Yes, you should be getting outside, even during the pandemic.
The COVID crisis has affected us all in different ways. For many of us, under stay at home orders, we felt the great disappointment of having to cancel trips or put them off. As we have progressed to the point where to stay at home orders are lifted, but "normal" life has not restarted, many people have found a new joy or a rekindled one in hiking and backpacking. Hiking and backpacking are some of the things that we can do to feel like things are back to normal. Not much has changed on the trail, and you might find it to be the break from the 12-hour news cycle or the dread scroll on your couch. If you're one of those people who has discovered hiking and trekking because of the COVID crisis or you're just looking for tips on how to hike safely during this time, check out our Safe Hiking During COVID-19 checklist, and if you're just looking for some inspiration to get outdoors during this time, check out the links below to some of our favorite articles confirming a universal truth: we could all use a little more trail therapy.
One of the last places we'd expect to see a great backpacking article would be in socialite-read New York Magazine, but lo and behold, it has happened. Maggie Lange does some excellent reporting from rangers and park employees across the country to see who's hitting the trails and how.
Another unexpected source for backpacker coverage, NPR, does some wonderful reportage specifically about thru-hikers taking on the AT challenge in 2020. It’s not always pretty or encouraging, but its an important read, and one that will leave you realizing that flexibility might be your best tool during this time.
This Washington Post article is a quick read about the benefits of walking, which we can easily extrapolate to hiking. If you're curious about how hiking and walking benefit your mental health then this article is for you. Erin Sagen, a Seattle resident, talks about how the simple task of walking has now become luxurious, but you already knew that didn't you?
Forbes even weighs in on this topic, encouraging people to increase their step count during this COVID crisis. This walk-centric article looks into the recent study published by the National Cancer Institute, which studied step-counts and mortality rates and might give you the push out the door that you need to plan your next short hike or long backpack trip.
It's important to remember to hike safely during this Pandemic, but also that you are not trapped in a home prison. The best thing for both your physical and mental health very well may be getting outside and onto the trails. And, from the looks of it, you'll even have more company out there.