Coronavirus Blog #7: Camping in March?

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If you caught yesterday’s blog, you will know that it is my children’s birthdays this weekend, tomorrow and then two days after that.

Today is March 20, 2020.

My original plans for the birthday celebrations were thwarted by the virus, but I wasn’t too put out about it. I really kind of hate kid parties and having to spend hundreds of dollars on party stuff when the kids would be happier and better off outside or at the park.

I had made alternative plans to go camping because the weather looked good and the activity didn’t violate any social distancing policies.

Until the campground we planned to go to got closed unexpectedly and suddenly by the governor.

I’d found an alternative place to camp, an area that we’d driven by many times but never explored.

I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out.

Or if the campground would even be open by the time we got there.

Embarking into the unknown

Before we left, standing next to the truck full of gear, food, toys, and clothing, I had a chat with the kids about the possibilities.

I told them that we could get there and find the campground closed, and that we’d have to come back home.

I told them that the virus might make it hard for us to do the things we might otherwise want to do (like stop and grab snacks or use public restrooms).

I wanted to reassure them that I was in control, and that I’d already thought of everything.

I was probably trying to reassure myself.

Because the truth was….we were leaving the comfort and security of our little town. What would it be like where we were going, or on the way? Would people still be crowding the stores? Would the roads be full or deserted?

Quiet driving on the trip through the mountains

Turns out, my worries about the travel were unfounded. The roads were dry, warm, and basically clear of traffic. Not ghostly empty, but just much less than you would expect for the eve of spring break.

I kept a close eye on the road as usually (twisty mountain passes can be treacherous at all times of the year), but enjoyed the site of the road unfurling ahead of me without the clog of other cars, trucks, campers, boats, and ATVs.

It was a beautiful drive, and the kids fought only minimally as I was able to get an audiobook turned on to capture their attentions before they turned on each other.

We drove straight to the campground (only 90 minutes in the car) and when we got there, we found the place basically deserted.

Deserted…..but open.

I made sure to talk to the camp host when we rolled in to make sure that I hadn’t missed something.

The campground was open. It was a beautiful, sunny spring day, and we had the run of the place.

Let the camping commence

So we unpacked! As I pulled out the totes and tubs, I felt a push to try and get it all unloaded and the tents up, so it would be less likely that someone would try to kick us out.

I’m not sure why.

The kids helped marginally, complained as kids always do about the work and helping and carrying.

But once the chairs were in place around the cold fire pit, and all the tents were up, and the cooler wrangled to the picnic table area, I felt like we’d made it.

Like we’d won something.

Overcome something.

Couldn’t be stopped.

It’s strange, but that’s how I felt.

It was really empty though…very strange

We jumped on our scooters and raced around the campground after everything was set up, and so that I could pay for the spot at the fee station.

As the kids screamed in delight (riding their scooters at make-mom’s-hair-gray-speed down the hills), I marveled at the empty sites all around us. Out of 40 sites, there were only a few other cars, and most of the people were huddled around fishing poles by the day use lake.

I thought about what the area would normally look like during spring break. Stuffed full of RVs, lots of retired people and families and barking dogs and music.

It sure was peaceful, but I felt sorrow for the people would not be camping this spring, or perhaps at all this year.

Dealing with haters

After getting all set up, I got out my phone to post a photo on the ‘gram about our adventure.

I didn’t actually publish anything. Instead, I spent several minutes scrolling through posts by my friends and family about how irresponsible it was for people to be leaving their homes and going outside, and shaming people for going to trails, beaches, and lakes.

I looked around me, checking to make sure I wasn’t missing something.

My kids and I were healthy. And I definitely understood the fact that people can have the virus and be completely asymptomatic.

But I also knew about the transmission of the virus.

There wasn’t a single stranger or other person within 100 yards of us in the campground. And even if it had been full, there still wouldn’t have been any trouble with maintaining a 10-15 foot barrier between us.

I knew that we wouldn’t have any contact with other people, and that there would be more risk to us in going to the local grocery store and waiting in line for hours for toilet paper than there was for us riding scooters around on the deserted roads.

I decided to put my phone away, and focus on the kids for the rest of our trip.

After all….who knows what will happen in the next few weeks or even months. Our camping trip might be the last chance to go on an adventure we love so much as a family. To run around in the woods and scream like mad flying down a hill.

To follow along the next stage of our camping adventure, check out the daily post in my Living in a Coronavirus World journal.

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