A Thru-Hiker Letter to COVID-19

Dear COVID-19,

Leave. Get out of our bodies. Get off trail. You, COVID-19, YOU #stayhome. This is not a request from the PCTA, but a demand from me, a human. Yes, your potential host demands it.

You’ve made hundreds of thousands of my kind sick. You have killed thousands and you aren’t done yet. You have taken people from their jobs, their future. You’ve caused the media to scramble to keep up with the numbers of infected and the stage of “the curve.”

COVID-19, you’ve turned humans against each other—or at least keep us six feet apart. In California, you caused a run on guns and we can’t even see you! Some of us won’t even know we are hosting you in our bodies as we homeschool our children during this quarantine.

You Are Savvy, I’ll Admit

There are so many ways for you to find us. Health care workers and essential personnel all over the globe are working a mile a minute trying to save lives in the wake of your destruction. They, themselves, are trying not to get sick and they don’t have enough supplies to do so.

When we humans look to positions of power, we see vacant stares: conflicting opinions on your incubation period, quarantine times, and “the worst is yet to come.” You are changing the fabric of our lives taking away loved ones and friends both in life and in space.

It Is Not Funny

My coping strategy is to imagine you sitting on the roof at my local REI. It’s not funny. But you laugh at the damage you’ve caused to my hiking community as we argue over how to “do our part.” Maybe you aren’t hanging out on the Pacific Crest Trail, our trail. Maybe we’d be better off hiding off the grid in the backcountry.

You Aren’t Off the Grid

But, COVID-19, if you aren’t already in our trail towns, you may linger on the surfaces of our resupply, infecting postal workers. You may lie dormant in the body of our friend who is resupplying us with those packages, even though we stay six feet apart. We may even be hosting you already but, best believe, you are no hiker and I’m not your trail angel.  Our trail towns and angels are badass, but they aren’t invincible. Our search and rescue teams can’t deal with you on trail AND in town. Please just go away.

Some say you are part of nature, that it is inevitable that we will all host you. Humankind is also nature and so are our trails. I’m warning you, COVID-19. We will protect our own. We will stay at home avoiding contact with others, including long and crowded trails at all costs. Our community is an unstoppable force and our trails will be here long after you are gone.

You #stayhome, COVID-19

We want to get back to community, life, love, and nature. For me that does NOT involve homeschooling my kids or attending Zoom meetings, as I cry softly staring at my PCT map on the wall, my unused gear, and my overdramatic You Tube vlog.

Some humans can’t or won’t stand up to you by practicing social distancing or simply won’t get off trail. But this human is not having it. COVID-19, pack up and get out. We humans have lives to save, love to share, and trails to travel. You are not invited.

Shannon, PCT Class of 2020

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Comments 2

  • Avatar
    Marcy Lynn : Mar 31st

    Love this!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Just Bob : Mar 31st

    Enjoyed your well authored writing. I could almost “hear” your anger in your words. Please know all of us thru hikers are echoing the same anger in our words as well…

    Looking forward to next year…

    Reply

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