With all the chaos globally because of COVID-19, we are all being encouraged to distance from restaurants, bars, crowded places and even quarantine in your home, when necessary.
This means enduring hours of indoor time, surrounded by snacks, dressed in your PJs, binging on “The Office” or scrolling Instagram for hours on end.
As of March 24, Durango is under a “Stay at Home” directive. These restrictions need to be taken seriously, but you can still escape your couch and enjoy some time being active around the area – away from snacks and mindless scrolling.
Here are six ways to beat boredom and keep your mind and body active during the COVID-19 crisis in Durango:
As you’re probably aware, we have a diverse trail system full of stunning views of the nearby mountains, forests, and lakes. With more than 300 miles of trails within a 30-minute drive of downtown, it’s possible to hike, bike or snowshoe while staying close to home. Consider scouting out trailhead parking lots to make sure your chosen path is uncrowded.
Take a short drive out to Vallecito Lake for more access to some lesser-known trails and incredible views. Vallecito is our little hidden gem with direct access to the Weminuche Wilderness. Social distancing will be no problem here.
Or drive the opposite way and head toward La Plata Canyon. You’ll be greeted by Babcock Peak and Lewis Mountain once you get to the parking lot and trailhead. Don’t be surprised if you spot Nordic skiers and backcountry adventurers.
Don’t forget to keep six feet of distance from your fellow outdoor adventurers.
We recommend hiking during off-peak times, early morning or in the evenings, to stick to the social-distancing recommendations. Before you hike, observe how many cars are parked at the trailhead. If the lot is more than half full, we suggest finding another place to hike.
Also, this is not the time to go big. Stay close to home and err on the conservative side. We do not want to tax the resources of first responders when their focus should be on the COVID-19 virus.
While scrolling through Pinterest, it’s easy to become inspired by some of the incredible craft and DIY projects. All that’s needed is inspiration and directions from one of the craft projects and supplies to get you going.
Search for “pine cone crafts,” “DIY rustic decor” or “mountain critter crafts.”
If you are headed to Home Depot or Walmart off Camino del Rio for supplies or food, check out the crafty aisles. You’ll find all of the supplies, hardware and materials you’ll need to get started on a project from Pinterest or that DIY project you’ve been wanting to do for years.
Recently, our city has become a home to Colorado’s newest Creative District. Take this opportunity to embrace your inner artistic Durangatang.
Biking in La Plata County, whether on pavement or dirt, is not only a great way to get your blood pumping but it can also be a source of relaxation during this stressful time. Hint hint ... it’s also a good stress relief if you’re a bit stir-crazy and need a break from your shelter-in-place friends and family.
Nearly 10 miles in length end-to-end, biking the Animas River Trail is a simple way to get exercise and keep your body active during the COVID-19 crisis. The trail hugs along several parks, over five bridges and is the perfect way to get outside for some afternoon sun. The trail is relatively flat, paved and easy to bike on for a casual afternoon of pedaling.
While Durango’s restaurants have suspended dine-in service, many of our favorite restaurants are offering takeout and curbside delivery. Set up a picnic blanket in the backyard or on the living room floor. Then stream a calming nature scene on your TV or device while you eat. Have fun with it.
For movie buffs looking to broaden their horizons, Durango has been featured as a location in several classic Westerns and action films. If you’re looking to binge on a lazy Sunday (or Tuesday ... we’re not judging!), what better way to pick a theme for your binge than a Durango-based movie marathon! There are plenty of titles to keep you glued to your flatscreen and popcorn bowl, including “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “Around the World in 80 Days.”
To adhere to the social-distancing recommendations and to keep yourself safe, please avoid gathering with friends and family outside your home. You can host a virtual movie marathon with your friends via screen sharing and social media. Sign up for a free Zoom, Google Hangouts, or WhatsApp account, invite your friends and binge away.
Science has proved that being around water, be it a stream, river, lake or ocean, is good for mental health. Humans are naturally drawn to blue space. It induces a meditative state that makes us happier, healthier, calmer, more creative and more capable of awe. Durango is surrounded by bodies of and free-flowing water.
After enjoying the tranquil waters for a moment, bust out your phone or high-tech camera equipment and capture a calming photo or video of your favorite Durango blue space. Do you have dreamy Durango photos or videos to inspire fellow dreamers? Post it and tag #DurangoDreaming for a chance to be featured on Visit Durango’s social media.
Rachel Brown is the executive director of Visit Durango. She can be reached at 261-1052 or email@example.com. Marketing Manager Nick Kogos contributed to this column.