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  1. #461
    Registered User NY HIKER 50's Avatar
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    With the fact that Covid is around this means little or no maintenance was or will be done for a while. This means the trail will be overgrown in places and in others there could be blowdowns that won't be removed for some time. It may be best to check before you go.

  2. #462
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HankIV View Post
    ... no shelters and no privies seems like a pain. Although I guess Earl Shaffer did without.
    As do all the hikers on the PCT and CDT. This may push the organizations that sponsor long distance trails to move away from shelters toward more tenting areas. Whole lot cheaper to build and maintain, for one. I wouldn't feel any loss, I prefer to sleep in my tent or hammock, but I do enjoy social dinner hour at the shelters. I often have lunch at shelters, too, but if they were gone, I can hang up a tarp in 2 minutes for a dry break in bad weather. Privies could still be maintained at tenting areas, and the open privies currently on many sites aren't affected by airborne diseases.

    The mice would be sorely disappointed to see the shelters go.

  3. #463
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    Just finished re-reading this thread and also the "2021 Trail Crowding" thread. Very interesting to see how our community processed the early days of the pandemic in the USA. Lots of worry, lots of uncertainties about life and the virus and how it might affect the trail, plenty of inaccuracies (as you'd expect with a novel situation), and lots of prudent caution.

    Quite a few thru-hikers returned to the trail in May and managed to complete their journeys to Katahdin. I did a section in Virginia in late August and early September, saw few people, and it was as if the virus didn't even exist (including during shuttles, a stay at a hostel, and a stop at the Brushy Mountain Outpost). Hopefully its the same or better next year.

    The virus is serious business for those impacted or in high-risk groups, but for a large part of the demographic (younger, fitter) it was possible to continue trail life almost unchanged. 2021 might be better, since the few things impacting trail life might improve, such as Massachusetts opening shelters and allowing camping. At the moment, I'm optimistic that late next spring I'll pick up where I left off in Virginia.

  4. #464

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Roper View Post
    Just finished re-reading this thread and also the "2021 Trail Crowding" thread. Very interesting to see how our community processed the early days of the pandemic in the USA. Lots of worry, lots of uncertainties about life and the virus and how it might affect the trail, plenty of inaccuracies (as you'd expect with a novel situation), and lots of prudent caution.

    Quite a few thru-hikers returned to the trail in May and managed to complete their journeys to Katahdin. I did a section in Virginia in late August and early September, saw few people, and it was as if the virus didn't even exist (including during shuttles, a stay at a hostel, and a stop at the Brushy Mountain Outpost). Hopefully its the same or better next year.

    The virus is serious business for those impacted or in high-risk groups, but for a large part of the demographic (younger, fitter) it was possible to continue trail life almost unchanged. 2021 might be better, since the few things impacting trail life might improve, such as Massachusetts opening shelters and allowing camping. At the moment, I'm optimistic that late next spring I'll pick up where I left off in Virginia.
    That's a bit of a rosy picture Dan, part of where your perception of conditions were possibly influenced by a lack of adherence to local conditions at the time. For instance, VA has had an indoor public space mask order since around Memorial Day. People should have been wearing masks at the hostel and the Outpost during your visit. Which would have been obvious if they were. You mention the trail in MA, camping was closed around the beginning of July. It would be great to know some LEGAL strategies for getting through those 100 or so miles in MA on a thruhike. Yes people did continue thruhiking, but that does not mean they didn't ignore local regulations to do so. There are quarantines for travelers throughout the Northeast states, sometimes mitigated by a negative Covid test and sometimes not and these have been in effect for several months. Consider this map for traveler restrictions for MA and I wouldn't say that's just a few restrictions.

    And again considering VA, that's over 500 miles of trail, all the indoor public spaces have mask restrictions currently. Mandatory outside the home in PA, mandatory in public spaces in NC, WV, NY, NJ, CT, MA, VT, and ME with varying conditions. That's more than half the trail's trail towns.

    There is no need in this thread though to discuss those who ignored pandemic regulations however. The thread is for how hikers are impacted currently by the virus. Currently there are wide-ranging mask mandates in towns and traveler restrictions in the Northeast.
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  5. #465

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    While SOME thru hikers continued on, especially those who started in March and before the virus became wide spread, most went home. Very few thru hikers made it to NH from what I could tell.

    Since this year is almost over, maybe we need a new thread "How will coronavirus affect hiking next year?"
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  6. #466

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    With this hiking season coming to a close, we can reflect back on how COVID affected hiking this year.

    For me, it canceled my trip to Florida in April to visit my 97 year old dad for his birthday and the LASH hike I had planned for VA after the visit.

    Instead I stayed home and did a lot of day hikes. Along with a million other people, mostly from the Boston area. Although CT/PA/NY/RI/VT/ME were common license plates seen at the trailheads. I've never seen so many cars spilling out of the parking lots and lined up along the highway for as far as the eye could see. So one effect was bringing out a lot of new hikers into the woods. Maybe not such a bad thing. Thankfully, they didn't infect the local population, which was a major concern.
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  7. #467

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Since this year is almost over, maybe we need a new thread "How will coronavirus affect hiking next year?"

    Agree. I'm interested in people's perspective on next year...
    (trailname: Paul-from-Scotland)

  8. #468
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Directly answering the question "How did COVID affect hiking this year?": In summary, COVID definitely affected my plans but I still managed to go out and enjoy myself. Except for in town you'd barely notice that we are in the midst of a pandemic while hiking the AT.

    I was able to complete my annual section hike in NJ/NY this year and comply with restrictions by starting in PA, which doesn't have travel restrictions and isn't on the restricted list for NJ or NY. I camped in my tent every night and avoided shelters except for a few times when I stopped for a break during the day. I prefer my tent anyway, so this really wasn't a big deal. I finally ponied up and got Guthooks this year which proved to be invaluable for finding good stealth campsites that aren't listed in the guidebooks.

    The biggest two difficulties I faced this year because of COVID were not taking any zero days to minimize my time in town, and finding transportation. I also carried 7 days of food at a time to minimize resupplies, which increased my pack weight. I definitely felt my energy level dropping the last few days on trail because I'd been hiking every day without a break. Many of the shuttle drivers listed in this areas weren't running this year, and it took a fair bit of effort to find people who were still shuttling, but I managed. I ended up having to do two shuttles, one in PA and one in NJ/NY due to drivers not wanting to cross state lines (though I don't think this was due to COVID).

    In PA, despite the statewide mask mandate no one wore masks on the trail and few wore masks in the trail towns, even indoors. I talked to one of the locals who said that people in rural towns hadn't wearing been wearing masks since early summer and there had been no issues since the state regulators weren't paying any attention to rural areas. In NJ and NY people were more attentive to the restrictions. All of the businesses I stopped at had signs saying masks were required for entry, and maybe 1/4 of the people I saw on trail (mostly day hikers) wore masks.

    Overall the trail was in good shape and looked like it had been maintained this year. None of the trailhead parking areas, shelters, and privies I saw were closed and it was evident they had been in use this year. One big difference I noticed was a huge increase in the number of day hikers, mostly on weekends. Most of the time, I was able to relax, enjoy the beautiful scenery and fall colors, and forget that the pandemic (and the election) existed.

    Bottom line: You can still hike the AT, comply with state regulations, and enjoy it right now if you plan carefully.
    It's all good in the woods.

  9. #469

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleRock View Post
    Directly answering the question "How did COVID affect hiking this year?": In summary, COVID definitely affected my plans but I still managed to go out and enjoy myself. Except for in town you'd barely notice that we are in the midst of a pandemic while hiking the AT.

    I was able to complete my annual section hike in NJ/NY this year and comply with restrictions by starting in PA, which doesn't have travel restrictions and isn't on the restricted list for NJ or NY. I camped in my tent every night and avoided shelters except for a few times when I stopped for a break during the day. I prefer my tent anyway, so this really wasn't a big deal. I finally ponied up and got Guthooks this year which proved to be invaluable for finding good stealth campsites that aren't listed in the guidebooks.

    The biggest two difficulties I faced this year because of COVID were not taking any zero days to minimize my time in town, and finding transportation. I also carried 7 days of food at a time to minimize resupplies, which increased my pack weight. I definitely felt my energy level dropping the last few days on trail because I'd been hiking every day without a break. Many of the shuttle drivers listed in this areas weren't running this year, and it took a fair bit of effort to find people who were still shuttling, but I managed. I ended up having to do two shuttles, one in PA and one in NJ/NY due to drivers not wanting to cross state lines (though I don't think this was due to COVID).

    In PA, despite the statewide mask mandate no one wore masks on the trail and few wore masks in the trail towns, even indoors. I talked to one of the locals who said that people in rural towns hadn't wearing been wearing masks since early summer and there had been no issues since the state regulators weren't paying any attention to rural areas. In NJ and NY people were more attentive to the restrictions. All of the businesses I stopped at had signs saying masks were required for entry, and maybe 1/4 of the people I saw on trail (mostly day hikers) wore masks.

    Overall the trail was in good shape and looked like it had been maintained this year. None of the trailhead parking areas, shelters, and privies I saw were closed and it was evident they had been in use this year. One big difference I noticed was a huge increase in the number of day hikers, mostly on weekends. Most of the time, I was able to relax, enjoy the beautiful scenery and fall colors, and forget that the pandemic (and the election) existed.

    Bottom line: You can still hike the AT, comply with state regulations, and enjoy it right now if you plan carefully.
    You can if you know the regulations. But I don't think you actually complied with restrictions.
    https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/co...%20quarantine.
    The travel advisory is effective at 12:01 am on Thursday, June 25, 2020. If you have traveled from within one of the designated states with significant community spread, you must quarantine when you enter New York for 14 days from the last travel within such designated state, provided on the date you enter into New York State that such state met the criteria for requiring such quarantine.

    The requirements of the travel advisory do not apply to any individual passing through designated states for a limited duration (i.e., less than 24 hours) through the course of travel.
    In your own words, you spent two nights in NY which is longer than 24 hours, and it took you 5 days to get through the 70 miles in NJ. There are 76 miles between Port Clinton and DWG and you mention 15 miles days. Given a day for travel from NC (it's an 8 hour drive to Port Clinton), that leaves 8 days to cover that ground and satisfy the 14 day period of the last time you were in NC.

    Clearly you are aware of what the restrictions intended when you said yeah I traveled in from PA. One could also try, yeah, I drove up to NJ from NC, stopped at the border to NJ/NY and walked into NY. You really would have come from NC, not NJ That's why NY's rules are written like that, people gaming the system.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
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    Call for his whisky
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  10. #470

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    While SOME thru hikers continued on, especially those who started in March and before the virus became wide spread, most went home. Very few thru hikers made it to NH from what I could tell.

    Since this year is almost over, maybe we need a new thread "How will coronavirus affect hiking next year?"
    No. Too far out at the moment. Too much uncertainty and unfortunately the issue is too politicized. Maybe in a month or two.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
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  11. #471
    Registered User NY HIKER 50's Avatar
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    "As do all the hikers on the PCT and CDT. This may push the organizations that sponsor long distance trails to move away from shelters toward more tenting areas. Whole lot cheaper to build and maintain, for one. I wouldn't feel any loss, I prefer to sleep in my tent or hammock, but I do enjoy social dinner hour at the shelters. I often have lunch at shelters, too, but if they were gone, I can hang up a tarp in 2 minutes for a dry break in bad weather. Privies could still be maintained at tenting areas, and the open privies currently on many sites aren't affected by airborne diseases.

    The mice would be sorely disappointed to see the shelters go."



    I agree that they should just have tenting areas. The shelter have become havens for homeless, parties, mice, and garbage. Also, they cost a lot to maintain. They should be removed altogether. In NY many of them are near roads and easy to get to, especially in Harriman. The days of the shelters should be considered over.

  12. #472

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    I am interested as well in 2021 impacts

  13. #473
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    The PA mask mandate requires the wearing of a mask outdoors only when one is unable to maintain a social distance of six feet from others not in their household.

  14. #474

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterQ View Post
    The PA mask mandate requires the wearing of a mask outdoors only when one is unable to maintain a social distance of six feet from others not in their household.
    Yes. Without looking at every state where it's mandated, there's typically a stipulation about being unable to social distance as the trigger for the mandate with an associated type of location where it applies.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
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  15. #475

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    Quote Originally Posted by NY HIKER 50 View Post
    I agree that they should just have tenting areas. The shelter have become havens for homeless, parties, mice, and garbage. Also, they cost a lot to maintain. They should be removed altogether. In NY many of them are near roads and easy to get to, especially in Harriman. The days of the shelters should be considered over.
    I would disagree with banishing shelters completely, though would agree as shelters near roads fall into disrepair or become an demonstrated attractive nuisance by locals, they be relocated at least a mile (two would be better) from a road access. Shelters save lives, which is well documented throughout the AT. People use shelters in rough weather to survive storms in summer and winter conditions, there are literally hundreds of people who have benefited from shelters along the AT and were able to prevent or survive a hypothermic event.

    I have not run across any homeless people who have set up camp in shelters, though I hear stories of that so there must be some level of truth, albeit anecdotal to them being around. I do note that when I hear one of these stories it usually includes a shelter located "near" a road. Shelters also do not generate food scraps and litter. That would be hikers who are the source of food that attract mice and taking up residence in shelters. Education does not seem to help to eradicate this behavior, one can see threads here debating if food scraps tossed on the ground is/is not environmentally sound.

    Other benefits of shelters is they make excellent, easy to find, waypoints to ensure groups having different hiking speeds among participants all arrive and stop at a known gathering point. Shelters also help reduce the impact of many hikers camping during summer months, along with privies that work to keep those ignorant of how to dig a proper cat hole from despoiling the area around shelters (and elsewhere).

  16. #476

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    NY lifted its mandatory 14 days quarantine. The new guidelines are kind of complicated. Go to: www.governor.ny.gov for new guidelines.

  17. #477
    double d's Avatar
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    With the lack of day, section and thru-hikers, I would be interested in reading data on Lyme Disease for this year (2020). God knows, Covid-19 is horrible for all of us, as I myself was planning section hike on the AT in Vermont,but my plans changed of course because of Covid.
    "I told my Ma's and Pa's I was coming to them mountains and they acted as if they was gutshot. Ma, I sez's, them mountains is the marrow of the world and by God, I was right". Del Gue

  18. #478
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    I would disagree with banishing shelters completely...
    To be clear, I wasn't advocating banishing shelters, just speculating a general shift toward tenting areas. Just as the enclosed shelters/lodges/camps that were once common on the Long Trail have become a rarity, tenting sites may become more common. A good tenting area can keep many of the benefits of a shelter (a social gathering site, water source, privy, concentrated impact) and minimize some of the problems common to shelters (mice, snorers, squatters).

  19. #479

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    Quote Originally Posted by double d View Post
    With the lack of day, section and thru-hikers, I would be interested in reading data on Lyme Disease for this year (2020). God knows, Covid-19 is horrible for all of us, as I myself was planning section hike on the AT in Vermont, but my plans changed of course because of Covid.
    There may not have been a lot of section and thru hikers, but there were many, many more day hikers then usual. While some people contract Lyme on the AT, the vast majority of cases are from suburban backyards.
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  20. #480
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    There may not have been a lot of section and thru hikers, but there were many, many more day hikers then usual.
    With all those people, how did the areas around the huts and shelters fare?

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