What Quarantine Has Taught Me About The Outdoors
Hint: bears are even hungrier. They are short on beets.
1. Don’t take anything for granted.
A week into Los Angeles’s lockdown due to Coronavirus, the county’s trails were closed for a month and a half. It was only then that I had the strongest desire to hike. In my head I began longing about my city’s trails, daydreaming about their beige, dusty beauty. As soon as they reopened and it was safe, I vowed to myself to appreciate what’s near me and never take them for granted.
2. Fellow hikers are great people with whom to safely remember how to socialize.
Before quarantine, I never viewed hiking as a social event. I’d usually go with a friend and we’d talk on the way up, but I rarely exchanged more than a smile and “hello” with the other people we’d pass. Once I got back on the trails, I had an exchange with another group about a rattlesnake sighting that made me realize that they were super friendly. Of course, the added rarity of social interaction (from a distance of course) that I’m missing from my day to day life definitely makes a difference.
3. Driving a little extra is so worth it.
As someone who lives in a city without a huge array of trails, I’m used to rotating between the same three hikes that are closest to my house. It wasn’t until quarantine that I realized the difference that driving an extra fifteen or thirty minutes out of the city can make: 1) they’re much less crowded trails (easier parking) and 2) they can offer some amazing views.
4. Hiking without a timeframe makes all the difference.
Before quarantine, when I would go on hikes, I would get up to the top, stop for a few minutes, and then quickly go back down and get on with the rest of my day. However, going without a goal or destination has allowed me to have a much better experience. For new hikes, I am able to surround myself with the novelty of the experience and truly discover what I do and don’t like about a trail. Even on hikes I’ve done hundreds of times before, not rushing has allowed me to discover new trails branching off from the main one that have taken me to great views.
5. Eat lunch at the top.
Objectively, eating food with a view is one of the best experiences in life. These days, with meals limited to the same few square feet of my kitchen, lunching on the trail is particularly exciting. Especially after a long hike in the sun, nothing feels better than to pack a lunch, sit at the top, reflect on what you accomplished, and take a moment to yourself.