Cross-country skiers escaped to the Moosewood Nordic Ski Centre for one last day on the slopes March 19.

Despite the constraints of social distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Haliburton Highlands Nordic Trails Association ran a scavenger hunt. Visitors made their way through a variety of unmanned holiday-themed stations, completing activities and trivia along the way.

The event had some adjustments, with no gathering, refreshments or crafts to assemble. The association asked people to keep a classic ski length away from anyone they do not live with. But it was one of the few events to go ahead in the Highlands amidst the pandemic. Volunteer Lillian Ramsdale said it was a chance for people to get out of the house.

“It’s a lot of fun and it allows people to go outside and see each other, even if it’s at a distance,” Ramsdale said. “You can still see people, even if it’s from a sneeze distance away.”

The pandemic has caused most events in the Highlands and beyond to be cancelled, with social distancing guidelines requiring people to avoid gatherings, limit contact and keep approximately two metres away from others. Travel is also limited.


But social distancing does not require the elimination of all outdoor exercise. Kevin Walsh visited from Toronto with his son, after the pandemic dashed their travel plans to New York.

“We looked for something that was like a break that we could go nearby and still be pretty isolated,” Walsh said. “It’s so hard, if we just had to be inside permanently – which we may be coming up to eventually … It’s going to be really tough, so even just spending two hours outside is just glorious.”

Haliburton’s Jennifer Payton said skiing was a good opportunity to get away from coronavirus-related stress.

“I don’t think about it when I’m outside,” she said. “In this moment, everything is fine. I’m safe and happy, my family is safe and happy and let’s focus on that.” Payton recommended the experience to others. “Get outside everybody. Just go outside.”

Get The Highlander in your inbox every Thursday