cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


177 Eating Dirt 2010-01-15

Camp in Colorado

I read all the time. I read to increase my knowledge, but I also read looking for blog ideas. Today was one of those jackpot days, the Tennessean ran a story on it was good to be dirty. Now that’s something I can sink my teeth into.

In fact while camping it is hard not to sink your teeth into dirt. Dirt is everywhere. You don’t have a clean place to prepare the food. You sit in the dirt to cook your meal. And you eat the food without washing your hands, egad! The same standards of cleanliness cannot be maintained when you are outdoors or truly hungry. For example... at home if a piece of toast fell to the relatively clean floor, jelly down, you might just throw it away ( and clean up your mess), and start over. Afterall you have a whole loaf of bread. In the backcountry though, different cultural norms exists. If a pilot biscuit (I do not make toast in the backcountry) with jelly drops to the ground, what do you do? Well, the five second rule comes into effect and you eat it of course - dirt and all.

The five second rule states that any food dropped to the ground for less than five seconds, does not have time to be contaminated and is thus safe to eat! Of course if you have a dog, special training will be required for the dog to allow five seconds to pass before they begin their scavenger operations.

Now after reading the article from the Tennessean and the link to the Hygiene Hypothesis, I find that dirt could be good for you as it exercises your immune system.

A good example of the Hygiene Hypothesis at work is the common practice of long distance hikers to drink water sans filtering. The hikers try to build a tolerance for giardia and other parasites. I do not know how long it takes to build up the immunity, maybe they are just lucky. I do know my dog drinks some pretty foul looking water and I don’t think he has ever been sick from it. He has built the immunity. We still filter our water most of the time. But, I have friends who have ingested the parasite - folks it was not a pretty sight.

Being too clean has possibly caused more allergy sensitivity, etc. I think I will try to be a little dirtier and see if it helps. Of course this is a good excuse for all of us to go camping more. And for those who don’t like to camp maybe the food industry will fortify their products with a dose of good old dirt! Now that’s true grit.

Happy dirty trails.

links - http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100115/



Name (required):

Comment (required):

Please Introduce Secure Code: