Radio broadcast: Good (and disgusting) foods for the great outdoors

Here is some “good food” advice that just might help you if you are planning to walk an epic trail but don’t want to eat gross, undigestible food every night. Believe me, it’s important to plan ahead when it comes to survival food. Otherwise you’ll end up choking on non-summer sausage and freeze-dried “astronaut ice cream.” (bleccch!!) Meanwhile, I am happy to report that the anonymous Silicon Valley resident who identified the “hairy mystery creature” (a fox) has already received a wilderness-related collectible artifact (sent special delivery) directly from Cactuseaters.

Anonymous wins big; Silicon Valley resident identifies hairy mystery creature of the Pacific Northwest

No, it isn’t Bigfoot, it is not a wolverine, a rabbit or even a cat (although these were all good guesses.) It is in fact a fox that was introduced to San Juan Island. The person who solved the puzzle is “Anonymous,” who, as it turns out, lives in the heart of the Silicon Valley, but was somehow able to solve the mystery (how on earth did you figure it out??) Anyhow, Anonymous has contacted me and will get a Cactus Eaters-related one-of-a-kind handmade prize (providing that she agrees not to sell the prize on eBay later on.) Above are two full pictures of the spooky, and now fully identified, critter (one is the actual photograph, and the other is an artistic recreation.)

The Cactus Eaters — one year anniversary

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone in the Cactus community for making the book a success. I also appreciate the fact that people are engaging with the book so passionately. Appropriately enough, I was out in the Kentucky backwoods — running out of water, walking around in circles, avoiding bears, eating cold pumpkin curry MREs right out of the packet, and far out of range from cell phones and other bleeping electronic devices — when the book first hit stores. Twelve months later, it’s still going strong. Stay tuned for more adventures.

Furry mysterious creature: a couple of big clues (updated, with alternate photo)

OK — here are a few big clues to the identity of my Mystery Creature (pictured below in a previous entry.) * I encountered this creature on an island in the Pacific Northwest* It is a predator* The creature is not native to the island; in other words, it is an “exotic” invasive species. By the way, I got into a staring contest with this creature — and won.

Mysterious hairy creature

While hiking in a forest in the Pacific Northwest, I stumbled upon this hairy creature with weird glowing eyes. I was able to snap a quick photo before it vanished into the backwoods. See if you can identify it based on this blurry, heavily cropped photograph. (I will supply the answer at some point within the next couple of weeks, along with a larger, but equally blurry, photograph.)

“Lowboy” reading in Haight Ashbury bookstore (and long-overdue neighborhood clean-up news.)

If you happen to be in the neighborhood, John Wray will be reading from his acclaimed new book, Lowboy, at 7:30 p.m. at the Booksmith on 1664 Haight Street, San Francisco, this evening. (Friday, May 1.) In other news, I hear that there is going to be a community cleanup and picnic on Saturday, May 9,from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meet at the northeast corner of Haight and Cole streets at 10. Residents, merchants, homeless youth organizations and their clients will band together to clean up the smelly litter and make the neighborhood sparkling clean, at least for a while. I am not involved with this event (and, unfortunately, won’t be able to attend because I’ll be down in San Jose) but if you are interested, the RSVP email is They will supply the gloves, supplies, etc.