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Re: [John Muir Trail] JMT: Campfire PACK OUT YOUR TRASH

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  • Roleigh Martin
    I only felt slighted by multiple paragraphs of all CAPS and the put up or shut up advice. The others who provided the input about the rule exists because of
    Message 1 of 35 , Nov 4, 2009
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      I only felt slighted by multiple paragraphs of all CAPS and the "put up or shut up" advice.  The others who provided the input about the rule exists because of the need to keep it simple, short, and consistent makes a lot of sense and probably best explains the rule.  I wondered if there was any science to the rule, and perhaps the only science is somebody's understanding of human behavior, and perhaps there is no environmental science involved in this one rule.
      My own 2 cents is that some rules can be counter productive.  For instance, the rule to pack out used toilet paper (used for the entire JMT, not just Crabtree Meadows to Whitney Portal) is probably a rule followed by only a single digit number of hikers.  When I have been in permit handout lines and people hear that rule, their eyes roll back and they grin with a response "Yea, right".  I personally believe rules should be easily respectable or easily understandable as well as simple, short, and consistent.
      I suspect that rangers feel the same way, I have never heard of rangers asking hikers to be able to inspect their baggie of used toilet paper.  Never.  I suspect rangers themselves think this is a rarely abided-by rule.
      I do think there are alternative methods that are never presented to hikers that are sound -- such as the Asian method of going TP-less (well propounded at BackPackingLight.com -- see their Classic Wiki index for the link) used by 60 percent of the world, or start the rapid dissolving of the TP with water before burying. 
      There is a statistical distribution model of rule acceptance.  When the speed limit on interstate highways was 70, the acceptance of the reasonableness of that rule was widespread.  When it was lowered to 55, it became a law to violate with the use of radar detectors, etc.,  respect of the law greatly dropped when the speed law became widely disrepectable.
      I am one who favors respect of the law at the scale of the statistical norm, othewise I think the lawmakers or rulemakers should question their rationale for adopting a law or rule that is widely flaunted.  When 80-90 percent of the public roll their eyes at a rule, I think something should be questioned.
      It must be my professional education in statistics that makes me think this way (I have a Master's degree in Sociology).
      PS, my own approach to the stretch between Guitar Lake and Whitney Portal is to take OTC anti-diarrhea pills there and go that stretch without need of the Wag bag (I bring it along in case I need it though).  I have yet to use it.  I do stop at Crabtree Meadows and enjoy the royal throne though.
      On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 3:12 PM, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:


      I certainly don't think you are wrong to ask the rationale for a rule.  It's just that the rationale might not be a study that links burning a particular Ziplock to the death of a particular tree.  That might be asking too much of a rule. And asking too much of science.

      Most of us who think "pack it in; pack it out" is a good rule think it is supported by the advantages of a simple, bright-line rule that is easy to communicate to people and (in general) has had good results in wilderness areas.  Sure, you can come up with instances where it's maybe overkill.  But it can still be a good rule because it can lead to habits that are good for the wilderness.

      I'm sorry if you felt disrespected by me or by others who feel strongly about particular issues of wilderness ethics.  We owe each other respect even when we disagree.  And certainly when we are only asking questions.

      I know how deeply you feel about the JMT and am glad to share it with you.

      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707

    • John Ladd
      One of the benefits I ve found from starting to use a cozy -- my favorite personal gear change of 2009 -- is that it holds my food warm enough that if I get
      Message 35 of 35 , Nov 11, 2009
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        One of the benefits I've found from starting to use a "cozy" -- my favorite personal gear change of 2009 -- is that it holds my food warm enough that if I get feeling full -- just so full that i can't eat another bite -- I'll just zip the food back into the cozy and wait 10 minutes and come back and eat the rest of it.  That's hard to do if your Mac-and-Cheese or rehydrated eggs have gotten all cold, not so hard if the cozy's kept the food warm.  I used to bury leftover food (apologies to John Ditti and all other campers), but since adopting the cozy, I find I always can finish my meals.

        The cozy arrangement that works for me is a 10-16 oz. specimen jar inside of a commercial cozy I got at REI.

        The cozy was a Outdoor Products Insulated Water Bottle Holder which is lightweight, has a reflective liner, decent insulation value and is not too hard to clean if you spill food on it..


        http://www.rei.com/product/770795 (1 liter)

        http://www.rei.com/product/770794 (1/2 liter)

        (I use the 1/2 liter size.)

        Appropriately-sized specimen jars are harder to find but they are widely used in the biosciences.  They tend to have very non-reactive insides, which makes them very easy to clean and wide mouths and straight sides.

        They look like this:


        I've gotten mine from friends, so I don't know where to buy them for sure.  Here's one site that lists 8- and 16-oz. sizes.



        The trick, of course, if finding (or designing) a cozy that fits the jar you want to use. I've got jars that are taller and thinner than the one illustrated above, so it works well in the OP insulated bottle holder.

        This is probably obvious, but the idea is that I cook my food in a pot (JetBoil for me) up to the point when a little more steeping will get it fully hydrated, pour the food into the specimen jar and put it in the cozy to complete steeping.  Then I just eat it directly from the specimen jar, still inside the (now unzipped) cozy.  The specimen jar cleans just fine with a vigorous shake with water (no soap is required for most foods). 

        For 5-minute grains (like cream of wheat for breakfast), I find I can get it fully cooked with bringing to a bare simmer In the Jetboil,  letting it steep in the Jetboil for about 5 minutes, re-bring it to a bare simmer (which takes minimal added fuel) and then pour into the specimen jar.cozy, let it steep 5 more minutes until it "gels" to a nice consistency and then eat.  For meals based on 10-minute grains, I use one extra re-simmer and steep in the JetBoil before putting in the cozy.  It allows me to avoid freeze-dried foods, which I'm not a fan of.

        Since your food finishes cooking inside the specimen jar, rather than in the pot, it tends to be easy to wash the pot.

        John Curran Ladd
        1616 Castro Street
        San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
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