Hiking plans during the COVID crisis

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
Nemo
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Hiking plans during the COVID crisis

Post by Nemo » July 28th, 2020, 9:35 pm

First off, I'm not interested in starting or getting into a debate regarding the validity of COVID as a health threat nor the politics of it all. I know there are strong views held by many regarding the whole situation. Not interested in addressing that here. My questions are simply: What are your overnight hiking plans this year, given the current state of affairs? Have your overnight hiking plans changed from what you were originally going to do, and if so, how so? As for me, it's going to be solo all the way. I am working on some plans for a local hike or two and possibly a trip to the Yosemite area during the first week of October, with a backup plan of hiking a section of the PCT here in central Oregon.

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retired jerry
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Re: Hiking plans during the COVID crisis

Post by retired jerry » July 29th, 2020, 5:23 am

I stay within half tank of gas so I dont need to stop for that. Usually

Normally, I'd stop for a burger or breakfast but not now

Try to avoid those busy freeway rest areas. Have mask.

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teachpdx
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Re: Hiking plans during the COVID crisis

Post by teachpdx » July 29th, 2020, 6:21 am

I'm not backpacking as often as I normally would. And I am shifting to remote destinations instead of popular ones (doing the Elkhorn Crest this weekend). I keep a mask in my pocket and put it on whenever passing another group. So far, so good.

I have a 100-miler planned in Yellowstone in mid-September. We will be visiting the Thorofare, which is the most remote part of the park (in fact, the most remote area in the continental US). All permits are being issued remotely, and we will do dispersed car camping on the drive there and back, so our interaction with other humans should be minimal for those 13 days. It'll be my partner and a friend joining me, the only real change is that my friend will be driving there separately and will keep some distance on the trail.
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drm
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Re: Hiking plans during the COVID crisis

Post by drm » July 29th, 2020, 6:23 am

Since my trips usually are solo and to less popular areas anyway, I haven't been affected much. And if I have the chance to patronize a small local business that is probably struggling to survive for a takeout sandwich, I will do so. The biggest change is that I usually do some volunteer trips with Forest Service Rangers and none of that is happening this year.

pcg
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Re: Hiking plans during the COVID crisis

Post by pcg » July 29th, 2020, 6:44 am

My wife and I have carried on as usual. We stick to remote areas and are usually off-trail so rarely see anyone anyway. We can get there and back on a tank of fuel. The one big change that will affect us is that we typically spend September in BC. This year I'm not sure if we'll be able to cross the border.

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retired jerry
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Re: Hiking plans during the COVID crisis

Post by retired jerry » July 29th, 2020, 7:29 am

where do you go in BC?

the last time we were there was Sept 10, 2001. Got across border just before they closed it for a while

pcg
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Re: Hiking plans during the COVID crisis

Post by pcg » July 29th, 2020, 12:59 pm

retired jerry wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 7:29 am
where do you go in BC?
We've been going since around the same time, in 2000, when our youngest child was old enough to hike, and the remote areas have really changed since then - more RV parks and heli ski lodges are springing up, especially in the Bella Coola Valley. We've spent time around Stuart and into SE Alaska, and also around Prince Rupert, but the last few years we've fallen into kind of a rut that we like. We start off with about two weeks in the Bella Coola Valley (we usually drive both ways, but splurged and took the ferry from Port Hardy once - a great 14 hr trip) where we drive up high on 4x4 roads and day hike, using our truck w/pop-up camper as a base camp. We also spend a few days down in the valley at an RV Park to do laundry and watch bears along the Atnarko and Bella Coola Rivers. The last few years the Bella Coola Trail Alliance has started building new trails into the alpine and improving older ones. We like to get up high where the brush is not too heavy, and the newer trails give good access to those higher areas that aren't accessible by 4x4. Otherwise getting there means bushwhacking all day long up steep wet hillsides. September is a good time to do this because most bears are down in the valley looking for salmon.

After a couple weeks we head inland and will typically do short backpacks into Tuidsmeer Provincial Park and Wells Gray Provincial Park. You could easily spend a lifetime exploring each of those. Last year, in eight days of hiking we saw nine grizzly bears and one other hiker. I said hi to him and he said nothing. So, if you like wild and remote this is paradise! Those parks, and the Bella Coola Valley, are our favorite areas. We've done day hikes around Jasper and Revelstoke and will never return - too many people. We've explored about half of the Provincial Parks south of there, and there are dozens of them. You will encounter other hikers there, because they aren't as remote. Most of the parks close Oct. 1 and it is snowing by then in the high country so then we head down into Okanagan country and then into WA and Pasayten Wilderness if the weather permits. We look forward to this every fall, but this year they say they don't want us... :)
Last edited by pcg on July 29th, 2020, 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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retired jerry
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Re: Hiking plans during the COVID crisis

Post by retired jerry » July 29th, 2020, 2:04 pm

I've been to many of those places. BC has a lot of great places to see.

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drm
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Re: Hiking plans during the COVID crisis

Post by drm » July 29th, 2020, 2:24 pm

And it's only a 900 mile drive to Bella Coola! The place has been on my list for a long time, maybe doing a loop taking the ferry one way. I like road trips to a degree, but that adds a lot of time off work. Nice to know there are decent trails if I ever get there. A bit closer drive there are some great hikes on Vancouver Island. I like Strathcona PP.

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jessbee
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Re: Hiking plans during the COVID crisis

Post by jessbee » July 29th, 2020, 2:41 pm

Sounds like what I've been doing is inline with all the responses here: hiking solo or with one person, going of trail, to not popular places and staying within one tank of gas with no random stops in small towns if possible.

This is not much different than normal for me minus the one gas tank rule. I cancelled my trip to Glacier national park and am not doing any road trips this year. I also haven't been doing any climbing to avoid groups and unnecessary risk.

But that has opened up a world of really fun and interesting hiking locally. I've been diving into all my wilderness maps and crafting new routes far from the top ten lists and loving every second of it.

When I must be on a trail near other people I wear a buff and pull that up over my face while passing or pull way off the trail. But I prefer to avoid people, COVID or not.
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