Backcountry “Don’ts” (the unexpurgated version!)
NEVER bring a fondue maker into the woods with you. The bread crumbs, fruit wedges, gas and molten cheese will form a white magma that will spew all over you, leaving fourth-degree burns all over your entire body.
NEVER cook a meal while sitting inside your tent, even when it’s raining outside. (Trust me. Your tent will explode.)
NEVER forget that “freeze-dried’’ and “chili’’ is a very bad combination. (Trust me. You will explode.)
NEVER try to reason with anyone riding an All-Terrain Vehicle — especially if he or she is drunk and holding a 12-gauge Mossberg hunting rifle and wearing a knit cap that says “I Like Big Jugs.”
NEVER try to make your girlfriend, or boyfriend, hike faster by calling out a military cadence in a fake Southern accent. (“Sound off, sound off, one, two, three, foe!”)
NEVER attempt to brush your teeth in total darkness. Preparation H does not fight gum recession. And it tastes fishy.
NEVER bring artisan-quality cheddar cheese into the Mojave Desert with you in mid-June. A horrid white pus will extrude from the cheese, and you will vomit.
NEVER set up your tent in the middle of a mule trail in the North Cascades. Brighty, Big Snort and Old Thunder will trample you to death in your sleep.
NEVER underestimate the amount of toilet paper you will use in the backcountry. Sticks and stones won’t break your bones but they will leave nicks and abrasions on your derriere.)
NEVER camp at a suspiciously beautiful, yet strangely empty, lakeside campsite. It is probably empty for very good reasons (think “flood plain,’’ “poisoned water’’ and “spaniel-sized mosquitoes.’’)
NEVER eat the freeze-dried stroganoff. It has been mummified and sealed away for good reason.
NEVER cut the handles off the toothbrush “to save pack weight.’’ Toothbrushes weigh less than an ounce – and if you try to brush your teeth with the head of a toothbrush, it will fall down your throat and lodge in your trachea, and you will die.
Please feel free to send in your own suggested “don’ts.” Eventually I will update this list.