Every day brings new questions: What's up and what's down? Who's sick and who's not sick yet? Who still has a job and who doesn't?
Plus the overall question: What are we allowed to do? How can we stay sane while also staying solitary? I know for me, going running is helping me stay sane—it's a solo activity, I see a bit of the world, I leave a lot of room between me and anyone I pass, and I come home feeling mildly better at least for an hour or two.
Because there are lots of places you can go running in the woods around here, or even just walk if running is not your thing, we collected some of our favorite places into a piece we published on our website yesterday, at the time when we usually publish things you can do this weekend.
Well, apparently, waaaaay too many people read The Stranger's website.
I got an email just now from someone who went out running on Tiger Mountain this morning. His email says:
I wasn’t sure I should send this email but after my experience running on Tiger Mountain this morning I felt I should.
I saw you guys ran a piece recommending hiking locations around Seattle. I know this was super well intentioned; as someone who spends a lot of my free time out there I thoroughly understand the desire to share the healing powers of the outdoors.
However, what I saw today was a concentration of trail use I only MAYBE see on a Sunday in the summer. I saw groups of 6-10 people hiking shoulder to shoulder, not moving a safe distance out of the way for fellow hikers or runners (hello!) coming the other direction on single track trail. I saw a group of runners at the trail head this morning at 7am when I started who clearly had met online and DID NOT KNOW EACH OTHER. I also saw 4 young people on the top of Tiger 3 all sitting on a boulder the size of a coffee table SHARING FOOD.
I am not insinuating that these are “my trails” or anything but I fear that the corona virus pandemonium has sent too many people onto these trails and mountains. And from the looks of many of these people (street clothes, no packs/water/food etc), they have little business out there in the first place.
All’s to say, I would consider pulling that piece down. To be blunt, I don’t think it’s responsible to be recommending locations for people to congregate in relatively closed quarters (single track hiking trails) when we’re being told to not meet in other, urban closed quarters.
Do with this what you will, just my two cents.
After considering this for about five seconds, we agreed.
We tried to emphasize trails ideal for "loners who want to traverse a magical fairyland." But loners are not the people out there traversing the fairyland. We are aghast that people are being so cavalier, and we have pulled the article off our website.
If you want to go for a run, go for a run by yourself. If you want to eat lunch on a boulder, eat lunch on a boulder by yourself. If you can't figure out how doing things by yourself works, please stay home and send recordings of your farts to John Osebold.
By being by ourselves we are literally saving people's lives.