Nature, staying active and spending time outdoors are all critical to our mental and physical health in the best of times, and even more so when a Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is in place. But when agencies temporarily close facilities and lands (see sidebar) to help keep our community safe you may have to find a new way to get your nature fix. Here are a few tips to help you get the outdoor time you need while staying close to home.
find nature in your neighborhood
Favorite trail closed? Not sure where to go? Think of your front door your personal trailhead, and let your feet do the rest.
- 5 tips to turn your neighborhood stroll into an adventure
- See if you can spot trees or plants in your neighborhood you might typically find on trail. Just looking at trees may help relieve stress.
- If you have a yard or deck, spend some time in it or consider running a marathon. On your balcony.
- Bring the outdoors inside with these webcams. It's not the same thing, but it's nice to know what's happening on Mount Rainier, even if you can't visit.
- 9 more ways to bring outdoor joy into your life
- Soak in these soundtracks or listen to some birdsong recordings
On Your walk, run or ride
- Go alone or with people you already live with.
- Stay at least 6 feet apart. Maintain at least six feet from others you may see on your walk. If that is not possible please wear a face covering.
- Wash your hands when you get home for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
- Research and respect closures. Most trail and park restrictions will be prominently posted, but some may not. Check our Hiking Guide to verify. If your walks take you to someplace that is closed, please respect the guidelines.
- Be pleasant when you see someone out and about. Several professions are exempt from this order (including medical personnel and security), and people are allowed to go out for things like groceries. It's a stressful time, but a smile or wave can go a long way to improving someone's day.
- Don't take unnecessary risks. The current restrictions are in place in order to lessen the pressure on medical services. If your neighborhood includes open spaces that might pose hazards (especially in spring) be extra vigilant and avoid injury or the need for Search and Rescue right now — their services are needed elsewhere.
We know how important getting outdoors is to all of us right now, and that the temporary closures can be frustrating. Thank you for understanding and staying closer to home for a short time. Hang tight. We got this.
If you were planning a thru-hike this year, of the Pacific Crest Trail for instance, put that plan on hold. We know it's disappointing, but the trail will be there waiting when we get through this crisis. Here's why it's important to wait it out.
- Thru-hiking life can put hikers into close contact, either at group campsites or at hiker hostels along the way.
- You are likely to face challenges finding supplies in small communities, and you could inadvertently spread the virus to a community with fewer medical resources.
- If you do get sick, you will be far from help.
- Proper sanitation, including hand washing, is hard to maintain on a thru-hike.
- You risk inadvertently exposing the people you meet along the way to the coronavirus.