to no camping locations. Finally, the global pandemic has forced our provincial, territorial, and national parks to remain closed or restrict access and services.
So what is still available. Frankly nothing… sort of.
In Ontario, between Ottawa and Kingston, is the Rideau Trail. It is designed for section hiking with no camping options. But it can be thru-hiked if you are legal, respectful, and stealth! The trail remains open, and all the government parklands the trail passes through, just announced that starting in one week, they will all be open to the public. However, restricted to ONLY “hiking through.” BINGO. I have a trail!
I’m not new to the Rideau Trail. I thru-hiked her in 2012 and called it my OktoberQuest. So as soon as we get the green light from our governments, and we expect than soon, I will be hiking the complete Rideau Trail again, and this time with my good friend Chris Abbott. We hope to make it extra special by hiking it both ways at one go. To my knowledge, it will be the FIRST recorded yo-yo. If all goes as planned, we will hike all 650km in four weeks.
Apart from the appropriate social distancing required, stealth camping will be our biggest challenge. So in order to maintain true stealth, we will not be releasing timely videos of our hike, however, we hope to provide discreet updates via Instagram and FB. When the hike is over, we hope to share our edited video log of the complete adventure then!
Goodbye to my Appalachian dreams, and hello to the Rideau Trail yo-yo!
Hike on, stay apart and safe. Dudley out!
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