Friday, April 14, 2023

What to Take on a Hike

Page one of What to Take on a Hike
It feels like early summer today, so our thoughts turned to the outdoors. What better place to look for inspiration than the MacKaye Family papers (ML-5). In 1921, Benton MacKaye wrote an essay called "A Project for an Appalachian Trail." His audacious proposal gave birth to the AT which cuts right through campus. The proposal is very cool, but we got more excited by his four-page, single-spaced, typed list of "What to take on a hike." 

What better place to start than bacon: "I have tried the Deerfoot which comes all sliced, but find that it runs pretty fat, and prefer a straight flick." (If anyone knows what "straight flick" means when applied to bacon, let us know!) He also suggests a lot of cereal, condensed soups peanut butter ("the more granular sort"), and Swiss cheese as a special delight for the first few days.

For gear, there is of course a good knife, a compass, watch and map, but also a revolver. For clothing he has a lot to say about boots:

Heavy porpoise boots worn sufficiently to be already comfortable, fitted with long porpoise lacings, and heavy rubber soles reaching back to heel, and rubber heels. Great care needs to be taken in fitting this sole else it will peel off in the first day. It should be glued, kept under pressure over night and be riveted on besides. I am strongly opposed to hobnailed boots believing them practically useless and even dangerous besides heavy and uncomfortable. Incidentally they are not so nice for the other fellow when you accidentally tread on him.

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In August the thru hikers start inhabiting the Green--making the trek in 1920s' gear sounds impossible, but the smell of bacon each morning would be nice!

Ask for ML-5, Box 97, folder 29, to get ready for your next leisurely.