As the sun stays out but we are forced to stay in, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have to start finding cures for cabin fever as well as COVID-19. I’ve found that laying on the couch watching Netflix was great for two days, but now that I’m on day four and UK classes have been moved to online for the Spring semester, I needed some alternatives. Getting outdoors may be one of the best ways to get through this time without putting yourself or others in danger.
Oftentimes, “social distancing” is the exact reason many of us get a hankering to go outside, with or without a virus on the loose. If you aren’t one of the people who has an innate urge to get outdoors, maybe this would be a good time to give it a try.
I feel even the most indoorsiest among us will be tested by the upcoming weeks where even walks to class won’t be happening. Taking a hike can be a great option whether or not you are a nature lover. It can be a good form of exercise that frees you from germy gyms and can boost your immune system to help protect you from illness.
Lucky for us, the temperatures are warming up, daylight is making a reappearance, and flowers are popping up all over the place. To make it even better, Kentucky has many options for getting closer to nature but far from people in its many parks and preserves. You can find yourself miles from anyone else in the 13,000-acre Clifty Wilderness or in the 125,000-acre Big South Fork National Recreation Area, while the Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve and Jefferson Memorial Forest provide seclusion just minutes from Lexington and Louisville.
Take some time while you are cooped up to learn about the other natural lands near your home. The Kentucky State Parks website, the Kentucky Nature Preserves website, and AllTrails would be great places to start your research. You might be surprised what hidden gem has been waiting for you just beyond your backyard.
As you explore your newfound treasures, don’t forget to plan and prepare. If you go out alone, which we should all do sometimes, tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. If you go in groups, keep them small to minimize any potential transmission of diseases and to be courteous and considerate to other people you might encounter on the trail.
As you enjoy the spring weather and scenery, please make wise choices to protect yourself and those who are immunocompromised. If you don’t think it’s safe for yourself or others to hike, don’t.
For the rest of you, I’ll see you on the trail from six feet away.