During the coronavirus pandemic, one can not avoid feeling sorrow for the destruction the virus has caused. My soul aches daily for the global pain, for those who have lost loved ones, for the worry that many people have to face while trying to navigate the troubling landscape and at the same time who have to make sacrifices in order to provide for the bare necessities of life for family and friends, and for people that risk their lives daily to alleviate the suffering of people that have become stricken by the virus. My hope for anyone reading this is courage and strength to face the challenges and wisdom to find safe passage through this storm.
Many of the concepts I teach in the field relate to safety and managing challenges that are present in the field. I recently participated virtually, with an Outdoor Recreation program at SUU that I typically teach in person. We asked the students to apply the concepts of risk management in the field to the current environment surrounding the coronavirus. One may not be too surprised to know that the foundation concepts of risk management in the field apply to everyday risk management at home. I would be more than happy to work with anyone who would like to virtually explore the topics I teach in the field.
Over the last few decades, the Canyons of the Escalante River have become for many people a respite for the stresses of life. I anticipate that many people will strongly need this respite after the coronavirus challenges subside. Though I am looking forward to being out in the field again with people who come to this area for an escape. I firmly believe that patience is a vital component of observing that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I have for some time now considered that the riskiest part of a backcountry adventure is the travel to the starting point. Without a doubt the backcountry has challenges. These challenges, however, are manageable with proper knowledge and skills, which keeps these challenges as a significant part of the adventure and avoids having them turn into emergency situations. The key is knowledge and skill to manage the challenges.
The knowledge and skill relating to the current global challenge of the infections caused by the coronavirus COVID-19 seams to still be in its infancy stages. I am hopeful that the wisdom of the scientists will soon develop effective strategies for managing the COVID-19 challenges. Until these strategies are developed, common sense dictates that the way to avoid becoming infected or spreading the virus is to create a buffer zone among the individuals of the population.
If you are feeling a yearning for a respite, remember that patience is a virtue. However, we can at the very least start planning.
One aspect of an Emergency Action Plan is to provide for means to keep active, both physically and mentally. Staying engaged helps keep the mind from dwelling on the enormity of a challenge. Staying engaged also helps prevent a mental breakdown, which will lead to poor decisions. Many students of mine over the years have asked if I have my teachings in writing. Unfortunately, my family and my teaching has kept me quite busy and allowed little time for writing. My hope for myself is that this slow time will provide me the opportunity to start putting pen to paper and actually fulfill some of the requests to put my teaching in writing.
I am looking forward to the time when visitors can return to the canyons. In the meantime, I hope everyone considers health and safety first and is capable of managing their needs.
Until we can hike the trails together again, all the best,