Day 20: Weather Delay and COVID-19

Ugh! Yet another thunderstorm system…this time with hail & up to 50 mph winds. Hunkered down in Superior hoping it moves through tonight so I can get back on the trail tomorrow. I head to another remote section next, with few options other than gutting it out in case of nasty weather … I’m bummed to be delayed yet again, but grateful to have the option!

COVID-19 has hit the wilderness/thru-hiker community: I got notification today from the Arizona Trail Association stressing that my hike will be different now with so many businesses closed & trail angels who may be unwilling, or in able to assist. They assured me that hiking is one of the best places for me to be right now. They also urged me to consider carefully whether or not I am able to safely continue without reliable local resupply, shuttle service from trailheads, and other support. Though hiking/backpacking are great social-distancing activities, the ATA notice was a sobering reminder that thru-hiking really isn’t a “solo” adventure.

I have thought hard about whether or not I should go on. For now, I’m going to continue. I have already bought my essential supplies, and shouldn’t be too affected by store/restaurant closures. I have Parker (Trail Angel Extraordinaire) providing support, and my parents, grown kids (ironically home from college courtesy of COVID-19) and friends willing to pitch in (once again highlighting the team nature of this endeavor). This should minimize my need to rely on local trail angels and businesses. If this changes, I will absolutely reconsider (this is important to me, but it is not more important than my safety, or the safety of my team).

I will continue to post, and I will continue to be very grateful for whatever time I’m able to spend on this beautiful, diverse trail.

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