Stuck Inside? Take Virtual Hikes!

    Stuck Inside? Take Virtual Hikes!

    Jun 11, 2020

    Like families all across the United States, this is our new "normal": staying home as much as possible, washing our hands every time someone near us even thinks about coughing, realizing how many times per hour we touch our faces (I bet yours itches RIGHT NOW), and trying to maintain at least half an aisle of social distance every time we venture out to the store. (This is extremely easy in the toilet paper, paper towel, and cleaning product sections, because the shelves are empty and the herd seems to have moved on to the canned goods.)

    When our teenage son learned that

    his school had been shut down for the coming weeks, he celebrated by sleeping

    in and attempting to eat half of the cereal in the house all at once. (If you

    go to the store and the cereal aisle has been cleaned out, chances are that the

    perpetrators were all parents of teenagers.)

    Once he was full—and banned from

    further excess cereal consumption—we explained that this is not summer

    vacation, and he actually has assignments to complete. Somehow, he had the

    notion that his days would be divided between riding his bike and watching

    videos on his phone, but he has since discovered that the Internet can also be

    used for Algebra I, Global Studies, and Earth Science.

    The great news is that there's

    PLENTY of great content on the Internet, and with so many people at home around

    the globe, organizations are adding free access to some amazing educational


    For example, without worrying about

    buying bottled water or lacing up your hiking boots, you can explore:

    Bryce Canyon National Park;

    A snowy Yellowstone National Park:

    Enjoying virtual hiking? Here are

    pages with links to other trail tours:

    We've watched a few of these videos

    with our son, and he doesn't seem to have noticed that they are, in fact,


    Of course, actual fresh air and

    exercise are vital to good health. Grab a bottle of water and a good pair of

    sneakers, and hit a trail or park near you. (You should check to make sure your

    chosen park is open; some places have closed because of COVID-19.) Parks in the

    Richmond, VA area, with the exception of picnic shelters and visitor centers,

    are still mostly open. Or grab your bike and hit the streets, which is what our

    son is currently doing. And keep washing your hands, not touching your face,

    and staying as far away from other people as possible.

    If anybody needs me, I'll be

    maintaining social distance in our grocery store's cereal aisle.