FAMILY HIKING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING
I was feeling kind of stressed out about this whole Coronavirus thing. I’ve been watching it and worrying about it since mid-February. Chatting with my friends in Italy where they are experiencing the complete healthcare crisis (in the last 24 hours, 793 deaths) – its frightening. And its so worrisome as we look around the USA and see people everywhere not taking the virus seriously. But this morning I work up and the weather was foggy/cloudy – perfect for hiking. And we thought it would be a perfect idea to get away and out to nature while keeping our social distancing from others.
After breakfast we packed up for a little hike and made a picnic lunch as well. Then we drove out to Reed Bingham Georgia State Park – which is about 20 miles from our house. When we got to the park we got out of the car and immediately noticed swarms of mosquitoes. Luckily we’d brought a large bottle of bug spray and we pretty much sprayed every inch of our bodies. It was warm out, but we opted to wear sweatshirts or long sleeves due to the pesky bugs.
We did a quick little .25 mile trail loop before we found the ‘real’ trails. Then we took off at a pretty good clip. We found that if we kept moving, the mosquitoes didn’t land on us (they just flew with us, waiting for their chance). The trail was really nice – part of it was boardwalk above swamp areas. Very pretty. But no time to relax or stroll, we were power walking/hiking along because those mosquitoes were literally swarming us. We stopped a couple of times to re-up bug spray, but mostly we just kept going.
In the beginning part of the hike there were some giant pine trees who’d dropped giant pine cones. We all found a couple really big ones, but Jack found the largest. He named it “Baby Sherman” because apparently the largest tree in the world is named General Sherman. Why did Jack know that? Who knows. But I fact-checked it and he’s right – its a Giant Sequoia in California.
We hiked along with our treasures for about another 2 miles before most of us got tired of carrying the prickly cones. We ended up tossing them all in the brush, except for Baby Sherman who was carried the entire 4.5 mile loop!
If the mosquitoes hadn’t been chasing us, the hike would have been really leisurely and beautiful. There were ponds, a big river, tall trees, and big pine cones. But the hike did do one really great thing, it got us out of the house, into nature, and enjoying our world instead of worrying about things we don’t have any control over. It was the perfect outing.
When we finally got back to the car we washed our hands and then sat in the A/C and munched on our picnic lunch. The dream of sitting out for a picnic wasn’t going to happen (for us OR the mosquitoes)!
From our family to yours – we hope you are staying safe and healthy during these trying times.
Jennifer Hillberg is the Founder and Creator of Mountain Mat, LLC, the USA’s first 100% recycled plastic, reversible, outdoor recreation mat. As an avid outdoor recreationalist, Jennifer has hiked and camped in some of the world’s most remote places alongside her husband and three children. Learn more about The Mountain Mat Story.