Womand and three kids on bicycle riding up a gravel road through a meadow into a stand of fir trees

Covid-19 diary: outside

Published 2020-03-21

This post was authored on 2020-03-25

We took a family bike ride today to Powell Butte, and then up it and over it. I have ridden bikes at PB dozens of times and on the loveliest summer weekend the parking lot is usually about half full. Today it was completely full with cars circling the lot, backing up to the road, parking on the road etc.

We rode to the park on the Springwater trail and climbed it from the back (southwest) side so we didn’t see the parking lot until we’d ridden through the woods. It wasn’t particularly busy in the woods, I wouldn‘t have guessed this was maybe one of the busiest days ever at Powell Butte park.

It was only crowded in the immediate vicinity of the parking lot.

(I noticed this phenomenon many years ago backpacking in Yellowstone and Glacier NP: the crowds thin very rapidly when you lose sight of the parking lot)

On the news we heard all about how the roads to beach towns were packed with cars. Everyone wanted to go outside. Well, it was beautiful weather and the bars were closed!

On Friday the Governor Brown and Mayor Wheeler gave a joint press conference. The anticipation was they would announce a California-style shelter-in-place order. They didn’t, exactly. It was sort of a PR move, I think they called it “stay home, stay safe” or something like that. They specifically carved out “taking a walk outdoors” as an acceptable behavior. So everyone took that to mean: let’s drive to some woodsy place and walk around in a little circle.

The message we have been getting is “stay home, except for taking a walk outside” when the message we should be getting is “no unnecessary driving”