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!

UV Bikini

Here’s one that, despite my better judgment, I am filing under gear.

It comes from sister site Luxist and is all about a new piece of space age apparel called the UV bikini. Actually, I should correct that. It’s more post-space age. It’s a global warming age piece of fashion.

And the Inconvenient Truth about this piece of swimwear is that it is quite ugly (the body inside of it not withstanding). The idea behind the UV bikini is, as you might have guess, to help you know how many horrible, skin-damaging UV rays are bombarding you at any particular moment. Then you can decide whether to apply some SPF 300, continue with your tan, or go immediately to the dermatologist for skin cancer removal. The bikini comes with a handy little meter that is waterproof, washable and pool-safe. It runs about $190 and will definitely inspire lookie-loos, especially those whose hygiene may be lacking and who have an inordinate fondness for Star Trek.