Sunday, October 25, 2015


Sometimes the urge to stipple is overwhelming. I suppose it would be a daunting endeavor from the perspective of a beginner to view the vast real estate upon which one will have to affix innumerable dots, but like so many things in life what happens on the page is a metaphor for the Big Picture. Namely in how so many small and seemingly inconsequential actions can and will ultimately add up to something else entirely.

Enough with the insights: truth is I saw a display in a camping goods store that was showcasing a new tent on the display floor. Problem was the cookstove and provisions were set up directly inside the entrance awning, which of course is both a spiffy feature and photogenic, but in reality is a recipe for potential disaster. Practical advice for bear safety: the absolute last thing you want to do while backcountry trekking anywhere in Alaska is to infuse your tent with food odors. You essentially turn your campsite into a literal bear-baiting station: set up the food prep area a minimum of 100 feet away, downwind, and nothing smelly allowed inside whatsoever. Let alone cooking with particularly odoriferous ingredients such as bacon. Mmmm... bacon.


  1. My very first backpacking trip was four stoners who worked in the bike shop together gong to a wilderness area in West Virginia that two of the stoners had frequented since high school. One of the "veterans" said he would take care of the food. Supper consisted of Spam charred on one side in a mess kit frying pan over an Optimus white-gas stove. Then we all burrowed into our various sleeping bags for a chilly night.

    We had pitched the tents in a narrow V with the doors together, so a vestibule fly could cover both of them. That was where we had cooked. It's also where we woke to find the skunk foraging for the scraps. We greeted the skunk politely and waited for it to finish and move on, so we did not get blasted. We're fortunate it did not settle in.

    1. That would have been quite the recipe for disaster (à la Pepé Le Pew): baptism by skunk...