Squatting hazards in the back country

Squatting hazards in the back country

Answering the call of nature is an integral part of wilderness camping and requires some heightened awareness of your surroundings.

We dig a hole designated for this purpose when we camp and choose an area free of cactus, bristle poppy, rattlesnake hideouts, and water courses.   As we have gotten older we have purchased a “throne” that fits nicely above the hole to support the buttocks and save the knees.

While hiking a lovely trail with wildflowers and pines in the Sierras, the call of nature urged me to pull of the trail to take care of business (no hole digging for #1). I found a suitable spot and dropped my drawers while taking in the scenery and listening to the lazy drone of insects. Upon completion of my task I pulled up my pants and zipped only to discover that I had “captured” a wasp in between my underwear and jeans. The wasp protested by stinging me at least 6 times before I could quickly get my britches off to see what had set them on fire.

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Shadows of the past at the Manson hideout

Shadows of the past at the Manson hideout

A favorite “short cut” into Death Valley from the west side of the Panamint Range is to go across Goler Wash. Be sure to check road conditions before entering as one year we found so many rock falls it took the joy out of driving it.

From the rocky road into Goler we were able to gain access to the Barker Ranch, infamous for once being a hideout for the notorious Manson gang in 1969.

The serene beauty of the area where this ranch is located belies the heinous deeds of Charles Manson and his gang who used it to hide from the pursuit of lawmen after their murder of five people, including Sharon Tate and Abigail Folger. The Barker Ranch is where the group was apprehended by Inyo County Sheriffs. You can read the story as an insider law enforcement account in the book Desert Shadows. Ironically my hubby worked where Manson was incarcerated for a portion of serving his life sentence.

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How do you define camping?

How do you define camping?

Camping – a word that evokes different things for different people.

I was not raised a camper, but married an avid camper who shared his love of exploring the back country with me. I first got to know Pres on a rock climbing trip while camping with friends in Joshua Tree National Park. We started as newly-weds with framed packs on our backs and Pivettas on our feet. Our camping equipment grew into a large tent and cookstove for a family of five.

After over 40 years of camping we now are empty nesters with some physical challenges, thus making the welcome change of “glamping” in our Alaskan camper mounted on a 4×4 utility truck. Read more