Self-Quarantine Colorado Trail Preparations

If you aren’t already on a trail, then you are likely at home with either canceled work or social plans, as in my case. While my work is still going on, I work with a small group of people who I also live with, and my social plans have all been scrapped in the hope of preventing the spread of coronavirus. Here is what I’ve been doing with my time while I’m at home.

MYOG (Or Make Your Own Gear)

On a recent hike, I realized I wouldn’t actually use my rain pants on my thru-hike of the Colorado Trail. I wouldn’t use them, not because I don’t think they are comfortable, but because the bottom opening just doesn’t fit over my hiking shoes and gaiters. So I would have to stop and take my gaiters and shoes off every single time I want to put my rain pants on or take them off. To me, that’s not worth the extra protection rain pants offer over a rain skirt/kilt. So I’ve spent a little of my quiet time cutting and creating a Tyvek rain skirt.

One very fortunate thing about my self-quarantine circumstances is that I’ve already got lots of crafting supplies hanging around, including the tape and Velcro strips needed for a rain skirt. My toothbrush is already cut, but I can always find other projects. Now might be the time for me to add those drops of seam sealer to my sleeping pad to prevent it from slipping. Finding something creative for me to put my energy into is the ultimate goal.

My first project with this much extra time on my hands: a Tyvek rain skirt. Via Will Harmon

Creative Endeavors

Speaking of creativity, now is also a wonderful time for me to get into those creative projects I’ve always wanted to pursue, like writing this article. Perhaps I’ll revamp my old blog and freshen it up. Or put more effort into my Instagram or Facebook. Or relearn how to use Photoshop and Lightroom editing software. Maybe I’ll start an ASMR backpacking podcast. Or even a vlog series. With this much time on my hands, the possibilities are virtually endless. This time is going to be about getting out there, figuratively, and trying new things.

Trip Planning

There are still some logistics I haven’t put together for my CT thru-hike that are still on my mind and to-do list. Now that I’ve got nowhere to be and unlimited Wi-Fi, I can really sit down and iron out those details. Most of these logistics for me focus where to store my car and belongings for the month I’ll be gone, but they also include some food/consumables planning and gear sorting.

Dream Trip Planning

I don’t think I’ll undertake an AT, PCT, CDT, etc., trip anytime soon, but I might as well spend some time looking into those logistics because I’ve got nothing better to do, once my to-do list is finished. Realistically, I’ll spend some time planning some longer weekend trips in the Sierra and Rockies for the early summer as preparation for the Colorado Trail.

Gear Packing

This seems unusual to me as a concept. Why would I pack and unpack my gear in my living room when I’ll get tons of practice once I hit the trail? Because, as a very analytically minded individual, it would be incredibly helpful to be aware of how I like my pack packed by the time I hit the trail. Why would I wait until my first few mornings on the trail to figure out what I want easily accessible? Obviously, those item locations are written in wet sand, as they could easily change when you get 100 miles down the trail and find a better spot/system. However, starting off with a system in mind can make those first couple of mornings and evenings that little bit smoother.

Keeping the Fitness and the Fire

A lot of what I’ve been doing has involved little movement and a lot of time sitting or standing on a computer. I believe one important thing is to make sure I’ve got some way of keeping your fitness up through this time. I am very fortunate to live with virtually endless, largely unpopulated trails accessible from my house, so my hiking and running won’t really change in volume over the next few weeks. However, the extra time I’ll have each day can be put toward building a routine set of exercises to strengthen weaker or underutilized muscles. Ideally, after returning to a full schedule, this routine will stick and continue to be a part of my life.

Staying Healthy

This is a very stressful time for a lot of people and I want to acknowledge that. By spending this time being creative and focusing on my logistical preparations, I’m hoping to provide a positive outlet for my stress. I’m hoping to spend some time cooking a little more from scratch than normal, namely sourdough bread, continuing to take my daily vitamins, and being social with my roommates. I’m also going to spend a little bit more time than normal looking at pictures of cute kittens, but to each their own. I hope you all are staying healthy, physically and mentally, and I hope to see some of you all out on the trails, from a good social distance, of course.

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