Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had planned, prepped and then travelled through 8 Eastern States, hiking, bikepacking, backcountry and car camping.for the month of June.
I anticipated some of what I experienced, was surprised by some things and saddened by others. Each State handled a variety of things differently.
Some say that I fly by the seat of my pants…I tag myself “Flexibly Spontaneous.” Some States had their state park websites “down” so last minute online reservations were not an option. Though I did find most 800 reservation lines very helpful. On too many occasions campgrounds were booked solid…or I secured the last available (read: undesirable) campsite…or as in two States, campgrounds had just opened the day before or the day I showed up on the doorstep. I was not prepared for that possibility or probability.
I was surprised by the “covering” or “removal” (albeit likely temporary) of water sources (common area spigots and drinking fountains). That wasn’t the case on the GAP Trail or on the Greenbrier River Trail, but it was at State Parks. A minor inconvenience and still workable.
What saddened me was the economic fallout. Trail towns severely hit, storefront and restaurants closed…with far too many forever shuttered and lost…people’s livelihoods shattered and hurting.
But I will end on a positive. Twenty five straight days of Backpacking, bikepacking, hiking and camping still stirred and replenished my heart, soul and mind. I still was blessed by meeting wonderful people enjoying the same. I was infinitely encouraged in seeing a huge segment of people much older than myself out there logging nature miles (and I long to return to my younger, fitter and stronger 50’s).
Perhaps “flexible spontaneity” isn’t your style, no worries…you can still find places to camp, home and enjoy nature…it just may take greater creativity with a smidge of flexibility.
What have you experienced thus far?