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A Hiking Excursion With A Club In The Post COVID World

The world has been undergoing some crazy time since the start of the year 2020. Almost all of us have been under a lockdown of one or another kind. The travel industry is near standstill. Humans are suspicious of each other due to infectious & deadly viruses he or she might or might not be carrying. It isn’t likely we are going to return to the same world that existed before the coronavirus in the immediate future. Lockdown in Jaipur was declared two days prior to all India lockdown on 24th March 2020. The situation in the city was akin to curfew with all kinds of movements on roads restricted.

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The walled city area was under curfew for close to 60 days!

The justification of lockdown was to save lives. But now as it is being eased and the number of positive COVID cases going up in India, it seems saving lives is secondary. Being locked up for close to 70 days with no access to parks, gyms, yoga studios, or cycling is hard to describe. The lockdown in Jaipur was modified last week allowing movement during the early morning. It was possible to venture out for morning jogs in the public parks, cycle, and even a hike.

The idea of undertaking a small trek near Jaipur in the Aravalis after being completely homebound for 2 months is hard to describe. It is certainly safer to enjoy fresh air in the jungle than in a city park, currently.

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A walk in the jungle of Gum Arabica trees

 

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Weather prediction for the day hinted at an overcast sky and a light drizzle. It was a pleasant break from a high temperature of 42-45 Celsius for the last couple of days.

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A beautiful sunrise

So here I was in a jungle full of Acacia trees. It is within a few minutes’ drive from the edge of the city. I’m sure this nature walk is good for the soul.

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The trail is not a preferred choice of the hikers in Jaipur; a climb through the sand and thorns of Acacia trees.

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Over here are some more pictures from this week’s hike.

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A hike is never complete unless you savor the views and moments.

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Was this hike any different from the ones we have undertaken in a pre-coronavirus world? Yes. A lot has changed.

  • Safe distance seems to be a top priority in everyone’s mind.
  • Hikers had trouble breathing due to masks. During the climb, the heart rate goes up necessitating intake of more oxygen. So everyone was struggling. The mask is not exactly the best thing in such a situation. But all of us need to adjust to the new reality.
  • Hiking groups in Jaipur with a large member base are out for the time being. During the last two years, many new trekking clubs have come up. As a result, many popular hiking trails in Jaipur witness a large number of hikers. It is not uncommon to find groups with 30-40 people on popular hiking trails in Jaipur. I suppose this will take a backseat in the coming time.

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I’m part of a small trekking group in Jaipur; our members have been discussing steps we need to take owing to the current situation. We also have a few members who are doctors. The consensus seems to be towards reduced hiking trips during the next few months, no carpooling, maintaining a safe distance, and hiking in a group of not more than 5 people. I’m not anticipating another hike in the coming two months.

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One of many Acacia trees in the jungle

The hikers exchanged experiences of the last three challenging months. I was happy to be back in nature on a beautiful day. This was certainly better than visiting public parks like Central Park. While the authorities have permitted walkers & joggers to use parks, the circumstances warrant staying away from jogging tracks. Let me share this quote- Learn from the past, Anticipate tomorrow, But embrace the now.

Going by this analogy, one should enjoy a beautiful day, whenever the opportunity arises, safely! What is your opinion of the current situation? How have you adapted to the new reality?

Read more about other Trekking Places In Jaipur or the Dhok Tree Trail

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76 thoughts on “A Hiking Excursion With A Club In The Post COVID World

    1. My thoughts resonate with you. It is only when something is taken away from us that we realize its importance. Sometimes the simple things become luxury. I’m glad we have now come to appreciate what all we have. Is that how people feel even in the UK?

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Great photos considering the restrictions under which you took them, Arv! Nevertheless, it must have been a great relief to go for a hike in the slightly cooler air after days of sweltering heat. 42 to 45 degrees would kill me. Have a great day!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Well, there were no restriction to step out when I visited. The lockdown was from 7pm to 7am. It is definitely a great relief to be able to explore the woods. I can understand why it is hard for you to experience the heat. We’re on a different end of temprature scale. Probably, It will be hard for me to live in sub-zero temprature of your region. I suppose the weather must be awesome right now in Fauquier.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love those new pics and glad to know that you could get out to enjoy the views.
    Here, shelter in place was not so harsh. We could go out for walks around our neighborhood, which is has green belts and lovely walking trails by a creek. We could also go out for grocery shopping and most of the people wear masks in the stores, not while walking though. Situation is improving here but in India, it seems to be worsening! We hear a lot about the apathetic attitude of the authorities.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad one could go out for walks and shopping in most of the US and Europe. This is what I have been hearing from friends and family. Unfortunately, things are different here. Considering the density of population, and callous attitude, the situation in many places is bad. Even though people wear masks but they are not serious about other aspects. COVID is beng taken too lightly which explains everything. I’m glad situation t your end is improving.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. No walks for us. We found a Mugg and Bean and took our chais to go. Sat in the safety of the car at the beachfront and watched people NOT practice social distancing. Much safer in the car and then a quick dash home to sanitiser and safari trails on Natgeo on the television.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thank you Arv, for sharing your hike, it certainly all has changed for you and all over the globe, more or less. I assume that Monsoon season has started and there fore breathing has becoming harder in certain elevations, or even cities. Indeed when something has been taken away from us, we value and appreciate what we have and that is what I believe the world has to learn from this Corona Virus. Here were I live in Southern California, I have tried to go every day on a walk and I found new trails without restrictions in the wilderness or I would just walk around a golf course or my neighborhood enjoying other people’s blooming gardens, there was so much beauty in all its simplicity to discover that would fill my heart and soul, to appreciate. Sometimes we don’t have to go far to explore the beauty of nature. Be safe and healthy , Arv.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Monsoon is one month away. The recent change in weather was due to the cyclone over Bay of Bengal. You are right. An Absence makes us realize its importance. I’m glad you had an opportunity to find new trails and enjoy beauty around. I agree, we don’t have to go far to explore the beauty around us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the care. You too stay safe, Cornelia. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It must have felt great stepping out in the open ……. I am yet to step out so looking forward to Sunday. Lets see how the day unfolds.

    Life will definitely not be the same as it was but then we humans have the knack of adapting to change. I just hope all are able to cope up. I find wearing a mask suffocating but don’t have a choice. Safety is a priority now. Cases are on a rise out here and even though things are easing its pragmatic to make safe & wise choices. In a way the lockdown is still on.

    A small group and once in a while hike or walks near home sounds good. The photos are clicked well and the sky definitely brings a smile to my face 🙂

    I do want to travel by this year end to some place pretty, safe and peaceful. Maybe a slow travel. Just hope the wish is granted.

    Till then lets stay safe and hopeful!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. well, I don’t think I need to describe how it feels to be back in woods. I agree we all adapt. Human history is all about changes and adapations. Even though lockdown is “diluted” the real need for lockdown seems to be now. I’m not sure if I’m going out in a small group for the next two months. If at all, I do hike it will be with just one person. This too is considering hiking alone in jungles is not safe. I guess it is best to avoid stepping out as much as possible.

      I knew you will love sky pictures, Monika. 🙂 All these pictures were clicked with a smartphone. The best option to travel in 2020 in my opinion is a self-drive holiday in offbeat location devoid of crowd. A trekking holiday in Himalaya or a jungle resort fits in perfectly when things have settled, a few months later. Thanks, for the care. You too, stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Monika, fitness is secondary. You need to be mentally strong to convince your mind. I met a 90 year old lady on a high altitude trek in Himalayas. She was on her 19th trek. I hope this will help you to convince yourself to win the battle with your mind. 🙂

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  6. So glad you’re able to get out finally, even with a few restrictions. The photos are stunning. I have never seen Jaipur look so clear nor have I seen the sky so blue. It must be extremely warm there now, though, yes?

    Here they have always left the parks open (even as they closed the playground equipment for safety). The logic was that we would all need it for our mental health. For me the popular trails are too crowded with people not doing a great job of maintaining social distancing so I tend to avoid them. So for running I go either on sidewalks in areas where few people want to go or narrow dirt paths in the woods nearby. For cycling it’s the same sort of thing. The best paved off-road paths are also the most popular and filled with cyclists, runners, and pedestrians in even greater number than you’d have seen a year ago. However, I am finding normally busier roads to be really nice. Traffic is low and there are fewer cyclists there.

    Our “mask culture” seems to have evolved to the point where mostly they’re used where social distancing isn’t possible. So fortunately for me when I run or ride I don’t need to wear a mask and people around me generally aren’t. We give a wider berth to other people, and an even wider berth to cyclists. After all, if I ride 6 feet behind someone and we’re both going 25 km/hr, it’s more risky than standing the same distance apart. Once we all are inside, for example in a supermarket, nearly everyone is now wearing a mask – and the few times I’ve had to go to work (about once a month) everyone must wear one all day from the minute we get on site.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad you have liberty to go out and excercise. Out here, lockdown meant a complete lockdown for a month and half. Even now, I feel walking or jogging in park is not safe because maintaining required distance is difficult. I guess everything will evolve gradually. The Corona scare isn’t going away in immediate future.
      Next time you are in Jaipur, we can explore this trail, Todd. Although, things looks difficult for travel in the coming months.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah – your lockdown was definitely more strict than ours. We were never forced to stay completely indoors though for a while most people did.

        It will definitely be a while before things are back to normal. I’m not sure when travel beyond our own province will be possible let alone air travel to another country. And even when it eases up I will need to see how they are managing things for air travel. A 17 hour flight with a mask might just be unimaginable.

        The good news is that there’s SO much R&D happening with dozens of vaccine candidates out there. I feel it’s only a matter of time. However, I also wonder how we will change. Even after a vaccine, will we feel the same level of safety and security outside our “family bubbles”? Time will tell.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Todd, I understand your safety concerns. I agree it will take quite some time for the things to return back to normal. I think the vaccine for all is atleast 6 months away. Most govt.’s want people to behave normally because of tax economics. The truth is things aren’t normal yet. There are also so many conspiracy theories. Who knows if the entire covid thing is a sham to garner more power or to make money. Some doctors claim that Covid is similar to Aids. We still don’t have vaccine and no one talks about it now. So many questions, but no answers!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I still can’t digest the new “normal”. This is not what I look forward to in the near future. As you said, the hiking or trekking groups may have to pause for some time. This is definitely for recreation but my concern is all about the economic situation. It is very difficult to manage a balance between the two! Embracing the now would be the right choice.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I can understand what you mean. However, at this time, we have limited options. I also feel we should think about mental health too. In our country, mental health always takes a backseat. There are all sorts of reasons that are given a preference over mental health. That’s how our society is. Getting away from the city into nature is a great way to unwind. This is one of the only available travel opportunity we hav at the moment. Isn’t it so?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful pictures:) nice to know that you could get out to unwind. Hyderabad is cool down known with rains for last few days. The Corona cases are rising every day; lot of chaos in government hospitals, and doctors in Government hospital on strike and except for the Public transport, private vehicles are on road. We walk in front of our flat in the even evening hours, children play shuttle maintaining social distance and we are blessed to have the vegetable vendors at our door step and we pray and hope that this phase ends soon…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Angela, happy to know that the weather has become pleasant. I guess the situation across the country is not inspiring. Taking precautionary measures is important. Unlike most of Europe, we were not able to go out for walks/jogs during the lockdown. The situation is challenging for mental health. I’m glad you can go out for a stroll in the evening and also have regular supply of necessary items at your doorstep. Thanks for sharing your thoughts & Stay safe.

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  9. Yes, absolutely! Mental Health should be the priority. I do not deny the fact. Hiking is one of the best ways to unwind for sure. Rather, I am in the favour of opening everything and get back to normal. Not only trekking, hiking but also all other activities should be done as before. In my opinion, it is all about numbers and counts we keep. The deaths in our country from other sources are way more than Covid. So, opening up things and getting back to normal is the only way for everyone’s mental and economical well being.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Yes, one must grab the opportunity with both arms to be outdoors, if the weather is good. But with social distancing.

    It’s shocking how the virus is spreading as the lockdown opens up. Though not that we didn’t anticipate it. But what is entirely ridiculous is people not following social distancing norms. Educated people. I see runners and cyclists congregating in groups, again. Not sure if that’s being responsible at this time?

    It’s good to know your group of trekkers are showing responsibility.

    Take good care, and enjoy the outdoors whenever you can.
    I miss cycling away long distance over the weekend. But I guess patience pays. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you, Natasha. The only reason why the situation is getting worse is that we are taking things for granted. Probably, people feel it won’t happen to them. The other day, one of my friends mentioned that you can find so many joggers in Central Park jogging without masks. People are walking in the park in big groups as if the life has returned to normal. It is a similar situation even in the markets. Looking at how things are unfolding I have chosen not to hike for the last two weekends. I’m also staying away from markets and parks. Everything can wait. Have you found some alternatives to cycling?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’m doing yoga at home, walking my dogs once a day and sometimes walking on my own. I also hope to cycle around our complex on some days, in the days to come.

        Yes, our locality has now been declared a containment zone. Had to happen.

        I’m glad you are taking it easy and staying safe. Everything can wait if we choose to be patient. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  11. 2020 has certainly been a difficult year, worldwide, and so many people have been desperate to just get out in the open. I’m glad you got out to enjoy that wonderful hike after weeks of restricted movement anywhere. I live in a tiny, almost isolated, village in the countryside, so getting out for walks hasn’t been a problem. People in cities have had it hard and social distancing will be in place for some time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly, I’m glad you were able to get out every day for walks. Yes, city dwellers were badly affected. Social distancing in many cities is a big problem because of sheer density of population. Living in countryside in current situation is quite ideal. Stay safe, Mllie.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. A hike in nature with such pretty views in the lovely weather in more than what one can ask for after this prolonged house arrest. It must be so revitalising, Arv. I still could not take any such trip since the relaxation of the lockdown but am eagerly waiting for some. Keep hiking, staying safe and refreshing your soul.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It certainly was, Sarmistha. The beauty of having hills around the city is that you don’t have to plan or travel. It’s in our backyard and all one needs is a couple of hours to make it happen.
      I’m sure there are hills in your vicinity but not sure if that’s a possibility for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I absolutely loved the pictures. And I am glad you were able to go in a smaller group. I am not sure if I would out. I have accepted the new normal but I am still wary of how things don’t seem better. So the choice to stay home and admire pictures is coming from fear.
    I am glad you shared and also spoke of how you have accepted and trying to move on. Thank you for joining this week and would love to see you back tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Parul, I can understand your concern. I went hiking only once after lockdown restrictions were eased. I guess it was just to feel normal that I chose to hike that day. As I have mentioned in the post, I won’t be going for hikes in the coming two months. Happy to join, everytime for TTL

      Liked by 1 person

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