Trip Planning in the Time of Covid - Mountain Buzz

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
Dipshit with the most.
carvedog's Avatar
Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,848
Trip Planning in the Time of Covid

A respectful discussion of how to ease back into Multi Day trips safely and the Covid in terms of Idaho boating

TLR - I want to go boating safely with some of you all, is that crazy?

Sometimes I post up info about the road to the MF, river flow or some other weird shit that gives the impression I know what I am talking about. Apparently, my info has helped some people from time to time.

As a result I have received many invitations to join trips, including several this spring and early summer. Normally I can only manage a spring trip with my crew and don't get to consider joining another trip.

This spring I was supposed to go down the Grand. The stars had aligned on a date, with a fabulous group of people. As a single dad of two teenage girls this is some feat. One daughter had a school trip that coincided with the exact dates of the GC trip of May 17 to June 2 and the other one had good friends to stay with.

Until the Covid. Pretty sure the NPS will not open the GC by then and my PH is so bummed he won't even answer the phone.
Seriously fuck this virus.

Blaine County (where I live conveniently just two hours to the put in for the Middle Fork) quickly became a hot spot the third week of March, as did many destination ski areas. We led the nation in per capita cases for well over a week. In a valley of 18K total population, we have nearly 500 people confirmed. I believe the actual number to be 3 to 4 times that. And not asymptomatic carriers, but people who got sick. I know of three different families that only one person was tested but the entire family got sick. They all were sick and recovered at home.

I had one friend who died of it, another friend lost his mom. And I know several who spent days to over a week in hospital, two for sure in I get that it is real and serious.

But I am so over it. And the whole "Stay the Fuck Home" thing is really getting on my nerves. How about "Let's be smart about how we interact with other humans". Not as catchy but a better way to live.

I am ready to go boating and have been invited (some before the 'rona and some after) on several different trips. I couldn't really consider it, but we have had very low numbers of new cases and the Governor has a phased reopening of the state.

It has been unusual for me to not have some out of state people on nearly every trip. Particularly in June it looks like we may be able to start to mingle with some out of state folks without quarantine.

The parts of the trip that seem challenging to me would be:
Shuttling to and from the river without carpooling.
Hanging out at the fire (thinking of six feet distance)
Rescue situations.
Medical emergency.

Floating on the river would not be challenging.

How do you feel about the risk of interacting with strangers in a multi-day river trip situation?

Do you think this can be done safely?

How do we do that?

If available commercially would you take a test before and after a trip?\
Twenty tests for $280 and must be purchased by a health professional.
10 minute test that shows lines like a pregnancy test from a fingertip prick.
This is likely the way commercial trips will go. Maybe.

Would you wear a mask if you had kitchen duty that night?
Or any time in camp?

Crazy to even think about?

Just the thought of a river trip has improved my spirits so much that I wanted to see what the collective thought.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #2
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 69
I like this thread, as things slowly open back up all of us that want to get back on the river will need to be thinking about these things. The pre trip test is an interesting idea if you can get ahold of them- hopefully that will become easier for the whole country going forward. I think another thing to add to your list of challenges might be the groover situation- maybe separate groovers for each household family group? I think Covid can pass through feces which would definitely make the groover a potential source of spread, but I could be mistaken.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #3
BenSlaughter's Avatar
Ft jones, United States
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 83
I agree the "stay the fuck at home" thing is getting real old.

It's also odd to me how divisive this issue has become. The StfaH attitude seems to have at least some correlation to how much time a person spends watching\listening to the news. 🙄

While it is a serious disease, the data that is coming out now just doesn't support this attitude that everyone who's out in public may as well be the Grim Reaper.

I live in a county with a population of about 45,000 people, FIVE confirmed cases, zero fatalities. I interact with fewer than a dozen people. I don't have it, although I wish I could find someone to get it from... I'm young(ish) and healthy. I'm zero% concerned about it hurting me. And I'd like to not have to be concerned about getting it and passing it to anyone else. We can't all live under a rock until they come out with a 18-24 months.
ALSO, people seem to be forgetting that these lockdowns were never really about preventing the spread of the disease. Viruses pretty much infect the same number of people, regardless of our actions, short of a vaccine. The lockdowns were implemented in order to keep from overwhelming the system. Which seems to have been accomplished. I know several nurses in small towns and cities who are all but out of work, because the hospitals are EMPTY!!

I'm getting off topic though...

I do my best to support local business when I travel for river trips. But this year may have to be different. The likelihood of spreading this at a pay-at-the-pump gas station is awfully low.
The conversation would have to be had, in advance, with the shuttle company, hotel managers, restauranteurs, etc. As well as details worked out with the group you're boating with. Or, as I've done plenty of times before, just go solo.

And if I get some irate yokel yelling at me just because I have Oreegone plates on my pickup, I'll take that as an invitation that they want to have a conversation with me alot closer than 6' apart. 😉

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #4
Boise, ID
Paddling Since: '99
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 342
Spoke with a good friend who is a doc who I do river trips with sometimes. Carve-he was working at WR Luke's during the shitstorm so he's seen what happens and admitted a lot of serious cases over there. He said right now, he'd would only go with people who he knows and trusts and who have been doing the right stuff for the 2-3 weeks leading up to the trip. Right stuff-social distancing, staying home as much as possible, limiting exposure to the public. If he had the right people on the trip, he'd keep the trip small, and avoid any longer trips more than seven days.

We're as hygienic as I've seen on trips and he said keep doing that and then some and be mindful in camp and shuttles for personal hygiene but not do much else differently.

I spoke to an out of state shuttle company for a trip for my girlfriend and me. They were happy to do the shuttle if we wiped down the truck when dropped it off and gave them at least three days to deliver to the take out. When asked, they said because we're out of state, we might want to hit some mud puddles fast to cover our plates because locals were not too happy with out of staters right now. We decided to honor that and not push the issue and are staying local.

I also run a couple shuttles a year to get people to a hard to get to put in. I told them I'd take their gear but I wasn't going to sit in a confined car with 6-7 people I don't know that well for four hours. That didn't make them happy but I don't really care. It's not my source of income so they can figure out other shuttles.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
FoCo,NoCo, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 356
Contact points.
kitchen duty
handwashing stations
boat below your ability level (be safe)
small group size
byob dyob

face masks. gloves.
Good insurance.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
Arvada, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2018
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 18
Super interesting subject. I too have been struggling with this topic as the possibility of river trips start to get closer.

Carvedog, I think you hit the main points of contact/concern in the OP.

I would venture to say that most of these can be mitigated by wearing a mask when you are close to other people and washing (or at least sanitize) your hands before and after touching shared property, or eating or touching your face. Masks in the kitchen would also be pretty wise. As well as when around the fire without distance- but it sure will make drinking beer harder (bring a straw?). I think in the kitchen it might also behoove us to have the cooks dish up food school cafeteria style rather than everyone touching the same serving utensils?

For the groover - there is some research suggesting that COVID can be transmitted fecal-oral. Hygiene to take care of that shouldn't be anything new on a river trip, poop in the mouth can cause a lot of other river trouble than just COVID.

Pre-trip testing would be great if you could get it without depriving someone that needs it more of one.

As for medical/rescue - take the precautions you have the time for (ei: you could put on a mask with your nitrile gloves) but know that as with any rescue, there is risk involved. Also risk for any outside SAR teams which we can't do anything about other than lower our own risk thresholds.

None of these are perfect measures, but like everything else we've done so far in this crises, they should help mitigate the risks.

Personally, I'll probably stick a single close group of friends and take a couple fewer precautions while working as hard as I can to make sure we do everything possible to keep the remote communities we pass through safe from us.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 286
Big things I’d do is leave home ready to launch. Food, gear, gas...done. No hotels, restaurants, or going in for a Slurpee refueling,ect. up and back. A Trip to the Moon and back mentality.

Refueling ain’t rocket science....Hand sanitizer before and after.

Other things I’d do that are not mentioned is going solo for sleeping arrangements. Everyone in their own smaller tent. Booo for S.O. fun but just be happy to be on the river and all that nonsense.

I’d also just keep the meals simple and folks just prep and clean their own. A bunch of smaller stoves. I’m sure the Better Camps and Gardens crowd will have trouble getting their brain around it but oh well.

(Just counting down til this thread turns into another shitshow.)
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 99

The test that you posted is an antibody test. This will let you know if you have had COVID-19. But it does not tell you if you have the VIRUS, ie, if you are contagious. So until there is an antigen test you can use to self-test, you won't be able to test the trip participants.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #9
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
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Originally Posted by go-with-the-Flo View Post
The test that you posted is an antibody test. This will let you know if you have had COVID-19. But it does not tell you if you have the VIRUS, ie, if you are contagious. So until there is an antigen test you can use to self-test, you won't be able to test the trip participants.
It is actually a two stage test that you can order either one or both.

Options for which version are in the link.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #10
king kong kev's Avatar
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 41
We had a San Juan trip scheduled back in March and as a group we decided to cancel the trip. Back in March I copied some info from the web on COVID-19 (possibly dated by now) and annotated [italics and brackets] how it would apply to our trip. Here is a list of the screening and controls we were considering before we decided to cancel.

1) Make sure everyone is healthy before we leave [We can do this. And anyone who is not feeling well should stay home]

2) Check for symptoms which include:
▪ Fever
▪ Cough
▪ Shortness of breath
▪ Symptoms can present 2-14 days after exposure.
[Everyone needs to screen and monitor themselves before/during the trip]

3) Know how disease is transmitted:
▪ Most commonly spread person-to-person via droplet when in close contact (within 6 feet) with an infected person. [Although we will be outside, we will be in close contact with each other in and around camp]
▪ Spread through respiratory droplets with coughing or sneezing.
▪ Possible to be spread by contact on a surface or object but not the most common way the virus spreads. There is also emerging evidence of oral-fecal transmission related to viral shedding which, in turn, places emphasis on effective hand washing and/or not handling food for others. [Definitely will need to be rigorous on hand washing throughout the day]

▪ People are most contagious when they are most symptomatic but can also transmit the disease prior to feeling symptomatic (called the prodromal phase of their illness). [Without testing we won't know if anyone has the virus on the trip]

4) Preventative measures:
▪ Best option: Avoid being exposed when possible [This works if nobody has the virus when we launch]
▪ Actions that minimize communicability or transmission of the condition:
Plan to wipe down surfaces regularly and provide easy access to soap/water or hand sanitizer. [We can do this- just need to have easy access to hand sanitizer and to wipe down all cooking areas and tables frequently]

Avoid close contact with people who are sick; stay at least 6 feet away. [Very difficult if anyone on the trip is sick]
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth especially after sneezing/coughing. [Good practice and we can do this]
Cover your cough or sneeze with tissue and then throw it in trash and immediately wash your hands (soap & water). [Could be difficult to have tissue, trash, and hand wash available at all times]
Isolate people with assumed COVID-19 [Not really possible on river trip]

5 ) Conduct good physical assessments of folks who become ill; Ascertain recent travel history of anyone who becomes ill; isolate from general population; treat symptomatically; notify health department if you have concerns regarding COVID-19. [Difficult/impossible to do on the river. Very limited health care available.]
Hey diddle diddle; right down the middle... D. Sallaz
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