Let’s face it, folks- these are tough times we’re living in. Just a few short weeks ago life was humming along as usual. Now we face a massive global health crisis, staggering unemployment, orders to avoid other people, and a mandate not to leave home for any reason other than grocery shopping and medical care. These are harsh realities no matter who you are, but if you are the kind of person who prefers the open air to the confines of four walls, this is especially hard to take. What is an adventurous soul to do when told to stay off the trails and in the house?
While there is no substitute for spending time in the great outdoors, here are seven ideas to help keep your spirits high and your heart hopeful during this extraordinary crisis.
Go Backyard Camping: If spring has had you itching to break your gear out of storage, don’t let the current situation stop you. If you have any outdoor space to pitch a tent such as a backyard, a front lawn, a porch, etc., go ahead and set up a little sanctuary to escape to outside of the house, even if it is just a few steps from the door. Bring out your camping stove and eat a dehydrated meal. If you’ve got a fire pit, let your kids make s’mores and sit around telling ghost stories. Even if you don’t have the outdoor space, go ahead and set up camp right inside the house. No matter where you pitch it, there is nothing quite like a night in a tent to make you feel a little more free. And if you post a pic on Instagram with #campfromhome, Big Agnes might even give you a shoutout.
Plan a Trip: Use some of your newfound free time to research and plan your next adventure. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of riding a motorbike through the Italian Dolomites or trekking through Patagonia? Maybe you want to try climbing some cliffs near the ocean or bikepack across the US? Perhaps you just want to explore some new trails close to home this summer? Whatever your dream is, now is not the time to give up on it, but rather to keep on dreaming. Do research, make lists, create itineraries, ask questions in online forums. We may not be certain how long it will last, but the quarantine will not last forever. When it is over, the trip you’ve been yearning to take will only be that much more special.
Get All the Fresh Air You Can: Remember how, when you were a kid, it was so boring to be trapped in the house but being outside made you feel so free even if you weren’t allowed to leave your neighborhood? Well, channel that inner child and savor the feeling of escape that good old fashioned fresh air can bring. The setting need not be an alpine lake nestled amid epic peaks or a desert cut by single track and strewn with red rocks. The breeze and the sunshine can work their magic on a weary soul just about anywhere. So take your dog on an extra long stroll or haul your laptop out onto the porch. Just make sure you go outside.
Get Your Gear in Shape: Prepare for the summer ahead by cleaning out your gear closet and making sure everything is clean and trail ready. Bleach out your water bladders, check your bike tires, wash your sleeping bags, check your tents for abrasions or faulty zippers, blow up your sleeping pads to be sure there are no leaks, etc. Let everything air out, get it organized, and be locked and loaded for the moment you get the green light to resume with outdoor recreation per usual.
Make Your Own Backpacking Food: If you have a dehydrator, now is the time to get creative with your backcountry meal prep. Look up recipes, experiment with new ingredients, and be the fanciest foodie at the campground next time you hit the dusty trail. We all love our Mountain House, but now is a great opportunity to set yourself up with some really unique dishes that you’ll be dying to heat up on your camp stove this summer.
Stay Active: Gyms and personal trainers from all over the world are currently uploading tons of free at home fitness videos to the internet to help those who are stuck at home stay fit. Take advantage of all this great content and carve out some time to keep your muscles strong and your mind from going crazy. If that’s not your thing, walk or run outside. Ride your bike. Practice your yoga poses. Whatever you do, don’t stop moving. Your body will thank you on your first backpacking trip post-quarantine and for the time being, wearing yourself out physically will definitely stave off some of the boredom.
Keep in Touch With Your Adventure Buddies: Schedule a virtual happy hour with your favorite partners in crime so you can reminisce about trips past and dream up a few for the future. It may not be the same as sitting around a campfire, but sharing in some memories and laughs will lighten things up and keep the stoke alive. Plus it’s a great way to still be social when you have to keep your distance.