Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Backpacking: In Or Out?

Six simple questions for your mind.

Let's talk concepts

Backpackers aren't the world's dumbest people.

No really, think about it.

If you are truly dumb, are you going to put some stuff into a bag and go out hiking in the rain? I mean, you can't call that exactly dumb. Can you?

The word dumb has only four letters. This is actually too small to capture a big idea. Like whether hiking is dumb, or hiking in the rain is dumb, even.

You need at least five letters for a big idea. Take death, for example. Get my drift? Much bigger territory already, and only one more letter.

As words go, dumb is not that useful, and if you are a backpacker traveling light, maybe you don't even have it with you. True, dumb has only the one syllable, but on the other hand...

It's. Uh. Forgot where I was going with that.

So ideas. Can be tough, right? Let's talk about something else.

Hey! What's in and what's out this year?

1 - Dirty Underwear

A perennial topic. If you wear it, it will get dirty. But if you don't wear it, it can't! So, in or out?

2 - Toilet Paper

Another favorite. I bet you've seen this stuff at home, but did you use it? And if you did, did you wash it and use it again, or just toss it after the first time? I bet I know the answer!

But say you're backpacking, what then? A little tougher, isn't it? I mean, you've already got stuff to bury, but do you want even more stuff to bury?

Depends on how you feel about moss, leaves, and pine cones. So, in or out?

3 - Eating Other People's Food

Call it unguarded or call it temporarily available, it's still food, it's there, and you're always hungry.

Can you blame the missing food on chipmunks? Bobcats? Alligators? It depends on what's out in the bushes. And how fast you can eat. And if you are good at stories. So, in or out?

4 - Washing Your Butt In The Creek

OK, we all know the rules, but some rules are more equal than others. Like they say cleanliness is next to godliness. Want to argue that one, Buster?

Sure, it makes a difference whose butt is being washed.

And whether your drinking water comes from upstream or downstream. And which end of this butt you are on.

And if anyone is around to see you. So, in or out?

5 - Lying About Your Mileage

Maybe you're thinking that lying is always bad. If so, when bedtime comes, think about standing up all night.


And if you "slip up" and "accidentally" switch to kilometers you can multiply your miles by two and round up, and sound extra gnarly. Who said the metric system was no good? Some dope, right?

You're a hiker after all, and you're damn tired and you can't always remember how to carry the semicolon or whatever the hell they use in that metric stuff anyway, and who cares? So, in or out?

6 - Sleeping 10 In A Motel Room

This is for long distance hikers and party animals.

Generally, long distance hikers (or thru-hikers) are just about the most tedious, boring, dead-headed, dull-witted, ho-hum, irksome, slow, uninteresting, wearying, and least fun people in the world.

But cheap. So they often try this.

Does that justify splitting the cost of a $75 motel room 10 ways? Or would you rather party with some actual humans who scratch less and don't snore? Just sayin. So, in or out?