S1E65 - Carrot Quinn on Hiking
Carrot and Margaret talk about all things hiking, including thru-hiking and ultralight hiking. They talk about how to choose the right gear for the right purposes and how to minimize the impacts of long distance hiking on your body. They go through the complications of bringing dogs on long hikes and how to stay safer around grizzly bears. They also spend a good deal of time critiquing The Last of Us while developing a theory on how to hybridize many hiking strategies to develop the ultimate form of apocalypse travel.
Carrot Quinn (she/they) is an author, thru-hiker and hiking coach. She is the author of Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart and The Sunset Route. Carrot has a new speculative fiction novel coming out later this year, hopefully. Carrot is also an avid blogger and you can find them at www.carrotquinn.com or on Instagram @carrotquinn and Twitter @CarrotQuinn
Margaret can be found on twitter @magpiekilljoy or instagram at @margaretkilljoy.
This show is published by Strangers in A Tangled Wilderness. We can be found at www.tangledwilderness.org, or on Twitter @TangledWild and Instagram @Tangled_Wilderness. You can support the show on Patreon at www.patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness.
Live Like the World is Dying: Carrot on Hiking
Margaret 00:15 Hello, and welcome to Live Like the World is Dying, your podcast for what feels like the end times. I'm your host, Margaret Killjoy. And this week we are talking about walking and how to do it, the legs, the one in front of the other, etc. And in order to do so, we're going to be talking to an expert walker, or hiker, I suppose might be a better way of phrasing it, Carrot Quinn. And so we're going to be talking to her about all this stuff. Carrot writes a bunch of books about hiking and does a bunch of hiking. And so I'm really excited, because this has been on my mind a lot. But first, we are a proud member of the Channel Zero network of anarchists podcasts. And here's a jingle from another show on the network.
Margaret 01:55 Okay, we're back. So Carrot, if you could introduce yourself with your name, your pronouns. And then I guess kind of like your background in hiking, thru-hiking, that kind of stuff.
Carrot 02:07 My name is Carrot Quinn, and my pronouns are she or they and I got into long distance hiking in 2013. And long distance hiking is different from other kinds of backpacking, because you're just out for longer, I guess. And usually also, you're on trails that have a really specific weather window, which means that you need to hike more miles per day than you would on a more leisurely backpacking trip in order to finish in a certain weather window, or because the water sources are farther apart. So, you need to hike a certain mile per a day to get to the water sources, which means that you end up using different gear, because when you're out for that long and hiking that many miles, it's a lot more strain on your joints. And so, in order to be able to do it, you need to have lighter gear that puts less strain on your joints, or else you get overuse injuries. And you also wear different shoes. So, there's this whole different kind of way of walking in the wilderness, which I got into because I'd always backpacked with a heavy backpack, and I was always in pain. And then I discovered this style, and I wasn't in pain anymore. And I was like, "Oh my God, if I do this, I can just like live outside and sleep on the ground every night and I won't be in pain." So than I got really into it. And I hiked the PCT in 2013.
Margaret 03:19 What's the PCT?
Carrot 03:19 The Pacific Crest Trail, which is 2,650 or 60 miles depending on how you count. It takes five months to hike. I got really obsessed with it for a while. So, I've hiked 11,000 miles. I've hiked from Mexico to Canada three times. And I've also walked across Utah, and Arizona, and done a bunch of other shorter hikes. And I've hiked finished trails where there's like a path on the ground that you walk, like the Pacific Crest Trail, and I've hiked trails where there's not a path on the ground, and you're just navigating through canyons and washes and stuff. And then I've also made my own routes, which is where you look at the maps and figure out where you can walk and then you follow the path that you created.
Margaret 03:20 I was gonna say that's wild, but I guess that's literally the point. That it's wild. Okay, and then you've written about this too, right?
Carrot 04:13 Yeah, so I have a writing career more or less, most years I make my living as a writer. And I was able to build that by writing about long distance hiking, because it's a pretty popular niche. I've been writing my whole life. I always wanted to be a writer, and in my 20s I wrote zines and then I started blogging in 2008. And then I started long distance hiking in 2013. And so every one of these hikes I've ever done, all 11,000 miles I've hiked, I've written a blog post every single day. And so that's how I built my writing career because then people started reading those and people love reading about long distance hiking, you know, because it's hard to get time off work. It's hard to get the gear. It's hard to access, and so people being able to read that from the comfort of their home is like really nice. And so then I wrote a book about my first long distance hike, which is called "Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart." And that book is great, because I made so many bad choices. So, it's like a very good story. Because you know, the best stories come from when you're like completely brand new at something.
Margaret 05:21 Yeah.
Carrot 05:21 And everything goes like horribly awry. Those are like the best stories. So, I wrote that book. And then my second book was actually a memoir about growing up in Alaska and my years riding freight trains. And that came out in 2021.
Margaret 05:37 What's that one called?
Carrot 05:43 And it's kind of sad. It's not like the happiest, but whatever. But then, I just finished a speculative fiction novel about this young person that is fleeing this destabilizing city and riding her bike across the country trying to get to Nevada. So, I'm editing that right now.
Margaret 05:57 Oh my god, is that out yet? Can I read it?
Carrot 05:59 No.
Margaret 05:59 Fuck.
Carrot 05:59 I hope it'll come out someday. I don't know what the title is, either, but, I'm editing it right now. And, if I self publish, hopefully I can get it out by the end of the year. And I'm leaning towards self publishing. So, we'll see. Hopefully, it'll be out sooner rather than later.
Margaret 06:16 Okay. Well, let's talk about that off camera. I think a lot about publishing speculative fiction, and I do it sometimes.
Carrot 06:26 Yeah, you write speculative fiction too.
Margaret 06:28 Yeah.
Carrot 06:29 We could just talk about that for hours and hours.
Margaret 06:33 I mean, I also like talking about that. Can I out us to the audience about how we know each? Is that...you seem pretty public about that.
Carrot 06:41 Yeah, totally.
Margaret 06:41 Yeah, I first met Carrot--actually, I don't remember if it's where we first met--but, we lived together in a squat in the South Bronx in 2004. And so, I've been following Carrot's career from afar since then being like, "Oh, shit, fuck yeah, another crust punk who became a writer."
Carrot 07:00 And I've also been following Margaret's career and like hearing little updates about her life over the years and being like, "Oh, that's where Margaret is, that's what Margaret's doing. Oh, it's super cool."
Margaret 07:10 Yeah. Yeah. I'm really excited to have you on to talk about this. And, I admit one of the reasons I'm really excited to have you on about this--because there's a couple reasons--one is because this topic is really interesting to me and has been for a while, you know, during say, the last presidential election when there was a decent chance of a fascist coup, and there was, you know, an attempt at one, myself and a lot of other people probably had to sit there and think, "What would be involved if I had to go on foot a long way to get away from here?" Right? And I think that that kind of thing is probably on a lot of people's minds, especially on a state by state basis right now, as a lot of states become increasingly unwelcoming and things. And of course, at the moment, people are allowed to leave states by cars and stuff, but whatever, we'll get to that. But, the other reason I'm interested in is because I've recently gotten more into hiking, and I've been obsessively watching YouTube videos of thru-hikers, and mostly these people really annoy me, but the stuff is really interesting. And, your name gets mentioned a lot in the sort of pantheon of thru-hiking writers as the person that everyone's like, "Well, I'm no Carrot Quinn," or whatever. So, I just think that's really cool. That's probably why I'm excited to talk to you. So, what is involved--and this is a very broad question, but what is involved in deciding that you want to go on a very long hike?
Carrot 08:42 What is involved? Well, so, I really love this intersection of topics that we're talking about because those are the two things that occupy my brain all the time is overland travel by foot, and near future societal collapse. So yeah.
Margaret 08:58 Yeah, you're writing a book about that.
Carrot 08:59 Yeah. And, in the novel I just wrote, she starts out on her bike, but the bike breaks, and then she's just on foot. And, one thing I love while thinking about this stuff is like--for example, have you seen The Last of Us?
Margaret 09:12 Yeah.
Carrot 09:13 So they're on a long overland journey, a lot of it is on foot. And there are all these plot holes in my opinion because there are things about the way they're traveling on foot that just aren't realistic. Like their footwear is uncomfortable. They never drink water. None of their gear is waterproof. They're not properly dressed for the weather. So, I think that's really....
Margaret 09:29 Yeah, they have these tiny packs, but not not in an ultralight way.
Carrot 09:33 They're tiny backpacks. They're just these bottomless pits of whatever they need. Somehow they have batteries, which like, you wouldn't have batteries. So, something I'm also really fascinated about, like thinking about near future collapse, is how we're going to be living in this hybrid time where we'll have all these materials available to us that are from this society where things are mass produced, but we'll be in a society where things are no longer are going to be mass produced. So, we'll be sort of like transitioning over the course of decades, from having access to certain materials to not having access to any of those materials. And that's like really interesting to me. And The Last of Us is set 20 years after collapse, so a lot of the stuff they have access in the show I don't think they would have anymore.
Margaret 10:19 They a little bit talk about it where like, "Oh, the gasoline isn't quite as good. We have to stop all the time to siphon," but then they're just kind of like, "And then we just drive," you know?
Carrot 10:28 Yeah, but like the batteries, you know, for their flashlights, they just...But yes, that's really interesting to me, thinking about for example, like a long journey. Like right now, the only reason I can long distance hike is because I have all this really high tech gear because you know, 30 years ago, to do a trail, like the Pacific Crest Trail, all of the gear was super heavy. So, you had to be sort of this like elite athlete in a way. Like just anybody couldn't do it because everything was so heavy, it was really hard on your body, like it was brutal. And now, because of this like really high tech gear we have, our packs are much lighter, and we just wear trail runners, and so it's much more accessible. And so, that's the only reason I can do it physically. And the only reason I enjoy it. Like, I wouldn't enjoy it otherwise. And so, it's interesting to think about, like, you know, in the future what people would use. But, to answer your question, if you wanted to do like, you know, where we are precollapse, if you wanted to go on a long hike--you know, the thing is that one of the things that's hardest for people is getting the time off. I like trails that are more than a month long, because walking long distances is our special secret human superpower. Like, no other animal can walk long distances the way we can. Like, people think that that's how we evolved from apes is we started like walking our prey to death, because a lot of animals…
Margaret 11:50 Yeah, persistence hunters!
Carrot 11:49 Yeah, a lot of animals sprint and then they sleep and they sprint and they sleep. But, we can just like zombie forward like endlessly, like just fucking zombie until our prey just like collapses with exhaustion. It takes--but a lot of us like the way we live, we don't spend a lot of time walking every day. And so, it takes time to sort of unlock that ability and get our tendons--that's like the biggest thing--like, our joints used to it. And so, if you were going to do a trail, like the PCT for example, that's like a five month trail, you would start out really slow, like say doing like 15 miles a day. You know, you would train beforehand so that you could do 15 miles a day. And then you would start doing that. And then, if you started feeling any pain in your joints, you would take days off, or pull way back. And then after about a month your joints get used to it, and that like superpower is unlocked. I've seen this happen so many times, because so many people the PCT is their first trail and they start right off the couch and they're not athletes--you don't have to be an athlete, like I'm not an athlete, I'm just a regular person--and as long as you don't get injured, or have some sort of illness you can unlock this superpower. And then, it's like, it doesn't hurt anymore. And you can just walk, and walk, and walk and it's really cool. So, that's why I recommend doing a trail that's more than a month, because it takes a month for the pain to go away and to feel like you've unlocked that superpower that I think all humans have, you know, barring injury or illness. And so, if you hike like a five month trail or three months trail then you have a month of discomfort, but then you have several months where you get to exist in this really cool body. But, it's hard to get the time off. So, a lot of people who long distance hike work seasonally or they'll you know, do the kind of work where you can--like in tech or as an engineer, as a nurse or whatever--where you can work for a period of time, like a couple of years and then quit, and then go back to work. The biggest demographics on a long trail are people just out of college and retired people, because those are the two people who have the easiest time finding that chunk of time.
Margaret 12:30 That makes a lot of sense to me. I've always kind of wanted to do this, and it's never quite been a high enough priority. And this brings me to not the most important question, but my main question about it. I know that you can't thru-hike any of the existing like triple crown, meaning Pacific Coast Trail, Appalachian Trail, and whatever the third one is...Continental Divide Trail? What's the third one?
Carrot 14:12 Yeah, yeah.
Margaret 14:13 I know you can't bring a dog with you on those three because they go through National parks. But what do you do about dogs? I mean, like because in my mind my dog has way more energy than me, but I'm realizing that my dog has way more energy than me not necessarily in the sustained persistence hunter way that you're talking about.
Carrot 14:31 Exactly.
Margaret 14:32 So, I'm curious what is a limit of--I mean, obviously every dog is gonna be different and things like that-- but can you thru-hike with a dog if you're going way slower and you're not doing the seasonal running thing? You're just like....yeah, somewhere there's a question in there.
Carrot 14:52 Yeah, totally. So you can. People do bring their dogs on the long trails. You kind of need a support person, so you can hand off your dog before you go through the no dog sections, and then get your dog back. It's considered cruel to bring a dog on a five month hike, because the way they exercise is so different than the way that we exercise.
Margaret 15:11 Right.
Carrot 15:11 They go really hard. And then they need more rest than we do. Like in Alaska, they have the Iditarod, which is this big sled dog race. And, it just happened. It just finished, and it's 1000 miles long. And the person who just won did it in eight days. So, his dogs ran over 100 miles a day. And so, these dogs trained really hard. And that is like the pinnacle of what they can do. So they could go really far, but they still can't necessarily go 20 miles a day, everyday for five months. And so, it's actually really rare for someone to thru-hike with a dog. You can do it, but it goes against their natural kind of the way their energy is throughout the day.
Margaret 15:48 Right.
Carrot 15:49 And so, one reason it's discouraged is because it's really hard to know, if your dog is too hot, it's hard to know if your dog is tired. Like a lot of dogs will follow their person, you know, to the point of injury, you know, because they just want to stay with you. So, people do it. But, it's rare. It's not natural for them. Like, we can do it and thrive. And they just kind of are low key suffering and maybe about to break. It's hard to tell.
Margaret 16:28 Yeah, no, and so I guess I'm kind of curious. There's like two scenarios I imagine. One is because there's no one I can leave my dog with for a long period of time. So, I just sort of assume I will not be thru-hiking anytime soon, right? Because, you know, there's a creature I'm responsible for, and no one else is currently responsible for that creature. But I'm like, is there a sense of like you don't want to take your dogs on a month long hike? Do you want to take your dogs on a two week hike? Do you want to take your dogs only...Like, my dog loves going on day hikes with me. And from when I was like, you know, an oogle, a crusty traveler, like a lot of the dogs that I was around--I mean, obviously, not all of them--some of them were treated very badly. But, many of the dogs were very happy in that they got to be with their person all day and they were always like exercising and stuff. But, that wasn't like we're walking 20 miles today. That's often like we're walking five miles today, we're, you know, hitchhiking. We're doing all these other things. I'm just wondering if you have a sense of 1) The limit in terms of like the now, and then 2) If there's a sense of what you would think for if your protagonist escaping the apocalypse has a dog like, what are ways to work around that? Like I could imagine...like, if I had to leave, right, do I get a dog backpack? It's about 45 pounds. I would be sad. But like, if you know, if I'm not hiking for fun and I'm hiking for "I gotta get somewhere," right?
Carrot 17:58 Yeah. So, people hiking the long distance trails, there's like a standard sort of blanket mileage that varies, but people generally say like 20 miles a day is kind of the standard. And so, over the course of like a month, three months, five months different dog breeds are different, but depending on your dog that could be too much for your dog. Like, your dog might need more rest days. But like, maybe your dog could do 20 miles a day for three days, but then they would need a day or two off, you know?
Margaret 18:27 Right.
Carrot 18:27 And so what you would have to do is instead of being tied to the weather window of the trail, you would be tied to how your dog is doing. So, you would just have to really be in touch with all your dog's signs, like does your dog...Like, know how to tell if your dog is too hot, if your dog's feet hurt, all these different things, and then you would just have to adjust your travel based on your dog. So, you just wouldn't...you wouldn't necessarily be able to hike the PCT in the five month window. And you would end up if you were in an arid area you would end up carrying more water. Because if you go slower than it's farther between water sources because the West is so dry. So, you would carry more water. But yeah, you would just plan the hike much differently. And it would be your own journey with your dog.
Margaret 19:13 Yeah. Okay. Yeah, no, I realized...I pretty quickly disabused myself of the notion that I was going to be hiking the Appalachian Trail, or PCT, or anything anytime soon. Secretly, this podcast is me just asking people for advice about my own life and problems and then hoping it's universally usable in some ways. But that makes sense to me. And then it does seem like, you know, everything I'm reading about, what you're talking about, like hiking with lighter packs and all of that, and how it has all these advantages in being able to go further and be more sustainable and all of these things. And it does seem like a lot of the choices that people would have to make in different survival scenarios might counteract that, because if I'm talking about like...Okay, if I was hiking through the desert with the dog, I need way more water, which means I'm carrying a heavier pack and then also if I'm out longer I might need a different level of survival equipment. It seems like it would kind of escalate pack weight very quickly?
Carrot 20:07 Yeah. But, I think that the sort of minimalism that one learns--like, it's the sort of strategic minimalism that you learn when you do a five month hike because all you have to think about every day is like what you're carrying and how heavy it feels and so you get really good at like...Just, it's like strategy. And so I think that would carry over, where even if you, you know, didn't have all these high tech materials, were in the desert, had a dog, like all these different things, your pack will still end up lighter than if you didn't use this sort of really fun strategic thing that I'm sure you've encountered on YouTube.
Margaret 20:44 Yeah, yeah. No, go ahead. Sorry.
Carrot 20:47 Yeah, yeah. But, it would be heavier. But then you would just work around that. Like, if your pack is heavier you don't go as many miles a day because it's harder on your joints. And you just, you know, you just work around that too. Like, last fall was my second season hunting in Alaska tagging along on my friends hunts, and I've never had to carry a pack as heavy as I do hunting. And that's been like a whole new learning curve being like, Okay, this is a 60 pound pack. Like, I can only go this many miles. You know, I have to really be careful like all these different things.
Margaret 21:21 Yeah. Yeah, that is the thing that I because I, you know, I come from this background of like failed train hopping and regular hitchhiking. And like, these long distance walks and things like that, but not hiking. And I would need what I need to sleep and all of these things. And so, you know, we used to kind of make fun of ultralight hikers, who are like, you know, shaving off every ounce of what they could And it's like, well, I knew Pogo Dave who traveled with a big metal Pogo stick or whatever, right? And, you know, walked across the country pushing a shopping cart and shit. But then you just realize how different these setups are, and what their goals are is so completely different. And so yeah, I don't know quite how to phrase it, but I'm so interested in the difference between the 60 pound hunting pack and the 9.8 pound, you know, backpacking pack or whatever. And i did, I ran across these people. And I My first thought was like, "Well, fuck that. Just like carry what you need. Whatever," you know. And then slowly, when you see the people who are like less annoying about it, you're like, "Oh, I think I get it. I think I understand why they're doing this," you know?
Carrot 21:21 Yeah, it's about injury prevention not being in pain and knowing what your goal is. So, if your goal is to finish a five month trail hiking 12 hours a day for five months, your chance of injury is really high. So, the lighter your pack is, to an extent, you know, the lighter your pack is the lower your chance of injury, and the less pain you'll be in. So, it actually really increases your enjoyment. The only caveat being--the rules I tell people because I do long distance hiking coaching and I do these like guided trips where I help people like make their gear lists and stuff--the rules...Here are the rules: you need to be warm, well fed, comfortable enough at night to sleep well, and be prepared for all the different weather you're gonna encounter at that season in that area. And as long as your gear fits those rules you meet those guidelines. Like, the lighter your pack is the more fun you're gonna have.
Margaret 23:28 Yeah, it makes sense to me. I just have so many questions about ultralight stuff. It's just so fascinating to me. It seems like one of the things where people go without, to me, what seems like emergency equipment. Like, because I think about...it seems like I'm watching people--and I expect them wrong, that's why I'm presenting this to you is because you have a lot of experience with this and have tried different types of hiking--but it's like, if there's something that I keep around just in case, right, in case something terrible happens or whatever that I don't use it on a daily basis, and so it starts becoming one of those things that you could imagine getting rid of. And then you're like, "But when you need it, you need it." And so it seems like that is what I worry about when people talk about barely having first aid kits and shit like that, you know, or the kind of gear that if like the weather gets a lot worse unexpectedly--because it seems to me that if you have this very minimalist setup that works for most days but then it doesn't work for like the sudden really bad weather days--It doesn't seem like it's a good enough piece of gear. But, maybe that is being taken into consideration and I'm just being annoyed at people or like retro actively defending the fact that I used to carry this ridiculously heavy bag and I injured my chest with it once when I was like 28. I don't know.
Carrot 24:48 Yeah, that's the thing is if your pack is too heavy it will injure you, and that will ruin your hike. So, it doesn't matter what emergency preparedness stuff you're carrying, like the emergency is that you ruined your hike and you have to get off trail and your hike is ruined. So, the thing is things are knowable. Like the world is knowable. Like when you go to drive your car you know what's likely to go wrong. And you know what would be a freak accident that you're not going to prepare for, like the stuff you have in your car. Like my car burns oil, so I carry oil. I carry coolant just because my car is old. I carry jumper cables. It's winter, so I carry a sleeping bag, you know, because I'm in Alaska, and I have an old car. These are the things that are likely to go wrong. I don't carry anything for if I get struck by lightning because there's not--I mean, if I lived like in the high mountains in Colorado in July, I would have to consider lightning--but in Alaska it's all central [uninterpretable word], so you don't think about lightning. I don't carry anything for shark attacks. I carry bear spray for a bear. But so, it's just knowing what's likely to happen versus freak accidents that don't make sense to be prepared for. So, people might not carry a generic first aid kit, but they do carry supplies for all of the medical problems that actually happen regularly. Like I don't carry just some generic first aid kit from REI because I don't know what to do if I break my leg. If I break my leg like I need a helicopter, you know? But that would be a real freak accident. That's extremely unlikely to happen. But, what does happen and what can end your hike and does end people's hike a lot are infected blisters, sprained ankles, and things like that. And I carry stuff, and I have treated stuff that like multiple times. And, I always have what I need. Or, like gear failures. Like I carry dental floss with a needle inside, which I learned from riding trails. And that's come in handy. So, I always have...and then things for chafe because chafe happens a lot and can be really painful. So, that can get you off trail. So, people actually, they might not have like, they might not have something for like a trauma wound, which would be like...I don't even know what a trauma wound...I don't even know what I'm saying. But like...or a puncture wound. But, that would be like a real freak accident. But they do have, in my experience, people do have stuff for the things that actually happen, and the same with the weather. Because, the weather in every spot on earth for whatever season you have to be there is knowable. You can research it, you can know what the trends are. Even with climate change, you can know what's likely to happen. You can talk to other hikers. Every long distance trail every year has a Facebook group. And people as they're hiking, will post on that Facebook group. So you can know like, "Oh, I'm climbing to 9000 feet tomorrow. And these people ahead of me say there's ice. I should have microspikes." Or like, "There's a storm coming in, and the people ahead of me say that the river is really swollen and it's gonna be hard to cross so I should like take a day off and wait for the river to go down." So, it's just..it's instead of carrying a bunch of stuff and having no idea where you are or what's happening, and just having all this stuff you just do your research. And like long distance hikers obsessively research when they're on trail because that's all you have to think about all the time. So, as long as--I mean, you can be reckless and not have any of that stuff--but then that will affect your chances of actually finishing, which is what everyone wants to do. Because, you want to have this like fun, full immersion experience. So generally, in my experience, people are prepared even though they don't have like generic first aid kits.
Margaret 28:13 No, that makes sense. I think I have a like defensive maximalism, you know? It's not a maximal...Well, I mean, I guess it depends what you're trying to do. Like, it's not a like I'm going hiking and I need a folding saw, you know? Although if I'm gonna go live in the woods for a while, I want a folding saw, but like, you know, it's a very different goal, right? So I guess I wonder...
Carrot 28:39 Okay, can I say one more thing?
Margaret 28:40 Yeah, yeah, please.
Carrot 28:41 They say that you pack your fears. And, so say you're afraid of getting hurt on trail. So you're like, I should bring all this extra stuff. That extra weight will hurt you. So, that's the irony. So that's like the irony in all of it. And the thing is, a lot of people start long distance hiking that way because that's kind of the way we all learned about the outdoors because we're an urban...Humans are urban. Like, humans in the US are urban. We're not little feral creatures that live in the woods. We don't have these like intimate relationships with like what the wind is doing, or like when the poppies are blooming, you know? And so we go out there and we don't have any idea what the fuck is going on or where we are. And so we want to pack our fears. And then as soon as you start a long distance hike every ounce you're carrying hurts. And so all day, every day, all you have to think about is sort of--as you're being like punished for carrying all your fears--all you have to think about is like, "What do I actually need?" And so that's really common for people to start with really heavy packs and then really quickly they're like, "Okay, I know what I really need and what I don't need." And you also start to learn what you as an individual need on trail because everyone is different. Everyone has like a different sort of comfort zone. So, it's a process because we're not...We're urban. We're like, we don't know what the fuck is going on in nature.
Margaret 30:06 Well, I think a lot of the outdoorsy type folks will also over pack, but kind of in a different way. But it's more of the like...it's not thru-hiking. It's the like bushcraft version. It's the like, I'm gonna go build up a cabin version, you know? Which, I think is overkill for most people. Like most people, when they're imagining like disaster scenarios and the escape from disaster scenarios you don't need to go build a log cabin in the woods. You need to like get to a state where they're not trying to kill you for being trans or whatever. And it is a different thing. So, I guess I take back my own caveat.
Carrot 30:42 Yeah, I think long distance hikers love to make fun of bushcrafters and probably bushcrafters love to make fun of ultralight backpackers. You know, I was thinking about bushcraft the other day, because I was skiing--or I was trying to ski, because I'm learning so I don't really know what I'm doing--and I was just looking at my gear and looking at my friend's gear and I was like, "Everything we have right now is because of plastic. Like literally everything." And then I was like, "What would this even be like if we didn't have plastic?" I was like, "We'd be wearing like wool, and leather, and like animal skins, and everything would be made out of wood." And then I started thinking about bushcraft. And I was like, "That's kind of what it is." Bushcraft is like outdoor stuff without synthetic materials in a way.
Margaret 31:23 Yeah.
Carrot 31:24 Which is like an interesting way to think about it, which is really different. It's really different. And so, if your gear is just heavier, there's just different things you can do. It's like just a whole different kind of thing.
Margaret 31:35 Yeah, I really. No, that's such a fascinating way of thinking about the difference between bushcraft and hiking and then like...You know, I think it's funny because it's like, if someone decides that they're like, "I'm gonna get into outdoors walking stuff." There's all of these different cultures and ways of looking at it. And you have the bushcraft version and you have the ultralight hiking version and then you have like--traditional backpacking seems like sort of the weird in between--and then you also have the tactical version, where it's like, "This is how you get into enemy territory with like, you know, when you're stuck carrying like 30 pounds of ammunition." or wherever the fuck. And it's like, it's so interesting to me how it breaks down even to different like shelter types, right, like the bushcrafters like--although it does go full circle. I would say that bushcrafters and ultralight hikers are both the ones who are like "A tarp is all I need," or whatever, versus traditional backpacking where you're like, "I want a fucking tent." You know?
Carrot Yeah, it's really interesting, our different relationships with nature in this year of our Lord, 2023 in the US.
Margaret 32:41 Yeah. And there's ways that people have to think about kind of all of them if they're trying to prepare. Although I can see how you can get lost over preparing in thinking about every single possible thing that could go wrong. If you're traveling in a vehicle, it's a little bit easier to do that. Right? It's a little bit easier to be prepared for every possible contingency or whatever.
Carrot 33:02 Can I tell you an interesting story?
Margaret 33:04 Yeah.
Carrot 33:04 I love thinking about this stuff. So, we we live in a time in human history where we're very urban, the most urban we've ever been, and so a lot of people don't spend much time outdoors at all, which, you know, is like they just can't. Like, they don't have access or there's so many different reasons. And, the people who do spend time outdoors, access it through these really different channels that almost aren't communicating with each other.
Carrot 33:31 But, the tactical hunter versus the ultralight backpacker, and it's really interesting, because they've developed outdoors cultures that are so different. Like, in Alaska, for example, there are a lot of grizzly bears, which grizzly bears are dangerous, but they're also very knowable. So, you can kind of get to know grizzly bear culture and then you can do sort of like best practices and your chances of being attacked by a bear become extremely low. And so, depending on what you're doing, different people have ideas about what those best practices are.
Margaret 34:04 Bear spray versus 10 millimeter?
Carrot 34:07 I mean, bear spray works better.
Margaret 34:09 Yeah, no, I know. Yeah.
Carrot 34:12 But, for example, a few years ago, I was going on a four day backpacking trip in the Brooks range with some of my friends from Anchorage. And the Brooks range is in the Arctic. It's really remote and ironically, the Grizzlies are much less dangerous up there because the area we were going has no salmon. So, there are much fewer Grizzlies. There are just way fewer Grizzlies. And also, we're north of treeline, so there's no tree cover. And when Grizzlies are dangerous...if you see a grizzly from a distance, and it knows what you are, if it can smell you, it will run away like so fast. But, if you surprise a grizzly at close range, they feel like they have to like defend their honor and that's when they attack. It's like okay, they think it's like a challenge. They're like, "Now I must fight you!"
Margaret 34:58 Understandable.
Carrot 34:58 So, you want to avoid brush and trees in areas where there are grizzlies like as much as you can, avoid brush and trees. So, the Arctic is north of treeline. So it's a really safe place because there are fewer Grizzlies. And if you see one, it's like really far away and the two of you can just give each other a wide berth, because they're actually very scared. So, I was going on a trip with my friends, who are all from Anchorage, which is actually a very dangerous place because there are tons of grizzlies and like once a year someone dies. But, my friends were like, "Oh my gosh, we're going to the Arctic. What are we gonna do about the Grizzlies?" And I was like "You guys, like it's actually safer there. There's fewer bears." And they're like "We should bring Ursacks," which are these like Kevlar bags that the grizzlies can't bite through. It's like a bear can, but lighter. They're great. They're like, "We should bring Ursacks and we should line Ursacks with the scent proof plastic bags and we should put the Ursacks really far from our camp." And I was like, "We can do all that. But actually, it's like safer there than where we live." Like, hiking the Arctic is safer than going on a day hike in Anchorage, like 20 times safer. And, and I was like, "You guys go on day hikes all the time." Anyway, we went and we were all like super careful. Like, you know, when we set up camp, we would go cook like on a hill over there. And then we would put our food in our Ursack, and we could go put it on a hill over there. And then our tents would be here. And it would be like, you know, we would be up wind of where we cooked and like all these different things. And I was like, "Okay, great, you know, that's fine." And then a few weeks later, I went on a moose hunting trip with my friend Birch, who his whole way of knowing the outdoors is hunting, which is also really common in Alaska. And there were five of us and we were hiking eight miles into this drainage through Willow Brush with pack rafts and then we were going to get the moose and we were gonna pack raft out. So we got in and he got the moose. And we processed it. And you know, we were covered in blood. The pack rafts were covered in blood. Like, everything was covered in blood. And, we had these huge pieces of moose in cotton game bags that were soaked in blood like piled our pack rafts. We got we got to camp...Oh, no one has bear spray. I'm the only one with bear spray. You know? They have rifles. But, what good is a rifle gonna to do when you're in your sleeping bag? You know what I mean?
Margaret 34:58 Yeah, totally.
Carrot 35:29 Like that's when the bear could come for your blood or whatever. And, we get to camp and we like take these huge pieces of moose and lay them out on the gravel bar just overnight out in the open. And we all have our tent set up. And I was like, "Hey, Birch, do you ever use an Ursack?" And he was like, "What's an Ursack?" And, our moose hunt was in an area with way more Grizzlies. And there was brush everywhere and we saw like three grizzlies. And it was just so funny, because they weren't concerned at all. And, I think part of it is that guns give people this like false sense of confidence around bears, even though with bears like things happen really fast and you need something you can grab really fast. If you need to be like a sharpshooter, it's not very accessible, like you need something that anyone can use and another part of it....Go ahead.
Margaret 38:07 Also, if you shoot a bear--I'm not speaking from experience, I'm speaking from reading about this-there's been a bunch of studies that shooting bears is not a particularly effective way of stopping bears in the short term and pepper spray or bear spray is very effective. Like, even if a bear is charging and I manage to shoot it that doesn't mean I'm safe.
Carrot 38:25 Yeah, you have to have a certain gun. I don't know that much about guns. You have to have a certain gun and you shoot it in a certain place. So, the odds of all that happening like extremely fast...Whereas bear spray, you spray them in there. [makes a shrieking sound like a bear that's been maced] "It's burning!" You know, and then they run away.
Margaret 38:41 Have you had to do that? Have you ever sprayed a bear?
Carrot 38:43 No.
Margaret 38:44 Okay.
Carrot 38:45 But, I've been around a lot of bears, but I haven't yet had to spray one.
Margaret 38:49 I'm glad. I'm just curious. Anyway, I interrupted you twice. Please continue.
Carrot 38:55 Yeah. So, his conceptualization of what the danger was...Oh! That's the other thing. So, I think part of the reason hunters don't--this is my theory--I think part of the reason hunters don't think about bears is because the guns give them this false sense of confidence, even though bears do sometimes attack hunters. The other thing is bears have bear culture. Like, in different areas, bears learn different things and pass that knowledge on to their cubs. Like, some places, if you do a bear hang, the bear doesn't know what it is. And it can't get it. Other places, bears are really good at getting bear hangs, you know? And, I think that bears know when hunting season is and they know what hunters smell like. That's my theory.
Margaret 39:40 And they're like, "I'm staying the fuck away from them. They all have guns." [inflected as a question]
Carrot 39:43 I don't know if that's true, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was true. And that that's one reason that hunters don't have to take the same precautions.
Margaret 39:50 I mean, it's sort of interesting because guns are notorious for a false sense of security. But, in this case it's like, even though it's sort of a false sense of security, it's not the right way to handle a bear, but maybe that kind of like confidence of walking through the woods with a group of people and doing your thing, maybe that's a better way to live. Like... [trailing off laughing]
Carrot 40:18 There's also...so when an animal is a predator, it moves differently walking than when an animal is a prey animal, and hunters move the way predators move, and hikers tend to move, I don't know, all sorts of ways, but hunters move the way predators move. And so that could be something that communicates to the bear that these are hunters. And to be more scared, I don't know.
Margaret 40:35 No, that's so interesting. I'm really fascinated by these different ways of interacting with the forest. Because, it's like, you know, I live rurally. But, it doesn't actually...it provides me access to nature in that, I can walk out my door, and there's a lot more trees than houses. I can see one house, and I can see 10,000 trees, you know? But, there's also just like private land everywhere. So, I actually can't go hiking out my door. I'm as far away from hiking here as as if I lived in a--not a big city, but a medium city. You know, when I want a good scenic five mile hike, I drive an hour. It's not as many miles, because rural roads take you forever to get anywhere. But, it's just such a different way of interacting with... And then, all like folks around here are a lot more likely to drive down with ATVs, and go like ATVing and shit like that rather than specifically go hiking. But, they are still people who are interacting with the woods constantly. And so, in my mind, I feel like I'm trying to find...I'm on this quest to find out which like culture's way of interacting with the wild and specifically around gear honestly, is the best for the preparedness person. And this is obviously going to be completely different depending on what your fucking threat model is, where you live, what your goals are. But, I think I'm subconsciously doing it. I'm trying to be like, "Do I want to be like a hunter? Do I want to be like a tactical bro? Do I want to be like an ultralight hiker? Do I want to be like an oogle? Like, you know, which method?
Carrot 42:16 So, I have a lot of thoughts about what you just said. I think this would be my strategy, which may be the path I'm taking.
Margaret 42:22 That is the goal of me asking you things, is to find your strategy.
Carrot 42:25 Yeah. Because I also believe--well I don't know if this is exactly what you believe--but I think that all supply chains and infrastructure, and grids, and things are going to collapse in the next few decades.
Margaret 42:39 Yeah...[On a] long enough timeline: Yeah.
Carrot 42:42 I think if one learns the strategy of ultralight backpacking, which relies heavily on really high tech gear--that is currently being manufactured using these intensive processes that rely on supply chains and things--if one learns ultralight backpacking and hunting sort of strategy and gear, and like bushcraft, I think between those three skill sets, one would have the best chance of creating this like hybrid model for like, say, if you needed to walk across the country. Like in The Last of Us in their walk across the country--so, their world is like 20 years post collapse of supply chains manufacturing, like all those different things--I don't think they're carrying the right gear. So, knowing what they more or less, like guessing what they had access to, some changes I would have made is: They're wearing like leather boots. I think Ellie's wearing...What are they called?
Margaret 43:45 Maybe Chucks? But I can't remember?
Carrot 43:47 Yeah, Chuck Taylors.
Margaret 43:49 I think. I can't remember. Yeah.
Carrot 43:51 Like, if they have access to shoes, obviously, which maybe is unrealistic, but in the show, they have access to shoes. I would get some running shoes, or trail runners. And then, their backpacks are made of looks like heavy canvas. And, I would get a backpack made of a lighter weight material. And then I would line it with something like a trash bag to make it waterproof. Because, that's what I do now. I just carry a trash bag folded up, and I use that. And then, they weren't filtering their water. And also, all of their layers seemed to be cotton, which eventually, you know, in the future, we'll get to a point where we'll just have like natural materials again. But, if you still have access to a cotton like denim jacket, you can probably still find synthetic layers which are much smarter when it's cold and wet. So, I would have them wearing synthetic layers if they could.
Margaret 44:46 That makes a lot of sense to me. Okay, but I've read--again, I expect I'm wrong and I'm running things past you for this reason--I've read that one of the reasons that people wear trail runners, but they sort of expect them to not last, necessarily even a full thru-hike, as compared to like hiking boots, which are expected to last like multiple thru-hikes. Am I wrong about a durability difference between these types of shoes?
Carrot 45:15 You're right. So, the trade off is with hiking boots, they last a long time, but they turn your feet to hamburger if you're walking very far day after day. So, in The Last of Us they were walking. I mean, just like guessing by like how far they walk, they were walking all day, every day, day after day. So, in that circumstance, the hiking boots would last, but they would destroy your feet and maybe keep you from being able to continue on your journey. So, I guess the question would be...Like, the way I long distance hike right now, I change my trail runners every 400 miles because that's when the cushion gets more compact. And so, they don't provide as much cushion. So, I'll get more foot pain. But, if I was in a situation where I didn't have access to a lot of trail runners, I would just wear them for longer. And then,...I guess it would be a question of, can you eventually get to a point where your feet have adjusted to leather boots so that you can do that many miles day after day? Because, in traditional backpacking, people just didn't do as many miles day after day. Or, there's also you know, there's a lot of different...
Margaret 46:26 Maybe they're only going eight miles a day?
Carrot 46:29 But they went really far. I don't remember, but...
Margaret 46:32 I think that's movie magic.
Carrot 46:34 But, they went from the East Coast to Wyoming so...
Margaret 46:37 I think they break down and they get most of the way out in car and then they break down. Anyway. Sorry. Please continue.
Carrot 46:43 Yeah, maybe they were taking lots of breaks. Okay, so there is an alternative, I think, in this scenario. So, in Mexico, there are people, indigenous people, who are long distance runners and long distance walkers. I don't know if it's more than one tribe, or...I don't know. But, that book Born to Run talks about these people a lot.
Margaret 47:04 The barefoot...
Carrot 47:04 But yeah. So, they make sandals out of old tires. And, that's what they wear. Because sandals...So, the thing about hiking 20 miles a day, day after day, is it's less like backpacking, more like running a marathon. So, you want to think "Would I run a marathon in this?" because whatever you're wearing will rub you to death. So, boots will rub you to death. So, say trail runners aren't accessible, if you made sandals out of old tires, those are so minimalist that they might not rub you to death the way boots would, but you would be able to make new pairs and they would last a long time. So, actually, people in Mexico have maybe figured it out. Like, that might be the answer is sandals made out of tires.
Margaret 47:47 I consciously believe you. But, I've been wearing boots my entire life. And in my mind, they're like...I mean, in my head, the compromises that I used to wear lace up steel toed boots and now I wear like tactical boots with a zipper down the side that are like, mostly mesh, and stuff. And in my mind, I'm like, these are clearly the perfect boots. These are clearly the best boots for every situation, how could they possibly be bad? But, I accept that you have the experience and you're probably right. My brain won't accept it.
Carrot Would you want to a run a marathon in them?
Margaret 48:26 I don't have the lung capacity to run. I have never been able to. So, I can't. That is a meaningless thing for me, right? Because, I've never been able to run. I mean, I can run, right? But, I like I lose....I can't imagine. But, I don't know. I mean, I used to just...whatever, I used to just be an idiot and kind of an asshole. And so I would just be like, "Oh, whatever. Like why are people complaining? Just toughen up. Just wear steel toed shoes all the time." Whatever. Bullshit. And, I'm no longer on that page. But, in my mind, I'm like... [makes grumpy noises and trails off]
Carrot 49:01 Yeah, so I have two more thoughts about footwear. One is..so the reason backpackers used to always wear boots is because their gear was so heavy. So, when I go hunting--I actually had to buy my first pair of hiking boots, because if I'm carrying a 60 pound pack--you know how we occasionally roll our ankles when we walk and it's not a big deal? It doesn't really sprain your ankle really. But, if you're carrying a 60 pound pack, it's like much more likely to sprain your ankle. So, that's the point of boots. So, when I'm hunting, I only walk eight miles a day and it still hurts my feet, because the boots really hurt my feet. But, it keeps me from worrying about spraining my ankle if I roll it. Whereas, with the backpacking gear that exists now, it's not as heavy, so you can roll your ankle without spraining it, so you can wear trail runners. So, in this scenario, if your pack was really heavy, you probably would want to wear boots and then you would just compromise on how many miles per day you could walk, and your feet would be in pain.
Margaret 49:56 That makes sense.
Carrot 49:57 And then my other thought...but, hopefully in this scenario, you would be able to create this sort of hybrid kit with all your knowledge of like hunting, bushcrafting, and ultralight backpacking and the materials, we still have access to that your pack, maybe your pack wouldn't be crazy heavy. And, then my other thought is: So, in Mexico, there are people who run long distances who create these sandals out of old tires, which is a resource that will be around for a bit. And then in North America, or like further north North America where it's colder, traditionally, people had footwear that they made that they could walk long distances in that also was warmer, like things like moccasins and different...more like, flexible comfy footwear that also wasn't a boot. So, I think even if you didn't have access to trail runners, I don't think the only option would be boots for their durability. I think you could make like some sort of show. Yeah, that's my theory.
Margaret 50:54 No, no, no, this is really interesting. Because, I'm like, imagining like the ultimate setup, in my mind, would be like, nonshiny materials, because in my head, I've heard it referred to as like, outdoors gear being either like tactical or technical, and sort of an aesthetic difference in a lot of ways. Like, everyone's wearing fleece, but some people are wearing camo fleece, and some people are wearing, you know, bright colored fleece or whatever, right? Except for me. I'm walking around in a fucking hoodie. And, this is...I'm slightly smarter than that. That's not true, the last time we went hiking, I was just in my Carhart coat over a hoodie. But, it also wasn't long distance. So, it doesn't really matter.
Carrot 51:39 I mean, if you know there's not going to be cold rain, you probably won't get hypothermia.
Margaret 51:45 Yeah. Yeah. So ,if you, I guess you're already north. If you had to leave on foot, you would be going for sort of a hybrid setup? I guess if it depends on the situation. Now, I'm already answering for you in my head. Never mind.
Carrot 51:45 Yeah, let's say I had to walk into Canada, for example, which it would be really easy to sneak...I'm not allowed in Canada. But, it would be really easy to sneak...Because, there's one protest in particular on my record that they don't like from 2003. And then, there's all the like misdemeanor train stuff for my 20s. But, that's old enough that they don't they don't care about it. But, they really don't like this protest thing So, they just don't let me in. But, it would be really easy to sneak into Canada at the Alaska-Canada-border. So, let's say that's what I wanted to do. Well, the thing about Alaska is, there are a lot of really big rivers to cross. So, you would have to consider that like, would you either carry a pack raft, which would add weight, like between the pack raft, and the paddle, and like a PFD, you know, that would add like 10-15 pounds.
Margaret 52:16 What's that? What's a PFD? A personal flotation device?
Carrot 52:54 Yeah, just like a life jacket. Yeah. Or, would you, you know, just build a raft every time you got to a massive river and just case by case basis troubleshoot trying to cross these rivers. So, and then another consideration would be, so wherever you are, if you decide to go on a long journey, like where you are, for example, you'd want to know how the plant communities change at different elevations. That would help you plan your route. Like, if you were like, "At this one elevation, there's this really thorny brush that's impossible to get through and really terrible." And so, as you were passing through that elevation, you want to find like a road, or a trail, or something that goes through it as you're making your route. And then, if you were like, "Well, at this elevation, it's like this open forest, it's really nice." So then, you would plan your route as much as you could through the landscape that was easier walking. Or, you would be like, "There's these old roads." Like, Alaska doesn't have many roads, but like other places have a lot of old logging roads and mining roads. So, like finding those, you know, and then planning your route. And then, for me, it's pretty rainy in the summer, so, I guess I'd want to have a rain jacket, and rain pants, and trash bags to keep all my stuff dry, and good synthetic layers that were warm, even when they were wet. If I have a down sleeping bag, I'd want to make sure to have like really good trash bag waterproofing system for my sleeping bag in my backpack so it would stay dry. And then, as far as like, fuel goes, I guess it depends on what's available, maybe backbreaking fuel isn't available. Maybe I'm just making fires. And, the challenge would just be drying out if it happens to just rain for two months straight, like figuring out when I can dry out, which maybe it would be a matter of like making fires if the rain never stops. So, staying dry to prevent hypothermia would probably be like the biggest challenge, and then getting over these big rivers. And then for food, if backpacking food wasn't available, I have no idea how i would survive. I think, Okay, this is what I would do. I would have...Let's say that things have collapsed to the point where no one is regulating hunting. So, for example, like, as an Alaskan resident, even though I'm an Alaskan resident, like, I can't hunt seal. The only people who can hunt seal and whale are like, people in native communities in really specific areas. And so, I can't hunt seal, but realistically, if one is to live off the land in Alaska, you're gonna get most of your calories from fat from sea mammals. So, I would need to have figured that out in advance. Like, I would need like seal oil, and berries and dried salmon and dried meat, but I would need a lot of fat to get most of my calories from because there aren't any carbs up here that you can eat. Yeah. I think that would be my strategy.
Margaret 55:58 Okay. Okay. That all make sense to me. Yeah, in my mind, because where I live is like, if I had to walk to Canada, I would be skirting back and forth across roads. On the other hand, maybe all the bridges across all the rivers is exactly where they would like, you know, the militias would be laying ambushes or whatever, you know. So actually, maybe all that stuff, but it never even occurred to me that there's something called a packraft until today. It's a neat concept.
Carrot 56:27 You could bring a pool floatie.
Margaret 56:29 Yeah, yeah, totally.
Carrot 56:30 Just raid a CVS or a Walgreens.
Margaret 56:35 I'm planning...I'm saving up to buy a freeze dryer. This is my like wingnut prepper thing that I really want. They're like, they started about $2,500 for home ones. And then, I can just give everyone backpacking food forever.
Carrot 56:54 Cool.
Margaret 56:55 But, it would work better if I was combining with, you know, honestly, if you're in a city and around people who dumpster dive, that's where a freeze dryer shines. Take your free food and preserve it forever. Or, if you garden a lot, or grow a lot of food. Okay, well. There's so much I want to talk to you about, but I think we're kind of running down on time.
Carrot 57:18 We've almost figured it out.
Margaret 57:19 I know. It's a combo of all of the...You have to multiclass between ultralight and hunter and then you're pretty much good. And with a little bit of bushcrafter, which I feel like the hunter is a little bit close to. Go ahead.
Carrot 57:34 There's definitely a lot of skills I don't have that would be useful in this scenario. Like, I can't snare a rabbit. That would be really useful. I guess I would want to be hunting, but like, I don't know if I would have enough bullets or like, what kind of gun or like...Would I have like a bow and arrow? I don't know enough about hunting to know what kind of hunting I would be doing, or if I would just be carrying enough seal oil and dried moose meat to make the whole journey. So, I don't know. I don't know about that bit.
Margaret 58:06 Yeah, no, I basically have already decided that my veganism lasts until it's like me or the animal. You know? And I actually believe very strongly in that...Like, I actually don't think there's anything ethically wrong with hunting at all. I just have no personal interest in an eating it. But...For anyone who's listening is wondering why vegan says that, in this case, I believe that you're not raising the animal in captivity, it lives free, whatever, people eat things, that's fine. This is the thing we get the most angry people writing about is whenever we talk about either veganism or nonveganism, people get really upset about, and vegans always hate me because I'm like a self hating vegan or whatever, because I'm like, I don't think there's anything ethically wrong with eating meat. Anyway, I just avoid thinking about all that stuff, which doesn't work because then I can't just be like, magically after the apocalypse, I like...I'm a decent shot. So at least I have that. Right? But, I don't know, fucking how to stalk, or dress, or cook. You know? But I'll just magically learn it in a survival situation. That's always the best time to learn. [Said very sarcastically]
Carrot 59:19 Yeah, they say that people learn fastest when you're like a little bit stressed out. So also, you live in an area where you can grow a lot of foods. So, like you wouldn't be as reliant. In Alaska, you can't grow grains. You can't grow beans, like you can't. Traditionally, people lived off animal fat for most of their calories.
Margaret 59:41 Totally.
Carrot 59:43 I think it would sort of like quickly revert to that like, "Okay, we have a lot of fish." But, where you are, it would make sense to like grow a lot of like grain and stuff and that would be really good food to have.
Margaret 59:56 Yeah, yeah, I'm gonna have so many freeze dried potatoes. A fucking entire basement full of freeze dried potatoes. What could go wrong? Well, is there anything? Last last thoughts? Or you know, do you want to talk about, you want to advertise your books again? Or, talk about the stuff that you run or where people can find you?
Carrot 1:00:16 Sure. I'll I'll talk about this. Can I talk about this book, this novel I've been working on?
Margaret 1:00:21 Yeah.
Carrot 1:00:23 So I think...
Margaret 1:00:25 But don't spoil it.
Carrot 1:00:25 Okay, well, no spoilers. It's been really fun to think about, like everything we've been talking about, like if someone is on this long journey, like what would they have access to? What would still be around? How would they survive? So, that's kind of what I try to do. And, I kind of skip over the dark collapsing bits to get to the long journey part, because I think that's what's like fun and interesting. And, I think it gives me a sense of hope to try to be like, okay, what, what will things actually look like? This is one reason I love The Last of Us so much, too, is because you got to see how they like imagine like, oh, what would be left in a mall? Like a shut down mall. What stores would have been raided? What would still be left? Like, what materials would people have access to? And so, I think that's really fun. And, she does have a little dog. She has a chihuahua, that rides in her bike pannier, and nothing bad ever happens to the Chihuahua.
Margaret 1:00:39 That's good.
Carrot 1:00:49 Nothing bad ever happens to the dog. So, that's great. [The transcriber does not know if Carrot is being earnest or not and has not seen The Last of Us to discern whether this is a sarcastic statement or not] And, I think some people I think, maybe think thinking about this stuff is kind of dark, but I find it really comforting.
Margaret 1:01:32 I agree. It's, yeah. Yeah, there's so many reasons.
Carrot 1:01:39 I also, you know, I've read too, that in a survival situation, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what skills we have. What matters is like our ability to organize with other people, because, that's obviously how we've survived to this point is, you know, we're not rugged individualists, we're really highly social animals. And so, no matter what your skills are, no matter where you live, no matter what you have access to where you live right now, like, I think what humans are really good at is sharing their skills in moments of crisis and organizing together. And, you know, so if you...Like, you're gonna have a bunch of freeze dried potatoes, and then maybe your friend will know how to, like, deal with puncture wounds. Or maybe you all also know that, you know what I mean? But like, together, and then maybe you have another friend who's really good at like, hunting or whatever. And so, when people come together, I think that's a really magical thing, too. You know, like, I don't know anything about herbs, but that's going to be really useful someday. And, hopefully, I'm know somebody who does.
Margaret 1:02:43 I agree. And that is essentially one of the mottos of this show, is how, you know...Even the like, the prepper thing about, like, 'I'm gonna have all of this stuff.' Like, the most useful thing I could have in any different disaster scenario is someone else. Like, even if that other person has like, no skills, if we can talk, like, that will help my mental health, you know. And I'm saying that as like someone who's like, kind of low key a hermit, I'm not very low key about it. Yeah. So yeah. Okay, well, what are the names of your books again?
Carrot 1:03:21 The first one is Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart. And that's about the Pacific Crest Trail. And then, The Sunset Route is about the years in which I first met you. Yeah. So, my years riding freight trains, and about my childhood in Alaska. And then, this one I've been working on doesn't have a title yet. But hopefully, maybe it'll be out at the end of the year. I don't even know. So
Margaret 1:03:43 I hope so. I want to read it.
Carrot 1:03:45 Thanks.
Margaret 1:03:47 All right. Thank you.
Carrot 1:03:48 Yeah. Thanks for having me on. This was really fun.
Margaret 1:03:51 Yeah. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this podcast, you should tell people about it in person, or on the Internet, or in graffiti format. If you do the latter, you shouldn't, you shouldn't tell us, but not blame us if you get caught. Only graffiti property you own? Does that still count as graffiti? I'm not sure. You can also support this podcast by supporting us on Patreon, we're at patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness which is the name of the publisher that puts this out, as well as several other podcasts including the Anarcho Geek Power Hour, a podcast called Strangers in Tangled Wilderness, which has a new episode every month with different pieces of fiction and memoir and stuff. And, some other ones that are coming up soon. You can hear about soon. And if you support us there, there's all kinds of cool stuff that you get. And one of those things is we say thank you on the podcast to some of the backers. And in particular I would like to thank Jans, and Hoss the dog, and Michaiah, and Chris, and Sam, Kirk, Eleanor, Jenipher, Staro, Cat J, Chelsea, Dana, David, Nicole, Mikki, Paige, SJ, Shawn, Hunter, Theo, Boise Mutual Aid, Milica, Paparouna, Aly, and Paige. You all make this happen and you pay for the person who produces it, and you pay for the person who transcribes it, and the person who does the audio editing, because people deserve to get paid for their labor, and you let that happen. And that's cool. And I will talk to you all soon. Bye
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