Isolation doesn’t need to mean staying indoors

Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and hiking available to Hope residents amid COVID-19 shutdows

The COVID-19 virus pandemic has shaken our daily routines. In a matter of about a week, we’ve gone from ‘normal’ to having many opportunities shut down.

We aren’t yet at total lockdown stage, as seen in Italy and even San Francisco. In fact, B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has encouraged healthy people to get out and enjoy the outdoors — including skiing. Ski hills have since cancelled that idea, though.

With the prospect of schools remaining closed indefinitely, many parents will want their kids to have safe outdoor activities. Many able-bodied adults, as well, won’t want to be shut inside — unless officially directed to.

Outdoor enthusiast and program director for the Hope Mountain Centre, Kelly Pearce has some recommendations for those who want to stay mobile… while maintaining a safe interpersonal space.

“It’s too bad that ski hills are closing, of their own decision,” said Pearce, Tuesday. “The Nordic trails at Manning will still be open, though. Any trail you’d normally go on for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing will still be open. They won’t continue grooming, but there’s no new snow in the near forecast, so the tracks will still be there.”

Be aware that all Manning Resort facilities will be closed, however, said Pearce. Also consider Manning’s Cambie Creek area, which features three snowshoeing loops, from 2.5 to 14 km.

Near the Coquihalla summit, Pearce recommends the Falls Lake and Mount Ottomite trails for snowshoers, saying, “I suspect the snowpack will linger right into mid-April.”

A number of easy hikes are within easy reach of downtown.

“I’d make sure people pick up a copy of ‘Trails of Hope’ from the Hope Visitor Centre first,” said Pearce. (The office is currently closed due to the pandemic but their resources are available online at hopebc.ca)

“One obvious hike is the Rotary Nature Trail,” said Pearce. “There’s lots of new driftwood at the mouth of the river now — and there are lots of creative projects you could do with it.”

Other easy trails include Flood Falls and Thacker Marsh, where songbirds have returned.

Pearce recommends the Spirit Caves and Mount Lincoln Trails at Yale — or maybe head down to the Fraser and play in the sand.

Farther upstream, the Alexandra Bridge trail is a favourite, though the parking lot is presently blocked off for the winter. “You have to park on the opposite side of the highway and cross when it’s safe,” said Pearce.

If, or when, the order comes for stay-in-place, those with a yard could still find plenty to do outdoors. There may be a lot of clean yards and garages this year, thanks to COVID-19.

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