With all that's going on in our country and the world over the last few weeks with the coronavirus and it's results, from empty shelves at grocery stores from panic buying to "social distancing" and staying away from groups or the cancelling of events nationwide, things can feel chaotic and like they are spiraling out of control.
There is also an atmosphere of fear due to a lack of understanding of the virus, which changes daily. States and cities are trying to adapt the best ways that they can and keep their citizens safe. For the most part, this has entailed telling people to stay at home as much as possible and telling employees of all non-essential occupations to stay home as well. Millions are being furloughed by this, myself included.
There is some solace with all this chaos going on. The outdoors, a refuge during normal times, has become even more so lately. What a better way to get out to practice some social distancing? There are not many surfaces to touch and the fresh air is always a way to clear the mind and soul of what is ailing us.
Yes, many public parks within city limits have closed around the country but taking a nice drive outside of town to a lake, a trail, or other outdoor area is always an option. The fish are still biting. Many places are experiencing their first open water of the year, which can be a great time to find some fish. Some areas still have ice, the Black Hills included, and the late ice bite is picking up in many areas where anglers can get on the better ice.
In our area in the Hills, access is becoming harder as shorelines have begun opening on many lakes. The docks are in at Angostura and Belle Fourche Reservoirs already as the lakes are open now. However, I'm holding onto what it left of the ice until the bitter end.
The weather of the last week may have even improved access to some of them. Another week of near freezing conditions will be around before things start warming up and this will mostly remain as April is nearly here. There's still at least two to three weeks of ice left on some lakes, particularly at Deerfield.
For those who need an escape from home isolation, but still be responsible and maintain social distancing, the outdoors can provide this relief and some welcome time away from the news. If you can get out and still be responsible during this uncertain time, it may be just what you needed to refresh yourself and realize that this will eventually pass. But until then, the outdoors is still open!