Don’t Hike, But Still Dream

We all must be feeling a little down or unsure at the moment. The plans and dreams we have, or had, have been changed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The PCTA, ATC, and CDTC have all announced they recommend that people not walk these trails this hiking season. I have been seeing people who are canceling their hikes by not starting or just coming off of the trail all together.

As for my planned hikes of the Oregon Desert Trail and the Continental Divide Trail this upcoming hiking season… I am not sure. I am still waiting to see what will happen with this pandemic and what is recommended in the coming months. Also, I am really waiting to see what will happen to the people in my life. How will they be affected?

I am located in California, where many counties in the population centers are issuing shelter in place orders, closing all bars, restaurants, and gathering places to their residents. My work at Outward Bound California has all been canceled and I find myself thinking.

What in the world do I do? Should I still do these thru-hikes? Should I still even think about them?

I think that one of the best things we can do for ourselves in this time is to dream. Still dream about traveling through Glacier National Park, the sweeping granite of the Sierra, or the Smokies. In fact, we may not be doing much and have ample time to dream.Time to plan. I think, if you have been wanting to do a thru-hike, maybe this isn’t the time to actually do the walking.

But, this could be the time to plan that dream.

You could:

Make that spreadsheet of gear weights. Find your base weight. Your worn weight. 

Research your dream lightweight setup. Track costs. 

Develop a training plan for yourself before your next hike.

Set up your resupply plan for your dream trail.

Look for resources that exist out there. See what others have done.

Better yet, create your own route in a place. Map it on CalTopo. Write the guidebook for yourself. 

Make a to-do list for your next hike.

Develop your own food program to calculate grams, meals, and calories to make meal planning easier. 

Make a budget for your hike. 

Get on a video call with friends from past hikes. Talk, dream, and relive memories and moments. Talk about future dream hikes with them. 

Many of us are out of work. Some of us have time. We have, or have been, thinking about bailing out on our 2020 hiking plans. I know for me I need to fill my time with something. Something that is not COVID-19 news. So, even if I don’t hike the trails I am hoping to hike in 2020, I want to be able to hike them in 2021 and already have them planned out. 

Care for yourself and others. Be creative. Keep dreaming.

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