When social distancing and self-isolation practices are over, make it a goal to tackle some of your outdoor goals. Take that road trip, get certified in an outdoor field, learn a new skill.
Written by Gaby P.
Is social isolation life bringing you down? While social distancing is important to help slow the spread of coronavirus, by this point, we’re probably all hoping that it will end soon. As soon as it does, many of us will head for the outdoors for our next adventure. Here are some ideas for things to do in the outdoors when self-isolation is over:
1. Take Your Dream Road Trip
When social isolation finally ends, it’s the perfect time to head out on the road trip of a lifetime. Rent a van or head out in your car and hit the open road for a few weeks of adventure in the great outdoors.
Perhaps, consider linking up a handful of outdoor locales that you’ve never been to, or drive out to a mountain town you’ve always wanted to visit. A link-up of some of the five Utah National Parks is a classic option that’s great for desert-lovers, while a long drive up the Alaska Highway, through British Columbia and the Yukon, can be the perfect get-away from your hometowns.
Or, you can do that cross-country road trip, and try to hit up as many National Parks along the way. With 419 national park sites in the United Staes, you’ll have plenty to see and do as you drive from coast to coast.
2. Hike a Long-Distance Trail
If social distancing measures didn’t give you enough isolation, you might want to think about hiking a long-distance trail when things start to settle down. While there probably won’t be enough time left in the summer season to take on the Appalachian Trail (AT), Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) or Continental Divide Trail (CDT), some of the smaller trails, like the Long Trail, Colorado Trail, or John Muir trail are certainly worthy options for a 3-4 week adventure in the mountains.
Since we’re all stuck at home anyway, now’s the best time to start planning logistics for a long-distance hike (thru-hike). Even if you don’t get a chance to complete the trip this summer season, by taking the time now to get this logistics work and trail research done, you’ll be ready for your future long-distance hike at a minute’s notice.
Even if you just take on a short hike, make it interesting. Try taking a metal detector along and see what you can find.
3. Get Certified
If you’ve been looking for work in the outdoor sector or want to update your technical skillsets, consider taking a course to get certified once social isolation ends.
Keen climbers can think about becoming certified Single Pitch Instructors (SPI) or Climbing Wall Instructors (CWI) through the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA).
Or, if watersports are your thing, the American Canoe Association (ACA) offers plenty of instructor training programs to get you started in your new career. Taking one of these instructor courses can be a great way to land your first job in the outdoor industry.
If you like your job and don’t think that working in the outdoors is for you, there are still plenty of courses you can take to get certified. A wilderness medicine course through the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) or SOLO Schools is a great way to get started.
Backcountry skiers might consider taking an avalanche rescue and fundamentals course through the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). Alternatively, a Swiftwater rescue course is a must-take for all whitewater boaters.
4. Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill is always worthwhile, especially if it means you have more ways to enjoy yourself in the great outdoors. If learning how to climb, ski, paddle, or sail interests you, then there’s no better time to do so then when social isolation ends.
Once we can get out again, you can hire a local guide to help introduce you to a new outdoor activity. Local outdoor groups will also be great resources for finding affordable courses where you can learn more advanced skills, like trad climbing, within a supportive environment.
If you really want to dive right into a new outdoor pursuit, heading out on a longer, 2-4 week-long outdoor education course is your best bet. Schools like NOLS and Outward Bound offer hundreds of different expeditions where you can hone your new craft.
If you’re feeling like you really want to tackle some goals, try riding your first PNW volcano or adding some other peaks to your belt.
5. Volunteer at Your Local Park
Our beloved local parks and trails are always in need of some love and care. Volunteering to do some trail work or to clean up a local campground is a tangible way to help our favorite outdoor places get ready for the busy summer hiking season.
Since money will be tight for many organizations – especially non-profits – once social isolation is over, volunteering your time to help with trail building and park clean-up can be a great way to give back to the wild places we all love. Get in touch with your local trail association or park manager to see how you can help. You can also signup to volunteer with the National Parks Service.
6. Introduce Someone to the Outdoors
Sure, you might be jonesing to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, but chances are pretty high that you have a friend or family member that’s never really gotten to see the beauty of the natural world. Once social isolation ends, why not take them out on a hike, climb, or paddle in one of your favorite local spots?
That way, you get to enjoy some outdoor time as well as some social time. Plus, you’ll be introducing yet another person to all of the joys and excitement of outdoor adventure. What’s not to love?
These are some great options for doing something productive when returning to the outdoors. When self-isolation is over, head out there and make it a goal to, well, tackle your goals. Just remember, wait until the threat of coronavirus has dissipated to a point where local and state governments announce that it’s safe to start doing these kinds of activities again. For now, though, you can check out our list of things to do during self-isolation.
What’s the process of getting certified for the climbing part? What does it cost?