Old Habits

Campfire
Funny how we often fail to reflect on old habits.

Like, for example, the habit of using charcoal for BBQ. Where does that come from? Who thinks the use of charcoal is more convenient, or maybe healthier, than the use of regular wood?

It certainly isn’t more flavoursome. During our recent trip through some of Utah’s national parks, we used redwood, pine, and mesquite logs for a real campfire, and barbecued the most delicious pork and beef, once the flames had burned down.

As long as winter fuel is needed in this country, I shall seek out the petrol stations for clean logs and build up a small stack, in order to repeat the experience. Bye bye charcoal!

Testosterone ‘R’ Us

Atv Yahoo News reports falling testosterone levels among (North) American males.

Upon recent personal inspection, this appears to be incorrect. The number of moustache-wearing rolled-up sleeves American males wasting time and energy with all terrain vehicles (ATV), moto-cross bikes, or other noisy means of propulsion across land or water isn’t matched by any other country I have been to before. Add the insanely-sized tricks and pick-ups, coach-sized camper-vans (RV), the fact that every second car in Utah tows a boat on a trailer, or many other subtle hints, and I am sure you will join me in concluding that this fall of testosterone levels isn’t concerning at all.

It might just be the first step towards normality.

Common Sense in Zion

A very steep and rocky trail
The first and last signifficant stop during our 2006 summer holiday was Zion National Park, Utah.

Perfectly organized as always, including a free shuttle bus up and down the canyon running every few minutes, from early in the mornings to 22:00 in the evening. Zion turned out to be an excellent starting point, as it is truely spectacular for the Southern Utah novice.

Even on our last day, no longer novices, we found Zion had a dramatic and beautiful challenge to offer: The Angel’s Landing trail, depicted here. The thin rock ridge shown in the centre of the picture, leading up to the Angel’s Landing rock shown in the upper left, is actually the trail. There’s a saddle close to the centre of the picture, about 4 foot wide with a vertical 1,200 ft drop to the right and an equally vertical 1,500 ft drop to the left, where many hikers get wobbly knees and turn around, abandoning the plans to reach the summit in exchange for life. So did we.

It’s astonishing that the National Park Service still lets people access these parts. I’m glad they do, though. It is good to rely on people’s common sense, and in this particular case, the danger is so obvious that everybody we saw up there actually stops and considers very carefully whether to proceed or retreat.

Fatty Fingers

A Bear
The wife and I want back to The Mandelring, the place we used to live many years ago, to collect our plastic cooling box. It’s never been a beauty but occasionally comes handy to keep food and drinks cool for a picnic or a camping trip.

Sadly, I dropped it from my bicycle as soon as I had it, and the lid cracked a little. It still works, but you have to be careful when closing it, and it no longer closes as tight as it once was.

We started to regret this little crack pretty quickly when we found out that, on the camp site that we had chosen to spend the night under the skies, and without our trusted tent, a Brown Bear was roaming freely. He could definitively smell the Parma Ham (although shrink-wrapped) in our cooling box, and circled us closer and closer.

Things turned for the worse when we decided to have a bite of salami. With all that tasty fat on our fingers… I guess I must have woken up at this point, so I have been spared the dreadful end of our camping outing.

I’m glad to note that we will be in Utah, not in Canada, for our holiday soon.