Does Covid-19 Get You Down? You Need to Get Outside!

When the Coronavirus walks into your life, you benefit from a walk in the woods.

The Richard and Lucie Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve is a beautiful landscape in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, a preserve co-owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy in Ohio and the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Just above the first ridge of the Joan Jones Portman Trail, not too far from the beginning trailhead at Waggoner Riffle Road, the female naturalist sleeps soundly in the center of the trail.

Her afternoon nap makes some sense. The Edge of Appalachia Preserve in Adams County Ohio is bone dry thanks to sizzling heat and multiple days without rainfall. The forest canopy provides a comfortable shade. Besides, I’m the first human encounter the Kentucky-based botanist experienced all day.

Nature tourism is a booming business in rural southern Ohio, but the hiking trails are quiet this mid-summer afternoon.

I’m a little surprised by the loneliness throughout the nature preserve. The spread of Covid-19 remains at high alert in my hometown of Cincinnati. Pass anyone on a downtown sidewalk, and, despite their face masks, you can tell they’re blue. City slickers need an emotional boost. They need a wilderness immersion.

Crowded Cities Make Social Distancing Difficult

Domino Park Director Mike Lampariello paints white circles six feet apart on the famous Brooklyn Park lawn. It’s creative thinking to encourage social distancing among the many sunbathers who flock to the waterfront recreation area. 

I wear a mask when walking crowded trails through Eden Park, the Cincinnati Park near my East Walnut Hills home. For residents of large cities, the spread of COVID-19 limits accessibility to nearby parks.

The white circles in Brooklyn are there for a reason. There are lots of people wanting to go outside. It isn’t easy to achieve safe distancing when a city walk remains one of the few entertainment options for neighborhood residents.

When Coronavirus walks into your life, you need a walk in the country.

You may be six miles from the closet person when hiking the 20,000 acres of the Richard and Lucie Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve. It’s a beautiful landscape in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, a preserve co-owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy in Ohio and the Cincinnati Museum Center.

A warm gesture from friends committed to helping folks navigate the COVID-19 pandemic means a place to sleep at an Adams County lake house near the Edge of Appalachia trails.

People are talking about Nature-Deficit Disorder, a phrase crafted by author Richard Louv. The pandemic continues, and feelings of anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty accompany it. Plenty of researchers and scientists speak about the impact of nature and green spaces on emotional and mental health.

Is a long hike in a secluded nature preserve equal to ten walks in an urban park? After a couple of days of hiking between the E. Lucy Braun Lynx Prarie Preserve Trails and the Christian and Emma Goetz Buzzardroost Rock Preserve Trail, emotions of calmness, happiness, and serenity return.  I’m learning of the importance of green space in one’s life, and I’m thankful for the generous gift of rural lodging from friends.

Trust me. You need to immerse yourself in nature for an emotional boost. It may be the only way you’ll maintain emotional health through the no-end-in-sight pandemic.

Nature provides comfort and relief from emotional, financial, and health worries.

When the coronavirus walks into your life, you benefit from a walk in the country. There’s no question about social distancing when you are alone in the woods.

Learn more about the Richard and Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve. Follow the Nature Conservancy in Ohio.

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