A. Avoid sarcasm. Anything beyond mild irony enrages bears.
Q. What hiking trails, within two hours of Seattle, are free of Elvis impersonators?
A. Elvis impersonators are rarely encountered in the Olympics before Pentecost Sunday. Another good bet is the Icicle Creek area between Feast of the Assumption and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Q. What is your favorite route to the Pacific Place 11 Cinema?
I prefer the scenic West Escalator approach to the overcrowded East Escalator Trail (the Tiffany Trail) and the prosaic Elevator Route.
Park in a handicapped spot at the A Level of the parking garage and proceed to the trailhead opposite Barnes and Noble.
From here, the West Escalator Trail leads to the main floor. Turn left, and follow the trail past Aveda and L'Occataine. At Cartier, the trail switches back with another steep escalator ascent.
At floor two, the trail takes a hairpin left turn, passing Crane & Co. Papermakers and The Body Shop. Look for another switchback that is not well marked. If you pass Williams Sonoma, you've gone too far.
You may want to rest and enjoy a picnic lunch and the spectacular views of Restoration Hardware, Couch, and Max Mara before tackling the summit assault.
On the Summit Escalator, air becomes thin and breathing difficult. You may be tempted to rest at Johnny Rockets, but if you can press on for another 20 yards you will reach the Pacific Place 11 Cinema.
Allow four minutes for the entire hike, not including rest stops.
Q. For a two-week September backpacking trip in the Enchantments, what should I pack in addition to six liters of Bombay Sapphire Gin?
A. One liter of dry vermouth, preferably Martini & Rossi or Noily Prat.
Q. What are the "10 essentials" for hikers?
A. The "10 essentials" are the songs every hiker should have should have on an iPod before starting a hike:
- "Johnny B. Goode," Chuck Berry
- "What I Say," Ray Charles
- "Brain Damage," Pink Floyd
- "Respect," Aretha Franklin
- "Your Cheating Heart," Hank Williams
- "Fingertips," Stevie Wonder
- "Candy Man," Mississippi John Hurt
- "Milord," Edith Piaf
- "Satisfaction," Rolling Stones
- "Big Boss Man," Jimmy Reed
Q. During dinner, if a camper sitting directly across from you asks for some food, which way should it be passed?
A. Camp meals are usually served "family style." This means that the side dishes are passed to the right (counterclockwise) with each camper helping himself. There is an exception to this rule: If a camper sitting to your immediate left requests a second helping of a dish, don't send the dish all the way around the circle. It's perfectly fine to directly pass the dish to the left.
Q. What advice can you give me regarding backpacking with teenage children?
A. Don't. Backpacking with teenagers is backpacking in Detroit in February.
Q. When hiking on Mount Rainier, how should one pronounce otiose?
Q. On trails in the Cascades, I frequently hear the word "otiose." Can you define this word in an outdoors context?
A. Otiose means ineffective, worthless, and lazy.
Q. I think too many rock climbers today are otiose. Do you agree?
A. Rock climbers are a diverse and varied group. To stereotype them as otiose is repugnant, libelous, and odious. You may have confused them with backpackers. The later are indeed otiose.
Q. What is the best clothing for trekking during a heat wave?
A. During heat waves, light and bright colors are de rigeur. Choose a color for the season that enhances your natural skin and hair tone. Avoid beige, a bad color for shirts or any article that is around the face. French blue, flattering most skin tones, is a better alternative.
Q. When making crepe over a campfire, do you recommend a traditional or a non-stick crepe pan?
A. On long backpacking trips, keeping traditional crepe pans well oiled is difficult. When camping for longer than one night, I pack the Le Creuset Nonstick Crepe Pan. The vitrobase enamel cast iron exterior provides a smooth "glass-like" finish and promotes quick and even heat distribution.
Q. Where did you get the name Mr. Outdoorsperson?
A. From the Witness Protection Program.
Q. Does a bear shit in the woods?
A. Is the bear catholic?