Backcountry travelers have a long list of things to fear. Here are my ten favorites:
- Animal attacks by mosquitoes, bears, snakes, ticks, wolves, or locusts.
- Drinking water poisoned with giardia, crypto, amoeba, typhoid, or the bird flu.
- Running out of toilet paper and having to wipe with snow, rocks, pine cones, or spruce sprigs.
- Having to build a fire when it really counts.
- Having to push the 911 button on their SPOT because they failed to build a fire when it really counted.
- Getting their feet wet, and then having them fall off after a progression of suprahydration, maceration, epidermal separation, fissurization, staphylococcal infestation, gangrene, and rot.
- Accidentally leaving something behind, or having to justify to everyone on the Internet (in the lightweight backpacking community, at least) why they can't leave something behind, like their Sling-light, Crocs, Frisbee, iPod, Newcons, or box of E&J.
- Hiking with other people.
- Hiking solo.
- Running out of coffee.
Of course, only #10 is a justified fear (coffee lovers, check back next week for a reprint of Mike Clelland's Techniques and Gear for the Lightweight Backcountry Coffee Connoisseur).
For the rest of you, you may be fearing the wrong things.
What you should be fearing is facilitating the transportation of fecal hitchhikers from your exhaust pipe orifice to your fuel filler neck orifice.
This article discusses how to stop these illegal immigrants en route, because we all know you can't close the border.
- The Relationship Between Hand Sanitation and GI Illnesses
- Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers
- Alternatives to Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizers
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