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  1. #1
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Default COVID contingency plan

    I was planning to do a BMT/AT loop hike this spring but canceled because of the pandemic. I am thinking about trying this fall if things improve. One thing that is holding me back is a contingency plan if I would contract COVID-19. I am wondering for those currently on the trail or those planning an upcoming hike for an extended period of time if you have developed any kind of COVID plan? What would you do if you exhibited symptoms? Would you get tested, and if so, how? How do you get to a testing site 20 miles away without ride sharing or public transportation? If you are sick and the symptoms are mild do you self isolate? What do you do for food for 10 days? Do you go home? If so, how do you get there? If you become infected do you notify others you may have come in contact with? How? I know some will say the trail is safe but that is probably what the people who attended the Michigan lake party thought. The first principle of Leave No Trace is to plan ahead and prepare.
    More walking, less talking.

  2. #2
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    Your questions are very good ones, and the likelihood of most -- or any -- long-distance hikers actually having a COVID plan and any ability to answer these questions is practically nil. Which is precisely why the organizations that oversee trails such as the AT, PCT, etc. have "shut down" the trails and have been encouraging folks to stay off the trails.

    My heart goes out to all those people who planned for this year to be Their Year, and the miserable dilemma many are facing.
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  3. #3

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    If I suspected I had Covid-19 I wouldn't get tested. I would get into town and wear a mask to protect others. A fit person has little to fear. I would certainly consider carrying the hydroxychloriquine/Z-pak/zinc. About 99% of folks who think they have Covid-19 don't so hole up in a motel for a few days to see what develops. Don't risk breaking down on the trail and having to be rescued.

  4. #4

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    If you come down with symptoms, no need to get tested as it's a 99% chance your done in. The question is will you be one who needs fossilization (damn spell check, but close enough) and how fast will that come on? Apparently it can come on rather quickly. The other problem is, your highly contagious for a number of days before you even think your sick. That's why it's important for everyone to wear a mask.

    You should get tested before leaving for the hike to make sure your not in an incubation stage. Even if negative, don't travel from a "Hot Spot". Avoid being in any iffy risk situations while traveling to the trail. Don't hike in or travel through any "hot spot" areas. (like 80% of the country right now). If you do get infected on the way, it could be nearly 2 weeks before you notice and if the trip is only a week long, you'd be home by then. And likely infecting everyone you meet on the way home.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the situation will be much better in the fall unless ALL people start doing the right thing. What's the chances of that happening?
    Last edited by Slo-go'en; 07-17-2020 at 19:26.
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  5. #5
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    If you can self isolate for 2 weeks prior to your hike and solo hike with no interactions with others, you should have " no fear but fear itself ". And no disrespect but at your age you really need to be careful. I canceled my section hikes for this year i was gonna do Erwin to Hampton and Colorado
    Last edited by JNI64; 07-17-2020 at 19:48.

  6. #6
    Registered User greentick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    If you come down with symptoms, no need to get tested as it's a 99% chance your done in.

    99% chance of being done in? You're better off just staying at the house

    JNI64's suggestion is reasonable.

    I have no idea as to your comorbities (no need to share) but I've been seeing pretty much everyone pulling through, including some with serious comorbid conditions. If you are up to hiking that hike you are probably in a lot better condition than them.

    Do a good map recon, have bail out routes identified with road accessible pick up points. If all else fails you can bail to pickup point and call an ambulance.

    In my family we always say "when your time comes, your time comes..." Good luck in your decision making.
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    It's gonna be ok.

    Ditch Medicine: wash your hands and keep your booger-pickers off your face!

  7. #7
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    The first principle of Leave No Trace is to plan ahead and prepare.


    i think with this line you've answered the other questions you had in the OP.......

    with that many concerns, the safest thing to do is to stay at home and wait this thing out...

    especially seeing how now (and yeah, it could change for the better.............or get worse) the south is a top hot spot.....

  8. #8

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    Yea, good chance of being done in, at least for a while. Lots of people take 3-4 weeks to recover and still have long term damage to internal organs. Just because you don't die doesn't mean you don't suffer. This is nothing to scoff at. You'd think hikers are in better shape and have fewer risk factors then the average American, but what I've seen on the trail, that is often not the case as they are an "average American".

    We are back to peak tourist levels in the Whites. Makes me a little nervous going to the store and I avoid trails with overflowing parking lots.
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  9. #9
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Right now the chance of doing my planned hike this fall is slim. But before I totally ruled it out I thought I would try to find out how others have addressed this concern. My guess is that most people doing a long distance hike right now or planning one for the near future are hoping for the best and not planning for the worst. I think carrying an unapproved drug that the FDA has cautioned against using is not the answer. In my original plan the hike was planned to last 3-4 weeks. My resupply along the BMT would mostly be accomplished thru mail drops. I had planned no town stays along the BMT. This was planned before COVID was on the horizon. The AT is a different story and this is where I see the greatest potential for infection. It is impossible to hike for 3-4 weeks without encountering other people.
    More walking, less talking.

  10. #10

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    Seems like there are two key issues:

    Can you do a hike as safely as you live at home?

    What do you do if you catch it, or think you catch it on the trail?

    On the first, seems like if you keep resupply to the same frequency of grocery shopping you do today, that should be okay. Assuming folk in trail towns mask at same rate as your home town. Would avoid bunkhouse style hostels, where you are breathing in enclosed space with others for a long time. Would probably avoid shelters unless I was sure I was solo, or just one other hiker on the opposite side from me. It doesn’t sound like surface transmission is common, so would exercise normal hygiene in regards to that issue. You are probably more socially distant on the trail than at home.

    On the second question, that’s tougher. If you came to the trail clean and caught it, then the virus is probably running in that area already. At the point you’ve become concerned about possibly having the virus, self evacuate as much as possible. Be transparent with any source of help or transportation about your concerns and let them help or not. And you have to accept you are taking a time to treatment delay risk.

  11. #11
    Registered User greentick's Avatar
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    OP, you are definitely asking the right questions. All comes down to risk management.

    I have all sorts of training and real world experience. My wife puts her foot down as far as solo hiking (which I don't mind, I prefer hiking w my hiking buds anyways). I got 8 kids at home, she worries not about my skills as much as the "X factor" like precipitous anvils (ie random events) lol. Now the kids are getting old/big enough to be viable hiking buds as well.
    nous défions

    It's gonna be ok.

    Ditch Medicine: wash your hands and keep your booger-pickers off your face!

  12. #12
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    This is why I cancelled my planned LASH from Harper's Ferry to Pawling in May. For now I am only doing solo day hikes and carry an inReach.

    May be 2021 or May be 2022. Oh well, there are still over 300 miles of Smokies trails that I have not yet done

  13. #13

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    This thread s in SF and the topic is contingency planning should the hiker contract Covid-19. Keep it on topic. Just because a poster veers off topic is not license for the next posters to do so as well.
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