DLTK's Blog
Packing for Chedoke Falls
May 2020

There are plenty of resources online for protocols and restrictions regarding park visitation and recreational activities during this pandemic. I have found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website has been particularly helpful for steering me clear of misinformation. You can click on this link for the quick and easy “dos and don’ts” of outdoor and recreational living as outlined by the CDC.

View from the base of Chedoke Falls.

On the thread of what not to do… this week, my Instagram feed crossed over to the daily headlines: social media "influencers" have come under fire for the packing up and leaving major city centers during the 2020 pandemic. In one case, social media influencer, Naomi Davis, received criticism for blogging her RV trip post-COVID-outbreak. In another example, another blogger/Instagrammer Arielle Charnas found herself condemned as she fled to the Hamptons. Her story is particularly troubling, since she tested positive. Not to mention, New Yorkers were specifically asked to “stay home” amidst concerns that the city’s growing hotbed would spread quickly to other areas, particularly on the East Coast. A quick Google search of "influencers fleeing amidst COVID-19" turns up many of the same stories.

Griffin and I are in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada during COVID-19. Geographically, we are quite close to Toronto—Canada's largest city—and New York City. After reflecting on what some of these media headlines were implying, I became frustrated. I have seen some of the people in my social networks "flee" major city centers, like Toronto, for more secluded areas. And while many of these people probably would argue against anyone labelling their actions as "fleeing," this type of transplanting has become a significant trend in response to COVID-19 since mid-March. There is an urgency to connect with family members who need care during this time (oneself included). We might not, then, rush to write off everyone who has chosen to relocate to stay safe and survive. However, there have been many instances where people have decided to leave metropolitan centers without regard for the immense privilege these decisions carry and without recognizing the risks involved. (Among other things, these folks are broadcasting “off-the-grid” living all the while ignoring the cross-province/-state/-country long car ride or plane trip that it took to get them there). Some folks have even advertised themselves as “transplants” to their social media followers. To "flee" an urban core such as Toronto or New York for your newly-purchased cabin or second home on the East/West Coast or in the Hamptons, and then to broadcast that journey on social media, feels incredibly insensitive during the COVID-19 global health crisis. I predict that we will see more significant critiques of the classism behind this "fleeing" (transplantation) trend as we reflect on our collective actions and responses in these moments of crisis.

With all of this said, if you live in a city center and if you do not have access to a more private green or public space, I highly recommend that you check with the resources that your city has provided. For example, the City of Hamilton gives updates online for what remains open to the public as well as information about disinfecting procedures and protocols. Luckily for me and Griffin, there are a few quiet and gorgeous walking spots within short distance from our home. We have been on quite a few hikes during our relationship, so we feel fortunate to be able to continue with more minor outdoor activities within our radius during this indefinite period of isolation. Hamilton is relatively cold, wet, and mucky lately. Some days we have 20°C, and other days it is *literally* snowing. With the current colder weather, we encounter very few people. (And everyone we have seen is always very vigilant about the 2-metre boundary!)

Woman taking photo with film camera in front of waterfall.

I wanted to follow in my Mom’s and sister’s footsteps, so I decided to post what I pack for a simpler and shorter time outside. You can view my Mom’s post on "Dressing the Family for a Hike," and Kaitlyn’s post on "Packing for a Day Hike," if you are lucky enough to live near an appropriate hiking space or if you are planning for future trips after lockdown has ended. Even though a lot of the trails available in Hamilton are quite short, it is hugely important to always stay prepared!

This past week, Griffin and I decided to try out Chedoke Radial Trail: this is a trail I want to recommend here because it can either lead you along nicely paved ramps and walkways towards waterfalls, or, depending on how creative you’re prepared to be, this trail can take you up steeper paths towards other mysteries (and more waterfalls). It is also literally right beside our house. We had some serious fun (finally!) figuring out how to make it to the final cascade found in the Chedoke Falls chain.

Man standing in front of Waterfall in Ontario

To be clear, as with many hikes, the Chedoke Radial Trail offers serious inclines and can get slippery. Weather can be seriously unpredictable. Griffin and I spent a couple of hours hiking in and out of this path, and I would presume other people have spent much longer. Try to remember to always bring appropriate (and extra) gear with you: even if it looks like the weather is not going to bring conditions that reduce visibility (whether it be by rain or darkness), it can become less than ideal out there! 

Man standing in front of Waterfall in Ontario

WHAT TO WEAR

Check out our other posts for more on what to pack for a day hike! Below is a detailed list of what I brought with me for this outdoor time in Hamilton. Outside, it was no warmer than 6°C, so I am thankful that I grew up with such expert hikers/campers in my family! Thank you, Kaitlyn and family!

Clothes to pack on a dayhike.


WHAT'S IN MY BAG

Think of this section as an ode to Kaitlyn's blog post. Think of this, also, as the hiking blogosphere’s version of YouTube’s “What’s in My Bag” trend. Basically, if you were to stop me on a trail, this is the neat version of what you would always find in or on my daypack.

Basic gear to pack for a dayhike

WHAT TO SNACK ON

For our pandemic walks, we usually pack apples, energy bars, and a larger meal held in Tupperware. We made pasta salad for this week’s Hamilton neighborhood hike!

Food to pack for a dayhike

We had some penne left over from a pasta dish we had made a day or two earlier, so we took those scraps, added some tomato, yellow bell pepper, and cucumber, and homemade Greek dressing, and made a nice work break/daily stroll meal!

Making pasta salad for a day hike

As Kaitlyn writes in her post, "When I am packing food for a hike I try my best to limit the garbage because it is important to be 'leave no trace' when out in nature. This means that everything you bring into the wilderness, you also have to bring out." Even if you're in a city, you obviously still need to be mindful of the space you're taking up outdoors. Even if you're taking food outside for a small walk in the city, it is still good to take Kaitlyn's advice and "pack out things like apple cores or little bits of dropped food; just because they are compostable doesn't mean they biodegrade quickly."

Enjoy your outdoor experiences, and pack smart!

Making pasta salad for a day hike

I think it is safe to say that Griffin and I are thanking our past selves for choosing to move where we did in Hamilton because we'd be close to a lot of great parks and other outdoor spaces within the city (including a currently closed tennis court right beside our house... super sad right now!). If you are like us and you do not have a backyard (or if your building's public area is rightfully closed until further notice), remember to check-in with yourself. For a lot of people (myself included), time outdoors is feeling pretty crucial. A walk around the neighborhood or to a nearby path/trail (in your zone!) might be what your body and mind need.

It also might not be, and that's OK, too! Whatever your idea of unwinding might be, I hope you enjoyed reading about some of our day-to-day leisurely activities. In theory, working from home wouldn't be much of a change for me, a graduate student; however, I saw a tweet from @juliaferraioli that said: "I've been working remotely for 2.5 years. The past 2.5 months have left me more *exhausted* than ever before. This is your reminder that you're not working remotely. You're working remotely during a global health crisis." I am moved by messages like Ferraioli's because I think there is a ton of very weird social pressure right now to look and feel productive. The demands of possible projects, side jobs, and work, work, work might = "success" for some but might read like toxic energy for others. If a walk outside or a shower is all you can muster, I think we should be celebrating those successes more loudly at a time like this.

 

Recipe: Dressing/Marinade for Hike Snacks

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • dash of Tobasco (I also add dashes of Piri Piri sauce and Cholula hot sauce!)
  • dash of Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of oregano + rosemary mix

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk.
  2. You can pour this over salad/meat/tofu (an added bonus is that, like most dressings or marinades, this is a very simple recipe to double or triple in size). I like to use this as a marinade for chicken, especially, and I think it also tastes excellent over a greek-style pasta salad with some feta and olives!
  3. For best results, I let the dressing marinate with whatever I am pairing for at least 6 hours prior to serving.

Printable version of this recipe

 


Disclaimer: As ever, everything said in this post are my own thoughts and opinions. I haven't been given any compensation for the ideas or information that I share here.