Among the many benefits of spending time in the great outdoors, Time Magazine says that getting outside “is one of the fastest ways to improve your health and happiness.” The mountains have always been a place I can escape to, rest, and find some peace amidst the relentless pace of life. But, with the arrival of a global pandemic, I knew I would have to be careful and find safe ways to still enjoy the outdoors. So, here are four tips that have helped me adventure in a smart and safe manner!
*Disclaimer: The ability to travel far from home will depend on government mandates in your county. Don’t forget to do your research and remember that guidelines are constantly changing.
Steer Clear of Highly Populated Recreation Areas
Every state has its fair share of top trails and must-see sites. Unfortunately, the most beautiful places tend to be the ones buzzing with traffic lately as people are eager to get out of their homes in a safe manner. Chances are if a certain place quickly comes to mind for you to visit on a weekend, it is also a top choice for others. If you are worried about your health and safety while exploring in highly populated areas, I have found Alltrails.com to be a great resource that has helped me get creative and learn about other options close by. Type any specific area into the search engine and an array of options will appear. You may even find some hidden gems you never knew existed!
Try To Be Overly Courteous and Cautious
One of the ways I try to be courteous of others in the outdoors is by keeping a mask around my neck or inside my pocket that I can easily access if a trail starts to get a bit congested. It helps me, and those around me, feel a bit safer when I’m not caught off guard in a tight quarter’s situation without facial coverings. I also try to always keep my doggo leashed so others on the trail are not forced into contact with a stranger because of a mishap with my unleashed dog.
Stay Updated On Regulations
Recreation regulations remain in place throughout the country, so before I travel anywhere, I try to do a little research about the state and/or counties I plan to visit because there is a chance there could be different regulations in different places. For example, I want to be aware of national and state park capacity rules, what facilities in recreational spaces are open for use, and where I can camp during my stay.
When In Doubt, Stay Local
I am pretty bummed about the trips I’ve had to cancel this year. But the easiest way to feel as safe as possible while recreating during COVID-19 is staying local. Even if I plan a fun day trip just a few hours away, I try to minimize risk by filling my car up with gas before leaving, pre-packing all my snacks and food, and choosing an area I know won’t be swarming with people.
There’s no doubt we have all had to make adjustments this year in some way or another, but I think we can all agree that through it all, we have the opportunity to find a greater appreciation for the outdoors as long as we’re doing our part to adventure smart and stay safe.
About the Author
Bradee Smith calls Denver, Colorado home on weekdays and can be found seeking mountain adventures on the weekend. She truly believes in the healing power of the mountains and how they can be a place to disconnect from the limitations of everyday life. Bradee’s mission is to inspire people everywhere to find empowerment from hiking and getting outdoors regardless of their background. Her goal is not to tell you how to be an expert, but rather encourage you to get outdoors and pursue new adventures. You can find out more about Bradee on Instagram and on her website: https://www.ponytailonatrail.com.
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