While social-distancing protocols are absolutely necessary, I doubt I’m alone in feeling both anxious and isolated because of them.
Indeed, there’s lots to be anxious about. I worry for the children who rely on school for nutrition and a safe place to spend their days, and about the families whose livelihood is being compromised by cancelled shifts or dwindling patronage.
And, with closings and cancellations, we retreat further into isolation. Already I miss in-person fellowship at church on Sunday mornings and Saturdays at the ball field with teammates and friends. Besides, what’s a safe-distance, awkward salute instead of a warm embrace?
Nonetheless, we find ourselves in this place and I have faith that, if we adhere to strict mitigation measures, in time we will find ourselves on the other side of it.
Meanwhile, there are ways to combat the sense anxiety and isolation we may continue to feel — maybe to an even greater degree — in the coming weeks.
For our family, that means cherishing the “bonus time” together, freshly unencumbered by scheduled extracurriculars. Though other concerns will fill some of that space, we’ll intentionally appreciate the necessarily slower, quieter pace of life.
And, while we take practical and responsible steps to keep ourselves and those and around us healthy, we’ll seek to live with joy and hopefulness, continuing to find respite in nature. Fresh air in unpopulated open spaces is a wonderful antidote to anxiety, isolation — and the spread of germs.
Below, I’ve listed some of our favorite local social-distancing-friendly outing options, where the only surface to touch is the ground beneath our feet.
Consider your own outing? Join us in finding refuge in the great outdoors. I’d love to see you. From afar, of course. And if our paths should cross, I will enthusiastically greet you, in solidarity and from a safe distance, with an awkward salute.
Local social-distancing-friendly outings
*Note: While some of these outings include playground spaces, use good judgement as to whether to make that shared space part of your adventure.
There’s something to be said for spending quiet time outside with no real destination. A backyard is good for that, but here are some other nice, quiet spaces to consider. Wander around the ponds and by the creek in the Chantilly Ecological Sanctuary. Enjoy meandering around the fields of Clark’s Creek Greenway or under the tree canopy of the Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve. Take a stroll around the Myers Park neighborhood on a treasure tree hunt.
Tired of laps around the block? Consider the long, wide, spacious stretch of Little Sugar Creek Greenway South. Or, exercise both your mind and body at the other end of Little Sugar Creek Greenway along the Trail of History.
Nothing like the wind in your hair on a good, cleansing bike ride. If you want to stick close to town, pick a safe designated city bike route. If you want to hit the woods, our favorite trail riding destination is Colonel Frances Beaty Park. For young riders, consider the closed, protected, paved 1-mile Eastover Greenway.
You know we love a good hike. And under any circumstances we tend to favor the less popular trails. Here are some of our favorites that are not usually overly crowded:
- Ridgeline Trail at Crowder’s Mountain State Park
- Lake Whelchel Trail in Gaffney, SC
- Seven Oaks Preserve Trail in Belmont, NC
- Nanny’s Mountain in York, SC
- Evergreen Nature Preserve in east Charlotte
Hang in there, Charlotte. We’ll get through this together. And, hopefully, find joy in living while life-as-we-know-it is put on pause.