The virus news is getting worse by the minute and I am going to get back on the trail tomorrow morning but Chuck a/k/a Taco is going to head back home with Bryan. My hope is that things are going to settle down enough for him to come back on trail when Neil returns in early April but this feels like the right thing to do now.
I called ahead to the next two trail towns and the hostels are closed but hotels and food stores are still open. I’m worried that over the next few weeks that it could get hard to find shelter and food for Chuck but I am confident that I can press on and still follow the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) guidelines for staying healthy and not passing along the virus. I will stay away from shelters, practice distancing and hand washing and am prepared to isolate myself if I get sick. I believe I am still better off in the woods right now and will be careful around my fellow hikers.
A lot of people are suffering right now and I hope that I can have the best of both worlds by continuing my hike safely and helping those small businesses in the towns I pass through. I trust that I will be welcome when I arrive but will gauge that when I get to Hot Springs on Friday.