Call to the Wild: Great Outdoors an Escape in Tough Times
By Pat Graham and Michael Casey / The Associated Press / March 29, 2020
Jim Klug’s [Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, Founder and Director of Operations] office phone rings off the hook with anxious anglers inquiring about the status of their upcoming fly-fishing trips.
It’s a stressful time for the co-owner of a fishing travel company as he postpones and re-books international and domestic expeditions due the coronavirus pandemic.
The best way for him to slip away from the stress — even if for a brief moment — is to follow a bit of his own advice: Go fish.
Whether it’s reeling in trout, hiking, snow activities (until the snow melts, of course) or any other endeavor, the call from the wild delivers a much-needed respite in these turbulent times.
Those remote places? Not so remote right now. Many seasoned hikers are getting annoyed that their prized spots are getting overrun
Typically open — although national parks are increasingly limiting access and more shelter-at-home orders are being issued — the great outdoors provides a natural way to social distance.
“They may close the borders. The may close the amusements and the sports stadiums and any places that lots and lots of people gather. But they’re not going to close the great outdoors and not going to close the rivers and streams,” said Klug, founder of Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures in Montana. “It’s something that always brings inner peace and calmness.”
In New England, where backwoods skiing and hiking to 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) are almost a way of life for hardier residents, the trails are more crowded than ever. Hikers report they are seeing plenty of newcomers who are hitting the outdoors due to gym closures.
Those remote places? Not so remote right now. Many seasoned hikers are getting annoyed that their prized spots are getting overrun.
Then again, everyone has the same thought — get a breath of fresh air
“It’s to get that sunlight, some vitamin D. I know it will make me feel better. I feel rested,”said Ryan Smith, the 37-year-old owner of a media company from Peabody, Massachusetts, on why he is still taking day hikes with his wife, Jennifer, along trails on the North Shore of Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.
For Klug, there’s nothing more relaxing than stepping into a river with his fishing rod. “Six feet of social distancing? On the river, you can have six miles,” Klug said. “We’re the sport that originated social distancing.” Usually, this is a busy time for Klug with anglers planning fly-fishing excursions to Mexico, Belize, Bahamas or Cuba. Now, clients are calling to reschedule their trips. In the meantime, local fishing spots work well. “People are racing to the next, great thrilling, adventure-seeking destination,” Klug said. “We’re flying over these areas in order to reach those ‘Instagrammable,’ exotic-type places. “We forget how amazing everything is right here in our own backyard.”