What a strange & sad world we’re living in right now. After months of mind-numbing days at home & three trips cancelled, my state gave us the go ahead to leave. I had hoped my first trip would be to Florida to see my granddaughters whom I’ve not seen since February. But my daughter & her husband aren’t allowing any visitors yet. It’s heartbreaking.
So, my next choice was my favorite town in Colorado. They’ve opened their doors to visitors from out of state. Crested Butte was a hot spot when Covid-19 was first discovered, & they locked up tight. Some of my friends got Covid-19, but thankfully recovered quickly & fully. So, at 4:30am on the first day we could go, my 4Runner & I were headed west to camp & hike. I packed more food than normal, lots of paper towels & TP. I’m trying to limit my grocery shopping to ice & water for as long as I can. I also planned to eat out less often. I know the restaurants in Colorado are distancing the tables & most bar areas are closed. Several towns have made their main street one way; allowing restaurants & stores to set up curbside to allow more distance between customers.
Colorado has made it a requirement—not a suggestion—that masks be worn anytime you’re inside a building or outside in groups where social distancing is difficult. If you’re in a restaurant, you wear your mask to your table, to the bathroom & when you leave. It’s not hard. We wear seatbelt to save lives, don’t smoke inside most buildings, & don’t text while we drive. No one likes to wear a mask, but if this can help to stop the spread of Covid-19 & get us back to our normal lives, why not?
Crested Butte wasn’t busy yet, but there are campers & hikers out there on the trails. I was able to hike for 16 days & it was wonderful! Being on the trail, taking in the big mountain views felt amazing.
Sitting in camp with a cup of morning coffee or a campfire in the evening or looking at the big starry sky at night feels perfect. Since I most always travel solo & disperse camp, finding social distance is no big deal.
Some days the only interaction I have is on the phone with friends & family. I have had dinner or a beer or two with friends of mine since I’ve been here. But mostly, I am alone.
Today, I landed in Telluride. That’s one crowded town! I spoke…6’ away…to someone at the Visitors Center who told me camping was crazy busy here & she doubted I’d find a place. So, instead of grabbing dinner, as I’d hoped, I took off to find some dispersed camping. And, that’s where I am now, as I type this article. All I can hear is the wind & the birds & see a meadow backed by big mountains. It feels normal & right.
I think most people here in Colorado are trying to do the right thing & most businesses are reminding customers about wearing their masks & social distancing. I applaud the Governor & the counties for their leadership in trying to take precautions against Covid-19.
I have to admit, I’m nervous that we will all go into lockdown again. That’s why I’m embracing every day I get to be on the trail, or at night sleeping in my 4Runner looking up at the night sky & below those millions of twinkles, the mountain shadows.
I am still out here for an unknown amount of time, knowing it could all change quickly. I think most people out traveling now are not taking it for granted but feel fortunate for the opportunity. My time out here has changed. Besides the mask wearing & social distancing, I’m not going to breweries or sitting at the bar meeting super cool people as I normally do. I’m eating out of my ‘camper’ more & meeting fewer people. I’m just so grateful to be out here….loving & exploring nature & for a few minutes forgetting about Covid-19.
One last note. I’ve always had a couple of Buff’s to hike in, & they have come in handy for masks (you have to double them.) I’m getting quite an impressive collection of masks & Buffs as I travel around! Guess this year no t-shirts or coffee mugs; masks are the new souvenir.
Here’s to all of you…may you stay safe, healthy, happy & get to sleep under the stars sometime soon!
Vicki Hill is our “Car Camper & Trail Master” columnist, spending hundreds of nights camping in forests, on mountains & in deserts, with a view of the night sky, from the inside her 2001 Toyota 4Runner. For more of Vicki’s travels and advice, follow her at https://girlcamper.com/girl-camper-wisdom/