Like everyone else we’ve been mostly hunkered down for the past month or so. Sheltering in place. Hanging at home. Worrying about the toilet paper.
Life. Stripped to the essentials like on a wilderness backpack trip when you know you’ll have to survive with nothing but what you carry- just a sleeping bag & tent & foam pad & stove with fuel & cook kit & water bottles & a water filter & extra sunblock & warm clothes but just one spare underwear & provisions in bear-proof canisters & small bags & a roll of toilet paper.
In 1999 when we hiked, as a family, the John Muir Trail in California and did Mt. Whitney together there was a day when the toilet paper supply had been running low. The “supply” was one thin roll and it wasn’t going to last out one more day unless somebody used leaves. We’d done Muir Pass the day before- it snowed in August up there- and that night in the tent I’d been sure we’d make it the whole way, because Muir Pass was a crux point of that trip and once over there were some other high passes and then Whitney itself, but really once over Muir Pass I knew we’d make it. Next to me Carol was gently crying and said the trip was hopeless now. There’s no way we were gonna make it without toilet paper. I remember making up my mind that no matter what happened the next day I had to get some toilet paper- and we got lucky, because although the little ranger station we passed had been locked up tight the very first hikers we encountered that day had extra rolls and gave us two. Two brand new rolls. Still in wrappers! The family were from Evanston, IL, and they had extra because they were doing a base-camp family-reunion trip, so everyone brought extra in case someone else forgot. In the end nobody wants to hike out carrying anything extra, so they were happy to pass it on. We floated down the trail that day, ready for anything.
Yesterday was the last day of April, and I still have paper left on my personal roll. On April 9 I took on a challenge- could I make it through the entire month on the roll that I’d just opened? Yes. April 30 and I still had sheets left. Could probably sell them on Ebay. If I knew how Ebay works.
This is my April roll, on the bottom, and my new May roll on top.