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COVID-19

Sports >  Outdoors

Stuck at home? Stay healthy (and isolated) by getting outside

The 12-mile Mica Peak Traverse hike is a challenging adventure close to Spokane. Here the beginning of the hike is seen as on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)
The 12-mile Mica Peak Traverse hike is a challenging adventure close to Spokane. Here the beginning of the hike is seen as on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)

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The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe has upended day-to-day life.

School is canceled. Many have been sent to work from home. Others have lost their jobs, or will.

The impact is undeniable and mostly grim, but there is at least one silver lining.

Going outside might be just what the doctor ordered. Dr. Darryl Potyk, the chief for medical education at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and an avid outdoorsman, urged us to forgo the gym and get outside instead.

“Regular exercise can be an important part of our physical and emotional health,” he said. “If at all possible, I would substitute an outdoor workout if you can.”

For many living in the larger urban areas, this might be difficult. Luckily, we’re surrounded by a cornucopia of outdoor options.

Skiing

Carolyn Cartwright skis down Mount Spokane after skiing up on Saturday, March 3, 2018. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)
Carolyn Cartwright skis down Mount Spokane after skiing up on Saturday, March 3, 2018. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)

As one meme circling the web pointed out, skiing involves gloves, masks, goggles and (skiers hope) plenty of space between people.

While gloves and masks aren’t generally recommended by health officials, the larger point remains. Why not ski?

Plus, most resorts are offering spring deals that ease the monetary sting. All local ski resorts are open, although some are taking precautions.

For instance, Mt. Spokane announced Friday some measures to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.

Those include:

  • Limiting the number of people in food service areas. Lodge 1 will be reopened on weekends.
  • Canceling all bar events for the rest of the season.
  • Canceling daycare.

In Idaho Schweitzer Mountain Resort emphasized the importance of washing your hands – even when skiing – and shared the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations via an email blast.

At Lookout Pass on the Idaho/Montana border, marketing director Matt Sawyer said he thought it might have a positive impact on business.

“In fact, we hope that it might even have a positive impact,” he said in an email. “Which could happen if more people choose to recreate outside where the air is pure and a steady breeze continues to purify the air.”

Hiking

Todd Dunfield, right, and Nneka Palmer try and stay dry on Saturday Jan. 11, 2020 while hiking along the 12-mile Mica Peak Traverse. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)
Todd Dunfield, right, and Nneka Palmer try and stay dry on Saturday Jan. 11, 2020 while hiking along the 12-mile Mica Peak Traverse. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)

Aside from skiing, now might be a good time to go snowshoeing on Mount Spokane.

Or you could check out trails at Riverside State Park, Liberty Lake Regional Park and Fishtrap Lake.

Or check out 10 hikes close to home curated by the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy. These handy maps can be picked up at REI for $5.

For detailed information on these trips and more, visit spokesman.com/outdoors/.

Biking

Frank Benish, left, and Brent Schlangen are all smiles while riding their fat bikes at 49 Degrees North on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)
Frank Benish, left, and Brent Schlangen are all smiles while riding their fat bikes at 49 Degrees North on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)

With a new dump of snow, biking might seem to be a less than ideal option.

Wrong. Check out fat biking. These big-wheeled machines are great for riding on snow and can be used at 49 Degrees North, Mount Spokane State Park (but not in the Nordic area) and Riverside State Park (conditions depending).

The following places rent or sell fat bikes: Bike Hub (thebikehub.com/); North Division Bicycle (northdivision.com); Wheel Sport(wheelsportbikes.com/); and Schweitzer Mountain Resort (schweitzer.com/play/snowbiking).

Hunting and fishing

John Andrews, a retired Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists, searches for deer from his hunting blind on Nov. 19, 2018. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)
John Andrews, a retired Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists, searches for deer from his hunting blind on Nov. 19, 2018. (Eli Francovich / The Spokesman-Review)

Although most hunting seasons are closed, the spring turkey season is set to begin April 4 for youth and April 15 for adults. With schools closed until April 24, this might be a good time to teach kids how to call in gobblers.

Many area lakes, streams and rivers are open to fishing. Check out Alan Liere’s weekly fishing-hunting report for detailed information.

For two close-to-home options, consider checking out Medical Lake (season opened March 1) and Waitts Lake (open all year). For more information and to buy a fishing license, visit wdfw.wa.gov/fishing.

“Hey, the safest place for us is to go outside,” WDFW spokeswoman Staci Lehman said. “Lets go fishing and hunting.”

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