Nothing beats a nice, hot shower after a hike….

Oftentimes during my several hikes, and especially whilst negotiating a particularly taxing climb, I had often wondered about the possibility of rigging up some kind of a shower system in the bush, that would help relieve the tremendously tiring and sweaty periods of any hike in the wilderness.

Unfortunately, all my thoughts remained as thoughts and I never had the time or patience to design something like that, until I found the very thing at my local hiking shop!

As you may have read in my past articles here, I am a sucker for MEC, a fantastic mecca for folks like you and me who are into any kind of leisure pursuit, be it on land, up a mountain, on the water or snow and ice.

There I found The Hot Tap wilderness shower pack. It’s a superb idea, and is capable of providing you with a very adequate hot shower for up to 10 minutes.

All you do is dunk the pump in water, light the propane burner and hey! presto, you have an instant hot water shower in the middle of nowhere.

What is it like in use? As always, I only comment on the things I have used personally, and this is one of them. It comes with it’s own fully illustrated instructions that are clear and easy to read.

The shower is able to give you around 8 to 10 minutes of hot water. I found it to be enough to remove the normal grime, sweat and tears of a normal hike….of course, with any shower, you really want to stand under it as long as possible, savouring the life-giving heat of the water on your body, but don’t forget, this is not the shower in your home, and so you have to get on with cleaning yourself rather swiftly before the water runs out!

Batteries for the pump are needed…if you forget to pack them, well, let’s just say your hot shower in the wilderness will remain a dream! I do know some of my friends who bought this unit have used rechargeable batteries, which last longer and can obviously be recharged when required.

All in all, a very, very ingenious item and well worth packing for your hike.

Click here to read more about this very useful hiking must-have accessory.


A useful tip from a Kenyan elder

By now you will have guessed that I tend to travel quite a lot, whether it’s within my own neck of the woods here in BC, or overseas.

And I seem to be blessed with enough shekels to do it with as well as pay the bills, for which I am eternally grateful…who wouldn’t be.

During one such trip of mine to Kenya, in East Africa, I walked out of Nairobi town, which like any modern city, is crowded with people, buses, donkeys, stray dogs, you name it. I kept walking, trying to get as far away from town as possible, for that is where you get to meet the real people.

Soon the town was far, far away and a quiet peace had descended, with just the chirping of colourful birds to be heard.

Not long afterwards, I came upon a small town, with a row of about 4 or 5 shops, and dozens of huts constucted of mud, grass, corrugated iron sheets etc where the towns people lived I guess. These were very definitely poor people.

As I was walking past, an old gentleman caught my eye, so I waved to him. He waved back and then beckoned to me. I thought it bad manners if I carried on walking past, so I turned around and walked up to the hut he was sitting outside and said Jambo (hello).

Anyway, he spoke w few words of broken english, and mixed with my jumble of swahili that I’d picked up, we got on ok! He asked me if I wanted a cold drink, to which I said no, as I told him I had a headache (kichua-uma). That’s no problem he said and told me to wait while he went inside to get something.

A few minutes later, he came out with a cup of hot tea and a root of some kind cut into pieces. He told me to eat the root up and then drink the tea, and the headache will go away just like a bird flying away.

I tasted the root cautiously, not knowing what it might be, but then realised it was raw ginger, so I ate it all up and then sipped at the scorching hot tea.

We carried on chatting about weather, animals, politics of Kenya, tribal problems etc and when I’d finished the tea, I noticed that my headache had indeed completely gone!

I thanked the wise old guy many times for his hospitality and walked off on my travels again, just thinking about how much trust total strangers in a foreign country place on people they’ve never, ever met before. And would I ever offer any stranger I see in my town a cup of tea or invite him/her into my home? It’s just not the done thing in our western way of life, is it? And yet we call ourselves “civilised”. Does being civilised mean that we close ourselves off from everybody, and become caring only to our own family unit and nobody else?

Anyway, ever since that day, any time I get a headache, I rush to my vegetable basket for a piece of ginger, just as the old man had taught me. And it works!

I can understand that guy….

Just read a book called “Out there” (forgot the name of the writer!).

In it, the writer talks about the time when he had come back to civilisation after a prolonged stay in the Northern Territories of Canada, and how he couldn’t handle all the noise around him in his modern house!

He talks about difficulty falling asleep due to noise from his tabletop clock, the hum of the fridge downstairs, the noise of traffic outside his window and finally, he even is able to hear the hum from the electric cables buried inside the wall behind his bed!

I must say I sympathise with him. After having been in the wilderness, whenever I come back to town, I too hate all that noise. But, once I stand underneath that lovely hot shower, everything is forgiven!