What I learned over my summer break...

After two decades of renegade car camping, I've got my systems down.  Still, I managed to learn a few new tricks during the Summer of '16 that I'd like to share with you all.  I learned:

1. Use furniture to keep your mattress clean during inflation.
Normally I lay the mattress on the roof of my jeep and inflate it with a pump and the 12-volt adapter.  But using a chair and the aluminum camp table I picked up this year, I was able to keep it free of dirt and dust during the inflation process.

2. Mosquitoes don't like sulphur.
A quarter of a mile away, I was being eaten alive.  But within Yellowstone's Shoshone Geyser Basin (found at the end of an 8.5-mile hike), the overwhelming smell of sulfur seemed to keep them completely at bay.

3. Don't forget to put on lip balm when climbing Colorado Fourteeners.
Besides sunscreen, you need to apply a high-SPF chapstick at high elevations to protect you from UV radiation, especially when the UVs are bouncing off the snow and hitting you in both directions.  I had puffy lips for the wedding I attended in Denver.  Not cool.

4. Starch + Iodine = blue
I wondered why my iodine-treated water slowly turned violet as I was using it to clean my oatmeal bowl... but then I remembered high school chemistry.

5. You don't need a lot of rope to keep bears from your food.
I probably brought 60 feet of rope to Glacier National Park to hang my food bag, but the bear poles in the campgrounds only require 25 feet.

6. Pine martens are adorable.
You're right, Bryan.  Pine martens are adorable.