Rafters return to different world after 3-week trip during coronavirus

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Steamboat Springs residents Patrick Keogh and Michelle Johnson concluded an 18-day rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, they emerged to discover an unfamiliar world.

“That’s always a joke on the Grand Canyon. I did a trip in November 2018. There was some conflict in the world, talking about nuclear weapons across the world,” Keogh said. “You always joke, what if things are different? What if we come out, and there’s a nuclear war going on? This time it was actually true.”

The world wasn’t flattened or poisoned from nuclear warfare, but it still had a post-apocalyptic feel to it. As the couple traveled, they drove by lighted signs that said “Stay Safe,” “Stay Healthy” and “Wash Your Hands,” which Keogh said reminded him of zombie movies. The scene resembled a movie, like something out of “2012” or “The Day After Tomorrow.”

Roads were empty, gas station bathrooms were closed, toilet paper shelves were bare and there were new words and phrases circulating on social media. Keogh and Johnson had to look up the terms “social distancing” and “flatten the curve.”

Read the rest on our partner site Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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