The hiker’s 10 commandments
By Alex Béraud, Sépaq Social Media Advisor.
The good weather has arrived at long last, and the hiking season is officially under way. Hallelujah!
Since there's no better way to adapt to a new reality than to make it official with a few golden rules, here are the steps to follow in order to safely fill up on fresh air along our trails. For casual and more serious hikers alike, the time has come to become familiar with the 10 commandments of the perfect Sépaq hiker.
Thou shalt be a master planner
It's a no-brainer… sepaq.com/covid-19 must become your primary source of information, your indispensable companion for any proper planning of an outdoor outing. Since the activities and services on offer are evolving ever so quickly and vary from one establishment to the next, you'll religiously consult your destination’s website before visiting it. That way the list of accessible trails and open sectors will hold no surprises once you’ve reached the promised land.
Thou shalt have thine access rights on hand
Mandatory for a national park getaway, the virtual ticket office is where it’s at to purchase your daily access rights. Online shopping is the only way to go to climb the peaks without contravening the law. Obviously, Annual Québec National Parks Card holders don’t have to purchase daily access rights online. On the big day, you'll preciously keep your access rights or Annual Québec National Parks Card in your right pocket.
Thou shalt venture on trails in line with thine abilities
Although the territory is monitored, keep in mind that outdoor activities can include some risk. Respecting your physical abilities means choosing a hike according to your physical condition and current objective. This isn’t the time to try to go over the top.
Thou shalt bring thy little anti-COVID kit
To protect your health and the health of others, two essential items will be found in your backpack: hand sanitizer and a mask or face covering. Attention all lovers of picnics in the mountains! You'll remember to add a tablecloth to your lunch box to cover the tables available on site.
Thou shalt bring everything needed in thy backpack
Other than the usual anti-COVID duo (hand sanitizer and face covering), you’ll bring everything needed to be self-sufficient during your hike. A mini-first aid kit, a big bottle of water, snacks (many), a sweater, and a windbreaker are essential. To make sure you have what you need, read about hiking essentials before tossing your backpack in the trunk of the car. Of course, never leave home to go to the mountains without a delicious GORP.
Thou shalt always religiously comply with Dr. Arruda’s instructions
As a good citizen who’s happy to get back to nature, you'll protect your health and the health of others. If you or someone close to you has symptoms related to COVID-19, simply stay at home. You’ll follow public health directives still in effect to the letter, including distancing, prohibitions regarding gatherings, and limitations pertaining to transportation.
Thou shalt follow the arrows
Over the past few weeks, it's become second nature to rigorously follow arrows and you'll also do so in a mountain setting. If there’s no direction specified at the beginning of the trail, you’ll step aside to give priority to the oncoming hiker. Feeling more fit than ever? Just wait for the right moment before passing slower hikers and then continue to tear down the trail, full speed ahead.
Thou shalt avoid loitering at observation decks
Consider yourself warned: a few times during your hike, magnificent panoramas will loom before you. Just like on the trails, you’ll maintain a two-metre physical distance with hikers who are also admiring the gorgeous scenery from the observation deck. During summer 2020, a new sunny season trend will emerge: mental photography. Faster and cheaper than its equivalent on the market, this technique makes it possible to limit gatherings at observation decks and to share quality time with your hiking companions by putting aside your smartphone for a while. In no time at all, you'll fill up on images of the great outdoors and be back on the trail.
Thou shalt be courteous with other hikers
As a member of a large nature-loving family, you'll share a spirit of collegiality with those who chose, like you, to stretch their legs in the forest. Since hikers are notoriously kind, you’ll naturally be nice as well. You'll be courteous and attentive to other people's signals.
Thou shalt spend quality time in nature
No need to explain this commandment; walking in the forest is the greatest activity in the world! You’ll fill up on the nature vitamin, with a big smile on your face.