Yosemite COVID Camping

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Yosemite COVID Camping

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Living in San Diego at the time, once travel restrictions were lifted, I went to Yosemite National Park as I thought being in an outdoor open-air environment would mean less COVID-19 restrictions. As an avid backpacker and nature enthusiast, I could not wait for the national parks to reopen so once Yosemite opened its proverbial doors I jumped on the opportunity, as I had never been there before. My memories of the trip are very fond ones. I remember the emptiness throughout the park. One of the COVID restrictions implemented by the park was the limitation of people who could enter on a daily basis. Due to this finite number of visitors, and me being one of them, this made the park feel fairly empty, which was amazing. Not having congested trails and camps made my trip seem like I was in some remote forest, vice one of the most famous national parks. So, besides the stunning views and crisp air, one of my primary memories is the feeling of seclusion throughout my time due to COVID-19 entrance restrictions. Also, I remember a lack of masks and overall COVID-19 consciousness throughout the park. Even though the park had a mandatory mask policy, I remember not seeing many masked people. I honestly thought the mask restriction was overkill due to the already implemented restrictions and being outside, but I did notice we all would use masks if coming near other people on trails. Yosemite still had several COVID-19 restrictions implemented throughout the part. Aside from the aforementioned entrance cap and masks, all their restaurants, hotels and general facilities remained closed. Also, they spaced out the campsites, so each camp had at least one camp space between them, limiting the sharing of space. They even closed specific trails due to the lack of workers at any given time. The park employees were few and far in-between due to a COVID-19 restriction, which meant less accessible trails since they would not supervise them all with such limited manpower. Besides that, the COVID-19 restrictions were not abundant, which was likely a product of the open-air environment.

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This item was submitted on October 12, 2023 by James Bowers using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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