Reflections & Camp Recipes from Granada, Spain

Motes of ochre and gold cover our shoes. Grains of sand, millennia-old and shaped by wind and water, feel as insubstantial as flour or dust. Yet all around us, we see towers and walls hundreds of feet tall, sculpted into wondrous forms from these same grains. A thousand kilometers to the north the Pyrenees are locked deep into winter mode, ski tourers and mountaineers playing on frozen faces and in deep powder. Here in Andalusia, we’re bathed in bright light, desert heat and cricket chirps. The smells of a desert environment are totally different, judging by Whip the dog’s intense sniffing and tail thumping. He’s static, nose in the air, nostrils flaring as he takes in the scent of wild animals, dust and a million other molecules that we can’t…

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Leave No Trace: Managing Human Waste in the Outdoors

This is a story about poop. It’s about the principles of Leave No Trace camping not changing exactly, but evolving in the way we need to apply them. Because we are loving our wild places to death by treating them like giant toilets. The focus here will be on ‘frontcountry’ areas which I will define as relatively remote yet road-accessible areas with little or no services, typically managed by the National Forest Service (NFS) or Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These playgrounds are among the crowning jewels of the mountain west and some of the finest rewards for anyone seeking the freedom of the Great American Road Trip. There’s little more satisfying to a vagabond van-lifer than seeing a brown wooden sign that reads “Entering [insert name] National Forest”, knowing…

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