Pack It Out…All Out on Mt. Whitney

Here’s something interesting:

When hiking Mt. Whitney, you must carry out your own feces. Isn’t that just the thing you wanted to know on this quiet, lovely Sunday?

You see, I know this unpleasant-sounding fact, because I am, literally, headed there now. If luck, weather and good health are with me, I will have summited the lower 48’s tallest peak by Tuesday afternoon.

It’s an exciting prospect, a bit daunting, but I just can’t get it out of my mind that I am going to have to carry around my own, well, waste. This is a new mandatory policy at Whitney, one started earlier this year after they removed the last of the miles-high outhouses at the two big camps on the mountain.

According to various posts over at the Whitney site, these outhouses never worked well anyway and they stunk to, ahem, high-heaven. But rather than build fancy new, high-tech outhouses that say, zap your feces with Higgs Bosons and convert them into recycled cups or something, the Forest Service went decidedly low-tech. They said, from now on, people will have to pack it out. Pack it ALL out. And so now at Whitney (like at various other mountains in CA…ie.e Mt. Shasta) you will now have to get your hands on what is called a WAG bag, and inside, dear friends, is where you will collect and store and carry your previous evening’s fully digested meal. Isn’t nature lovely!?

By the way, if anyone has any advice on doing Whitney, or interesting WAG bag experiences, do share!

Photo of the Day (8/21/2007)

This photo almost looks like the photographer, Stormygirl, was a little heavy-handed with the orange color adjustment in Photoshop. Alas, the colors here are apparently real, and make for a wonderfully soothing photo of the Northern California coast. She apparently shot this on the Fourth of July, though it is thankfully bereft of any chintzy fireworks explosions. You might say that the oohs and ahhs you hear are the appreciative sighs from those of us who share her love of the Golden State. Then again, you might not.

Bangkok Airport Video

This comes to us from a friend who runs one of my favorite sites on the Web: Newyorkology. Amy Langfield sent us a link to a video as soothing as it is bizarre.

The shots here, slow-mo and grainy, but oddly compelling, were made in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand at 4 am. I’m sure the new-agey music has something to do with it, but I had a hard time pulling my eyes away from this.

Caipirinha Recipe

I took a lot of guff in the comments section for my light-hearted examination of male-oriented libations. Seems some folks took me a little too seriously. But that’s OK, at least we know you’re reading. But this time around, I’ll stray from making any kind of off-color or otherwise homo-phobic remarks as I bring you a post from sister-site Slashfood on the magic elixir that is the caipirinha.

I once wrote about the glories of ths sweet, but potent drink in a rambling essay on Brazil’s Carnaval that you can read here. I count myself among the worst dancers to inhabit the planet, but after a few of these drinks, I became an impossibly-limber, jangly-legged mixture of John Travolta, Samba-master and Napoleon Dynamite. And all the years since, I’ve kinda wondered how to make one of these fine drinks.

Well, I have to wait no longer as the post here points you directly to a recipe that reveals how easy the caipirinha is to make, even i the word itself is still quite hard to pronounce, let alone spell.

Paddling Near St. Helens

Having spent a god chunk of my life in and around the Seattle area, I confess I was a little surprised to learn about the solid paddling opportunities at a place called SIlver lake near Mt. St. Helens.

Yes, THAT Mt. St. Helens. The one that blew her top way back when on May 18, 1980 (my birthday, btw, for those playing at home). Now when most people think about paddling in the Northwest, they think of drawing strokes through the cool, crisp waters of Puget Sound, or perhaps up by the San Juans. That was me as well, so imagine how pleased I was to find some new waters to try out. This piece in the Seattle Times takes you there. By the way, since we’re talking volcanoes, this one might blow soon. Just a heads up.