By now, we all know that we need to stay at home and practice social distancing to slow the spread of this horrible COVID-19 virus. In our house, we're following the advice of authorities – remaining in our suburb; only leaving the house for work, grocery shopping, and exercise; and only hanging out with each other when we do go outside for the latter. The distancing has inspired us to alter our usual routes somewhat, gravitating towards walkways that have less people using them, even though these paths don’t always have the best views.
Overall, the social distancing hasn’t been that tough, but I did feel a bit restless at times over the past couple days, just knowing that, for the first weekend ever, we couldn’t drive to our favourite beach. Of course, doing everything we can to keep ourselves and our fellow Australians healthy is the most important thing right now, but I think feelings of restlessness in this situation are normal and it's best to acknowledge and try to deal with them.
On a positive note, being home more has given me extra time to work on projects I’ve wanted to do for awhile. One thing was putting together a video for a song, ‘Wilder Trails’, which I wrote nearly a year ago.
I was inspired to write it after completing the Tasmanian Walking Company’s Cradle Mountain Huts walk along the Overland Track in Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. You can read my story about the experience here. (The photo above is from the ascent up Mt Ossa, Tasmania's highest mountain and a side trip along the Overland Track.)
This was the second time my husband and I had embarked on this six-day walk – the first was 18 years before, when we’d walked it independently, carrying all our own gear. I found myself enormously grateful to be in this beautiful part of the world again, enjoying a more luxurious (though still challenging) version of the experience, with both of us still fit and healthy enough to set out on adventures such as this. The song is about yearning to revisit trails and other beautiful outdoor spots, escaping the confines of our houses and venturing into the wilderness. I wasn't restricted to my home and suburb when I wrote it, but its opening lines, 'These buildings shelter me, but also crowd my soul,' have added meaning now. (Though I'm doing everything I can to keep my mind and spirit healthy, peaceful, and 'uncrowded' during this time.)
We can’t venture out and embrace the hikes we love (or set out on any new ones) right now, but when this crisis is over, all of us who love the outdoors will be out there again, on wilder trails (and not-so-wild ones), appreciating the freedom and ability to be there more than ever.
Most photos up to about the 2:20 mark in the video are from the Overland Track, Mt Ossa, and other areas of Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park (Australia). From 2:20-3:03, the scenes are from Virginia (including McAfee Knob and Sharp Top). And the remaining photos are from various locations: Nepal, Queensland, Tasmania, Colorado, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Ireland, Scotland, Austria, and Italy.
Thanks for listening, watching, and reading this post. I hope the song and the mountain photos make you smile, appreciate the trails you’ve been lucky enough to experience thus far, and daydream about what your first adventure might be when it’s finally safe again to have one.
Thank you to everyone on the front lines during this crisis – particularly the health care professionals who are endeavouring to save lives, and also everyone working in our grocery stores, delivering items, and providing other essential services.