Sunday, August 02, 2020

Camping in a Pandemic

 H needed a change of scenery and was not willing to completely give up on summer vacations, so she scheduled us for a camping trip in New Hampshire. It was one of the few states that didn't have strict 14 day quarantine policies to enter. It also was on the list of states that would not force us to quarantine for 14 days upon return. We were not going to spend 4 weeks locked up in our house for 4 nights sleeping on the ground. I need my daily walk or bike ride. H needs to get out for an occasional curbside pick-up. Bug needs to go to gymnastics.

I was not really comfortable spending any time in a crowded campground or staying anywhere other than my comfy COVID free bedroom. Sure outside is safer than inside and keeping space from other humans is pretty easy when camping, I just was not really prepared to spend time surrounded by strangers.

When we got the to the site, I stayed masked the entire time I was setting up camp and monitoring our neighbors for any signs of wandering over or coughing.... I think the girls were laughing at me.

Once dinner rolled around I did take the mask off. I began to feel pretty confident that our site was isolated enough that no COVID was going to waft our way. I wasn't entirely relaxed.

The next day, I spent most of the day at the site or biking. I did ride up the to pool with Kenzie. The other people were doing the right things and keeping good space. Of course none of them were wearing masks. I vacated as soon as H showed up and went off in search of the kayak launch.

The second day was kayak day. Danforth Bay is fresh water, fairly flat, but there was plenty of space to cover. The weather was also in my favor. It was warm, but not too sunny with a nice breeze.

The most nerve wracking part of the trip was putting in and taking out. The ramp was small and people kept traipsing through the launch area to get from the beach to the fishing spot. Of course there was not a mask in site - except mine.

Once on the water, I felt much more comfortable. I kept my mask on mostly because I wasn't sure what else to do with it. The paddling was more about relaxation and distance than adrenaline. I worked on my forward stroke and practiced some basic boat handling skills.

I also stared in awe at all the party boats overflowing with unmasked people and the huge houses full of unmasked people. There was even a full summer camp with what looked like a 100 kids all marching around and playing games with no masks. It felt like I had left 2020 for 2019. Either that or people just were ignoring the public health crisis unfolding around them.

Regardless I stayed well off shore and avoided any and all boats that wandered into my path. I figured between the distance, the sun, the breeze, and my mask I was safe.

Even with the slight stress of COVID I was able to enjoy a few hours out on the water. It wasn't sea kayaking, but it was kayaking.

Of course when I got back Bug wanted to hang at the beach and H had spent all day watching her already...

There were only two or three other parties at the beach and they were staying mostly separate. The problem was that they were big groups, with adults enjoying adult beverages, kids wandering about, and zero masks. It was uncomfortable, but I managed to find a low traffic area. Bug wanted me closer to the water, but was willing to take what she got.

One group was by far the most interesting. There were eight adults and ten kids under the age of 8. All of the adults were drinking freely and the kids were everywhere. The adult conversation was mostly about how hard it was to keep the kids from playing too close to their friends and why teachers should stop being babies and get back to doing their jobs....

I was happy to call it quits and get back to our site when dinner was ready.

Packing up was easy and the most pleasant camp breakdown ever. I was more than ready to leave and return to my safe little bubble. H and K enjoyed the getting out of the house for a few days, so it was worth the stress. I also enjoyed not staring at the same four walls, but am not sure that it was worth it for me.

I am privileged enough to live in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood with wide streets that are pleasant to walk. I have easy access to plenty of great biking and several decent, not crowded, fresh water launches. In other words, I have all the recreation I need close to home in environments I have a lot of control over. For right now, that seems pretty vacation-like for me.

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