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COVID-19 Update for Quiet Guiding Co.

I wanted to provide a short update here about our 2020 trips relative to the COVID-19 pandemic. As always if you have any questions that aren’t addressed here, please e-mail me.

Originally written March 17th, 2020. Updated as of July 14th, 2020 (afternoon).

First, the practical information:

Current Trip Logistics Update

All of our 2020 trips take place in Ontario Parks and they have been providing ongoing updates here.

Effective June 12th, group sizes outside of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area can increase to 10 as long as they remain socially distanced (2 meters or more). Guiding services and tour operators are also allowed to operate. For the latest on the province’s Phase Two reopening plans, please click here.

This has been a tricky time for The Quiet Guiding Co. I want to take you out canoeing *and* I want to keep you (and me!) healthy and safe. In order to reduce the burden on smaller communities, I’ve cancelled our Quetico and Temagami trips for 2020. I look forward to taking you there in 2021.

I have kept the Killarney canoe trips. The July 4th trip was a hot, sunny, buggy success. The August 20th trip is available for booking now here.

If you have a private group of 5, I’d be happy to discuss a custom booking for you. Available dates will be coming in the fall; you’ve filled up my summer dates for me (THANK YOU!!!).

Health and Wellness

Pre-Trip

If you do develop flu-like symptoms within two weeks of the start of your trip, I ask that you stay home. I’ll work with each person individually with respect to cancellation. When purchasing trip cancellation insurance, ask your provider about purchasing coverage that allows you to cancel for any reason.

I will be following up with you within two weeks of your trip to check in on your health and your contact with others.

If I develop flu-like symptoms within two weeks of the start of your trip I will stay home. I will endeavor to provide you a top-notch guide so that your trip may carry on.

I clean and disinfect all group gear after a trip ends. I will do the same prior to packing a trip.

I will also thoroughly clean and disinfect the Subaru that carries all the gear and me to you, before and after each trip.

On Trip

As long as our trips can continue to proceed, I’ll continue with my standard health and wellness practices and add in a few extra measures.

Standard procedures include:
  • A hand washing station with lots of soap and hand sanitizer
  • A dish washing station with dish gloves where one sink is HOT soapy water (sometimes too hot) and one sink is disinfectant rinse
  • Ensuring everyone is well-hydrated (via a water filtration system), well-fed, and with any luck well-slept
Extra procedures include (but are not limited to):
  • Including extra non-latex gloves in the kitchen kit for food prep (a set already comes with me in the first aid kit) and extra dish gloves for clean-up
  • Practicing social distancing between us (if not a custom group who have been isolating together)
  • Extra disinfection of group gear between uses during each trip
  • Evacuating anyone who develops flu-like symptoms on trip
  • Guides will wear a mask both on and off the water.
  • Clients are strongly encouraged to wear masks for their safety. You are requested to bring your own.
  • The number of tents are limited on Ontario Parks’ campsites. I will manage group size and tentmates accordingly (i.e. you will not bunk with a stranger).
  • No hugs or handshakes before or after the trip. (You know this one’s hard for me!)

Post-Trip

I clean and disinfect all gear after a trip. I would ask that you stay in touch if you do develop flu-like symptoms in the two weeks after our trip. (I’d be happy if you stayed in touch even if you didn’t develop an illness.)

Second, taking care of head and heart:

Depending on how you approach times like these, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. I know I have been. Reach out if you need some human interaction. Take a walk, if possible. Stretch, move, breathe deeply. Drink water and eat nutritious food.

I saw a Facebook post from an OB-GYN friend who said social distancing should be reframed as physical distancing. Talk on the phone. Send an e-mail. Reach out through a messaging app.

Take good care of yourself.

Image for attention for COVID-19 update

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Previous Logistics Updates

When the first announcement came out on March 17th I made the difficult decision to cancel my first trip of the season: backpacking trip in Bon Echo, that was to start May 22nd. I’ll be keeping a close eye on those Parks updates to see if it can be rescheduled for later in the season.

On March 18th the Prime Minister announced the closing of borders to non-essential travel. This now impacts Americans wanting to come up for a trip for the time being. I will be keeping an eye on developments here.

With travel now restricted and my first trip still a couple of months away, I will hold off on the standard “please let us know if you have traveled outside of Canada (or the U.S., I guess) recently” message you may have received from other service providers. As of March 23rd, I’ve cancelled a trip to Charlotte originally scheduled for the end of May to celebrate my folks’ 25th wedding anniversary. I have no other travel planned beyond – hopefully – taking you out into the backcountry.

On March 31st, Toronto Mayor John Tory cancelled all events in the city through June 30th. I am based in Toronto and taking my cues from local health authorities.

As of May 30th, Parks committed to opening backcountry camping and canoeing as of June 1st.