Hiking News

ATC Begins Planning for Hikers’ Safe Return to Appalachian Trail

Posted by on May 3, 2020 @ 6:23 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

ATC Begins Planning for Hikers’ Safe Return to Appalachian Trail

In March 2020, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) advised all visitors and volunteers to stay away from the Appalachian Trail. Increased visitor use made social distancing practically impossible and the potential to spread COVID-19 to other Trail visitors and vulnerable Trailside communities — and beyond — posed grave risks. Subsequent stay-at-home orders in most Trail states, numerous national park and national forest closures on the A.T., and hundreds of reported COVID-19 infections in counties along the Trail reinforced ATC’s guidance.

This was a difficult decision for those seeking the benefits of the A.T. experience, including many who had planned section and thru-hikes this year, and the ATC greatly appreciate your assistance in helping prevent the spread of this dangerous virus.

Now over a month has passed since making this request, and many have asked an important question: when will it be safe to return to the Trail?

For now, the guidance is still in effect. The ATC urges everyone — visitors, volunteers and Trailside community residents alike — to stay off the A.T. to keep both the Trail and its broader community safe and healthy.

However, as several states have begun lifting or are planning to lift stay-at-home orders, the ATC has convened a task force to develop guidance on how A.T. visitors can re-engage safely with the Trail. This task force is comprised of representatives from the ATC’s staff, federal and state agency partners, trail maintaining clubs, A.T. Communities, local leaders and medical experts and will incorporate perspectives from those groups.

The task force will adopt several guiding principles as it develops a decision-making framework for staff, volunteers and Trail visitors:

The task force’s top priority will be the safety and health of ATC staff, volunteers, agency partners, Trail visitors and adjacent communities.
The task force will adopt an evidence-based approach, relying on the best science available.
The task force will account for the unique characteristics of the A.T. and develop guidance that is specific to the A.T. and the broader Trail community.
The task force will consider the policies of federal and state partners as well as restrictions and closures implemented at the local, state and federal levels.
The task force aims to deliver guidance that can be used broadly by the entire Trail community. Whether you are a volunteer who wants to complete Trail maintenance or a hiker who hopes to experience the beauty, inspiration and connection to nature found on the A.T., they want to make sure you have the information you need to stay safe and healthy.

The ATC wants to ensure they can, in the future, access the A.T.’s myriad values safely and responsibly. For the time being, they ask for your continued patience as they determine the best possible way forward.

Sandra Marra
President & CEO
Appalachian Trail Conservancy


To hike, or not to hike; That is the question

Posted by on May 2, 2020 @ 7:17 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

To hike, or not to hike; That is the question

Ironically, through their inconsistency, dogs send a consistent message: The only thing we can control is our own behavior. That’s a good concept to embrace during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Because of conflicting messaging, coronavirus stay-at-home orders have been particularly trying and confusing for hikers. We’re being told to both stay home and go out and hike because it’s “safe.”

The mantra of “practicing social distancing” is proving to be just a catch phrase as parking lots at popular trailheads are crammed full while vehicles circling like vultures wait for spaces. Social media is replete with visuals of large groups congregating and cars parked bumper-to-bumper along forest service roads near “remote” trails where “nobody goes.”

Trail closures and restrictions that began as precautions are now necessities to protect public health.

A few weeks ago, the drift was all about “stay home and stay safe,” “we’re in this together,” “let’s care for each other” and “please stay away from small towns to stem the spread of the virus.”

Now we are bombarded with pleas from small businesses and communities to “send hikers to them” and a swell of “we’re open for business” reminders. Clearly, the novelty of the novel virus has lost its panache.

If we start directing hikers to small communities that depend on tourism to survive in a time when visitors are vectors of disease, will it be welcome relief or a health hazard?

What to do? What to do…


Some Perfectly Outdoorsy Things to do in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Posted by on Apr 30, 2020 @ 9:23 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Some Perfectly Outdoorsy Things to do in the Black Hills of South Dakota

One of the great things about road tripping around America is that there is always more to discover. One of the the regions of the U.S. that may really blow you away is the Black Hills of South Dakota. Explorations will take you through vast windswept prairies, up pine-forested mountains, and around jagged rock formations carved by elements over millions of years.

The Black Hills region also features enticing outdoor adventures, a plethora of wildlife, and jaw-dropping scenery around every bend. If you haven’t added the Black Hills of South Dakota to your target list, do it now.

To encourage you to start planning your outdoor adventures in the Black Hills, Back Road Ramblers has created a list of some of their favorite things to do in the Black Hills region with a strong emphasis on getting outside.

The most important thing to know before heading to this beautiful spot is that the area was originally owned, and is still inhabited by the Lakota people. In fact, treaties made between the US government and the Lakota in 1851 and 1868 ensured that the Black Hills would remain as native territory. In 1877, the land was confiscated by the United States, an action that was condemned by the U.S. Supreme Court more than a century later.

The Lakota people consider the Black Hills to be sacred and are continuously working to reclaim their land. Outdoor enthusiasts and visitors to the Black Hills region should be aware of this struggle and walk respectfully on the land.

OK, see the suggestions…

You can also check out my trail reports from the Black Hills here…


Day trips. Hiking with bandanas. What you should keep in mind as outdoors spaces reopen

Posted by on Apr 29, 2020 @ 6:40 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Day trips. Hiking with bandanas. What you should keep in mind as outdoors spaces reopen

After weeks of getting creative to stave off cabin fever — backyard grass skiing, living room campouts, retaining wall rappels, neighborhood trip reports — outdoor adventurers finally have some good news. In the next week, some state parks and public lands will reopen for day use in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and a few other states.

But as hikers lace up their boots and mountain bikers pump up their tires, this early experiment with resuming everyday activities in the midst of a pandemic will look and feel different.

How should hikers, bikers and equestrians behave on the public lands that will soon open? Largely the way we were asked to behave in March, when public health measures like physical distancing were brand new. Stick with day trips with household members and not to meet up with hiking buddies.

“Be prepared” has never been more important: Pack extra hand soap, hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Don’t expect bathroom facilities to be open. Skip the après-hike brewery stop and bring your own food and drink to avoid visiting businesses far from home. That recommendation is a bitter pill for local economies, but another public health necessity to minimize the risk of viral transmission between communities. The face mask — or at least a bandana that can be pulled over your face — may become the 11th essential on the trail.

Read full story…


This is where some of America’s best hiking boots are made

Posted by on Apr 27, 2020 @ 6:52 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

This is where some of America’s best hiking boots are made

Rising up from the heart of New Hampshire, where the state’s main highway intersects the Appalachian Trail, are the woodlands and ranges of the White Mountain National Forest: a mix of rolling hills blanketed by trees and exposed ridges dominated by the cathedral of Mount Washington. Standing 6,288 feet above sea level, it’s the largest geological feature in the region, and the highest peak in New England by nearly 2,000 feet. Ever since the summit was first reached by the Englishman Darby Field in 1642, the mountain has been a lodestone and proving ground for hikers, climbers, skiers and every other elevation-seeking adventurer.

Compared to the peaks of famous American ranges like the Rockies, the Sierras and the Tetons, Washington’s height is modest. But the mountain is not to be taken lightly. For most of the 20th century, Washington’s barren summit held the record for the highest surface wind speed ever recorded — 231 miles per hour — until a tropical cyclone passed over a weather station off the coast of Western Australia in 1996. And despite its seemingly unimpressive elevation, the mountain is deadly. Washington has claimed more than 150 lives since 1849, making it statistically more perilous than Denali, which, at 20,310 feet, is North America’s tallest peak. But when the weather is fair, Mt. Washington is an idyllic backdrop for the surrounding region.

In the shadow of the mountain, 15 miles to the south, lies the village of Intervale. It’s one of those waypoint towns common in New England’s northern states: less a town, more a group of buildings along a major thoroughfare and a scattering of homes spread across a spiderweb of roads both dirt and paved. That thoroughfare is Route 302, also known in the region as the White Mountain Highway, or, deeper into the mountains, the Crawford Notch Road. And less than a quarter mile from 302 sits Peter Limmer & Sons, a decades-old, family-operated shop that makes what is possibly the most coveted hiking boot in the world.

Read full story…


Hiking games that keep kids engaged and motivated on the trail

Posted by on Apr 26, 2020 @ 7:24 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking games that keep kids engaged and motivated on the trail

Hiking with kids can be a wonderful experience that leads to cherished memories. But sometimes, things don’t go so smoothly.

You’re about a third of the way into your planned hike. Everything’s going great. Then, all of a sudden, your 5-year-old hiking buddy decides he doesn’t want to hike anymore. Is he hungry? No. Is he tired? No. He just wants to do something else.

While nature is a great source of entertainment for kids, sometimes they need a little encouragement to stay engaged and keep moving along a trail. Hiking games can help. It’s good to have a variety of these games up your sleeve, just in case you need to switch it up.

For example, Lava is a simple game of make believe that requires listening and reacting quickly. When one person calls out “lava,” everyone pretends that lava is flowing down the trail and will soon cover the ground. To escape, everyone must quickly move to a nearby rock or high point, such as a downed tree, and stand on it.

The game rules might vary depending on what type of terrain you’re dealing with. If the trail isn’t rocky, maybe the goal is to stand on an exposed tree root or reach out and touch a tree trunk. However you play, it’s important to reinforce that everyone must stay on trail. And if you want, you can add a time element to it, counting down from 10 or 5.

Many more hiking games here…


What’s the Difference Between Hiking Boots and Hiking Shoes?

Posted by on Apr 19, 2020 @ 7:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

What’s the Difference Between Hiking Boots and Hiking Shoes?

Even just the word ‘hiking’ can be enough adventure for some. For others, getting outdoors is an obsessive hobby, filled with planning, reading material, and exacting your gear. When we’re not hiking, we’re talking about hiking, and when we’re talking about hiking, we’re often talking about new and interesting gear, and what gear would be best for what great adventure.

If you’re looking to replace your hiking footwear, or get a first pair, a common question to ask is whether or not you can opt for hiking shoes (AKA trail runners), or if you should stick with the traditional hiking boots.

You don’t have to do anything. There are people who hike the Appalachian Trail barefoot. But to help make your outdoor adventure as enjoyable as possible, take a look at the differences between the two most popular footwear options. Make an informed decision that best fits your needs.

Hiking boots are designed with wide and thick soles and a higher rise, to give you the support you need. But, they tend to be kind of heavy.

Hiking shoes have much more breathability. They also have a way shorter break-in period which means fewer blisters. But, you don’t get the ankle support offered by a boot.

Learn more here…


The Invention of Hiking

Posted by on Apr 18, 2020 @ 7:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Invention of Hiking

The magic of the forest revealed itself slowly. Strange-looking boulders adorned the landscape “in the most diverse and bizarre forms,” wrote one observer, “like herds of monsters grazing at the bottom of a valley.” When the sun burst through winter clouds, stripes of sunlight penetrated the oaks and beeches and Scots pines, turning grayish grass an iridescent green. Tree trunks were bathed in an orange glow, and fields of dried ferns lit up in pale yellow.

For the French, the name of this forest, Fontainebleau, evokes the elaborate 1,500-room chateau at its heart. From the 12th century on, the kings of France used the site, rich in deer and wild boar and close to Paris, as a hunting ground. In the 17th century, Louis XIV launched a grand initiative to expand the forest, which was followed much later by large-scale plantings of oaks, beeches and pines. Enlarged again in 1983, the forest now covers more than 50,000 acres, an area roughly three times the size of Manhattan.

But the story of the forest’s real magician is little known. Claude-François Denecourt was a career soldier in the French Army, but was dismissed from his post as concierge of a Fontainebleau barracks in 1832 because of his supposed liberal views. He took to wandering in the forest to combat his depression and there discovered the essential pleasures of traipsing through nature. From then on, he devoted himself to developing and promoting the Fontainebleau forest for the general public. Today he should be recognized and appreciated as both a clever entrepreneur and a pioneer—if not the inventor—of nature tourism.

Read full story…


Thinking of Hitting the Trail During COVID-19? Answer These 5 Questions First.

Posted by on Apr 17, 2020 @ 6:39 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Thinking of Hitting the Trail During COVID-19? Answer These 5 Questions First.

Whether hiking, bicycling, riding on horseback or participating in motorized recreation nearly everyone uses trails for a similar goal – to spend time outdoors. This time outside, whether a short walk down a paved trail to work in an urban setting, or a hike to a point reachable to only a few Americans makes trail users happier people. We all know that spending time outdoors can improve our personal health in many ways like lessening anxiety, decreasing depression, boosting creativity, and increasing optimism.

But during this time of crisis, not all recreation is responsible. Before you go on any outdoor adventures you need to ask yourself these questions to confirm if your plans are safe and appropriate.

  1. Do I have the potential to come within six feet of people who are not a part of my household?
  2. Does this activity put me at risk for potential rescue, straining local resources?
  3. Am I coming into contact with surfaces that can hold and transfer the virus?
  4. ill this put me in closer contact with vulnerable populations, such as those with compromised immune systems, persons over the age of 65, or those who are pregnant?
  5. Do I need to travel outside of my local community to do this?

If you can answer YES to ANY of these questions, please alter your plans to keep your community safe by finding another form of recreation, a different location, or staying home.

More details here…


50 States, 50 Trails: The Ultimate Hiking Guide For When The Trails Reopen

Posted by on Apr 15, 2020 @ 7:15 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

50 States, 50 Trails: The Ultimate Hiking Guide For When The Trails Reopen

You’re sick of sheltering in place. We’re all sick of sheltering in place.

But it’s what is necessary right now to flatten the curve, and we’re all in this together.

So, while we’re all reading this in our pajamas, completely unsure what day it is, and even though all trails might be closed until further notice, here are some of the best hikes in all 50 states based on recommendations from local hiking experts, and lengthy research.

Just because we’re all stuck indoors now doesn’t mean we’ll be stuck indoors forever. And without people on the trails now, they’ll be even more beautiful than ever when it’s time to explore them again… hopefully.

So, here’s to hiking again one day, when the time is right, and dreaming about some of the country’s most beautiful trails until then.

See the list…


Pisgah National Forest Temporarily Shutting Down Dispersed Camping and Several Roads and Trails

Posted by on Apr 14, 2020 @ 6:49 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Pisgah National Forest Temporarily Shutting Down Dispersed Camping and Several Roads and Trails

In alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure health and safety of its employees, visitors and volunteers, Pisgah National Forest will temporarily shut down dispersed camping and the roads and trails listed at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nfsnc/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD724408 effective April 13, 2020.

Forest order number 08-11-07-20-071 prohibits being on certain roads and trails, entering or using a developed recreation site, or camping on the Pisgah National Forest until August 13, 2020, or until rescinded.

Other recreation opportunities on the Nantahala, Uwharrie, and Croatan National Forests in North Carolina remain available to the public. To protect public health and safety all visitors to the forest are encouraged to:

Avoid visiting the forest if you are sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and during your visit to the forest.
Take your trash with you when you leave. Trash overflowing the receptacles becomes litter and can be harmful to wildlife and attract predators.
Please make arrangements to use the restroom before or after your visit to the forest. Unmanaged waste creates a health hazard for employees and for other visitors.
If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location. Also consider avoiding the forest during high-use periods.

The USDA Forest Service continues to assess and temporarily suspend access to recreation areas that attract large crowds and cannot meet social distancing guidelines. Visitors to national forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at: www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

Guthook’s New Social Feature: An Overview and Early Analysis

Posted by on Apr 12, 2020 @ 7:10 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Guthook’s New Social Feature: An Overview and Early Analysis

The release of Guthook’s new Check-In Social Feature was fuel for the fire of our thoughts and discussion around how we socialize on and off trail.

According to Guthook’s website, the new feature is “a way to keep in touch with family and friends back home or to follow the progress of your tramily while hiking.” Hikers can document their journeys with a series of GPS check-ins, which friends and family can then follow.

Now, in this pandemic limbo we’re all living in, online platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and the also-newly-released Hikerlink have become even more solidified in their power to keep us connected outside the physical world, where the functionality of the Guthook social feature is completely reliant on our ability to physically explore the trails.

Though it’s still unclear how long it will be before we can actually use it, Guthook’s new social feature will undoubtedly be a prominent feature of trail life once it starts back up in full force. To give us all something to ponder, here’s an overview of the new feature and some thoughts on how it could integrate into the social dynamics of backpacking.


Now is good time to offer Intro to Hiking 101

Posted by on Apr 10, 2020 @ 6:15 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Now is good time to offer Intro to Hiking 101

So how do you get started? What’s preventing you from getting outside and taking that first hike: Time, money, gear, skills? Even if you’re a complete outdoor newbie, or someone who has trekked for a while, perhaps this will help.

One of the first issues to tackle is where to go. Start with easy trails. A mile or two at first; maybe just some walks around town, graduating to woodsy trails when you feel your conditioning has developed enough to tackle uneven terrain.

Regardless of the town you call home, there are local trails for the beginner as well as the experienced. Call your chamber of commerce, state forest office, or yellow pages outfitter. The information is free.

Get your body in decent shape by walking and doing some gentle stretching. Regularly being out on a easy trail will also help you get into shape. Don’t push yourself at first. You can do the tough stuff later when you are in good shape.

You may feel like you’re not in good enough shape to go hiking, especially if you decide to go with friends who’ve been doing it for a while. You may be right, but you don’t have to be capable of running a marathon or be a serious athlete.

Read full story…


The best travel films for hikers and nature lovers to watch during self-quarantine

Posted by on Apr 9, 2020 @ 6:35 am in Film Reviews, Hiking News | 0 comments

The best travel films for hikers and nature lovers to watch during self-quarantine

While some may miss the bustling chaos of city life during the worldwide lockdown, others sheltering in place can’t wait to break out of their cabins and into the great outdoors — void of walls and screens.

It may be awhile before we can break free and run wild — and in less than 6 feet of one another. But in the meantime, we can turn to storytellers and movie makers who have made some of the world’s most stunning, natural surroundings into secondary characters in their films.

In many of the movies, a protagonist sets off on a solo adventure that becomes a rite of passage. In both Wild and The Way, the main characters (played by Reese Witherspoon and Martin Sheen respectively) try to deal with grief and loss by hitting the trails on hiking trips.

In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Ben Stiller’s character heads to the otherworldly landscape of Iceland on an impulse in search of adventure and to break with monotony.

In 127 Hours, the stunning canyons of Utah serve as the background for a dramatic mountain climbing trip gone horribly wrong. The film stars James Franco and is based on a true story.



“Through the Great Southwest:” A Documentary about The Arizona Trail

Posted by on Apr 8, 2020 @ 6:49 am in Film Reviews, Hiking News | 0 comments

“Through the Great Southwest:” A Documentary about The Arizona Trail

Through the Great Southwest is a newly released documentary film in which Darwin Rakestraw makes his directorial debut, in partnership with the Arizona Trail Association. The film follows the community behind the 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT) that spans the length of Arizona, between Mexico and Utah.

A trail deeply diverse in geography and history, the AZT is truly a modern multipurpose trail—loved and used by an array of hikers, runners, riders, equestrians, and supporters from across the state. The film showcases the stunning landscapes of the trail, while exploring the impact this path has on users and community members.

In just 40 minutes, the film encourages people to participate in a broader conversation about the trail and its community. In a uniquely thoughtful manner, the film highlights the people most intimately involved with the AZT, like Matt Nelson, Executive Director of the ATA, and Rob Bauer, the volunteer who has made nearly 100 iconic gates for the Arizona Trail.

Unlike other short trail documentaries before it, Through the Great Southwest focuses on the faces behind the scenes that give these iconic trails the energy and direction (quite literally) hikers see as end-users. It leaves the viewer with a deep sense of gratitude not only for the beauty of the trail itself, but the community members and advocates who are deeply proud to have put this trail on the map.

See trailer here…


The Best Backpacking Tents According to Thru-Hikers

Posted by on Apr 4, 2020 @ 6:23 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Best Backpacking Tents According to Thru-Hikers

To pinpoint the best backpacking tents, look for sage advice from thru-hikers who’ve tracked the toughest, longest miles with their gear.

Thru-hikers haul their kit for thousands of miles through a spectrum of weather, terrain, wildlife, and obstacles. At a trek’s end, gear is either a benediction or extraneous dead weight. A handful of impressive thru-hikers help you find the best backpacking tents on the market.

One thing to look for is that the shelter’s frame is established with tent poles rather than trekking poles. With tent poles, the shelter remains stable and doesn’t collapse under extreme gusts, and you aren’t doubling up on weight.

Whether you’re establishing a lightweight backpacking setup or preparing for your inaugural thru-hike, this guide is for you.

Here are the best backpacking tents according to thru-hikers from around the globe…


Hiking voted best recreation activity at Lake Tahoe

Posted by on Apr 3, 2020 @ 6:28 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking voted best recreation activity at Lake Tahoe

After the final tally of votes, hiking is the most beloved outdoor recreational activity at Lake Tahoe.

Hiking beat out skiing/snowboarding in a close vote in the championship round to claim the recreation crown.

It was a heavy-hitting semifinals with kayaking and mountain biking just falling short and finishing third and fourth, respectively.

Other activities in the contest included waterskiing, trail running, swimming, disc golf, golf, boating, road biking, fishing, camping, stand up paddle, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

But then we knew that, didn’t we?



‘Forest bathing’ is path to peace

Posted by on Apr 2, 2020 @ 7:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

‘Forest bathing’ is path to peace

Shinrin-yoku. The term originated in Japan.

In the 1980s this label was attached to a physiological and psychological exercise. It translates to “forest bathing” — simply absorbing and appreciating the atmosphere of a forest.

You don’t have to immerse yourself in some far-off wilderness. Just walking in any natural environment and making an effort to connect with your surroundings is beneficial.

Some of us may be lucky enough to live in an area where we can simply step out our back door to enjoy some quietude, serenity and clean, crisp, fresh air. Maybe you live within walking distance of a park or trailhead.

Think trailheads for clearing your head. A little mental floss to momentarily flick those little nagging, negative thoughts out of the crevices in our brain.

Take some deep breaths as you walk, jog or bike. It will remind you that the world is still turning on its axis, that birds still sing, squirrels scamper and dogs bark after them.

The Japanese had two goals for shinrin-yoku: to relieve workday stress and reconnect people with their natural resources, to inspire an appreciative and protective culture.

Please wait, though, until it is once again safe to resume your forest bathing.



Some common sense tips to keep you (and others) safe when hiking

Posted by on Mar 30, 2020 @ 6:40 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Some common sense tips to keep you (and others) safe when hiking

Good hygiene and maintaining the appropriate social distance are central themes in this checklist of recommendations for hikers during this time of COVID-19:

Keep your hands clean. Use wet wipes and hand sanitizer. Better yet, use biodegradable soap and water to scrub your hands, well away from water sources, of course.

Don’t share anything. Your utensils, cup, bowl and water bottles are yours alone. Keep the errant fingers of others out of your GORP or Fritos bag.

Don’t touch. Keep fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid contact with trail registers, picnic tables, benches, outhouse doors and seats, shelter surfaces, but if you can’t, wash very carefully afterward.

Cover your mouth. Properly direct your cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm or into a tissue (pack it out) or bandanna.

Keep your distance. Maintain social distance — six feet is the current directive — between you and other hikers, on the trail and at natural gathering points like trail junctions, viewpoints and rest stops. If you meet other hikers on the trail, give them space and a smile and wave.

Senior or existing medical condition? If you’re over 60 or have a chronic medical condition (say, heart disease or diabetes), you have a greater than average risk of complications from COVID-19, making it all the more critical to practice social distancing.

Feeling sick? If you know you’re sick or are feeling so, strictly avoid any contact with other hikers. Don’t go hiking in the first place, it need not be said, but if you’re already on a hike, pack it up and head for home.

Camping. Avoid trailside shelters. Dispersed camping well away from other parties is best.

Leave No Trace. You know the seven principles, so keep them in mind, especially “Dispose of Waste Properly.” Correctly handling your #2 demands the use of a backpacker trowel.

Getting to the trail. Try to hike locally. Carpooling is out (except with members of your own household) and taking separate cars is in. Don’t congregate at the trailhead.

Solo hiking. Given the current circumstances, you may find yourself going hiking alone, maybe for the first time ever. Make sure you’re properly prepared and exercise due caution on the trail.