If you have never camped, the important thing to know about it is that it’s nonstop chores that modern society innovated away between twenty and a hundred years ago. Washing dishes and clothes by hand, cooking by fire, toting firewood and water. There is a part of me that always feels beyond ridiculous for pretending at my little cavewoman existence when I am abetted by silicone sporks and wash basins, profoundly advanced hiking boots, and very powerful sunscreen. But as someone with deep seated complexes about chores, I am always surprised by chores and little errands feeling not so bad actually when you are not “supposed” to be doing anything else, either maximally enjoying yourself by binging an entire streaming series or doing some higher-purpose, higher-order work task. I read Haley Nahman’s essay on errands on Sunday, which made me feel even more robbed of the small satisfaction and accomplishment of completing dumb and slightly laborious tasks. We innovated them away, at great expense to my apparent need for dumb little tasks to feel right in the world.
When we got back home, I realized I hadn’t been meaningfully inside, indoors, for six whole days. It genuinely felt weird to look around and see only walls. “Forest bathing” always felt like an inane concept to read about, but now I would explain it as: It feels cleansing and and soothing to the brain to be able to see far, and also see basically nothing happening, except peace and quiet, maybe some trees swaying the wind, maybe some fellow campers distantly playing cornhole.
A few days before we left to camp, we learned sort of by accident that Mammoth Mountain was still open, and planning to stay open through July. I brought my skis. I did not create the climate change roller coaster, but I will surely scream my head off on the downhill. (A friendly ski shop proprietor told me this kind of late season happens about every four years.)
This leads me to the Swole Woman “We Slidin” report of Fourth of July weekend, 2023. It was 70 degrees outside on July 1. Once on the mountain, wearing only a Couch to Barbell t-shirt and snow pants (too much) and flanked on the chairlift by a couple in matching American-flag-themed shorts and tank tops, I heard whispers of the lifts staying open into August. The morning snow was crystalline and dry as a bone, which I learned through chats is one of Mammoth’s extremely unusual and highly cherished features. As one skier I overheard later at the brewery put it, “powder is my favorite, but spring conditions [ed. note: summer conditions!] are a close second.”
Most people were some degree of naked, shirtless men and women in bikini tops, tucking their beers into the snow at the tops of trails to chill them and sip between runs. Three times I, sober as a judge, caught an edge and went sailing headfirst down the trail, losing one ski or both. No one ever called down to me from a chairlift “More like Couch to Yard Sale,” though I wished they had. I rode to the peak of the mountain at a seeming 80-degree incline over exposed rocks to 11,000 feet of elevation. The sky was so cloudless and the sun was so strong and bouncing off the snow that the undersides of my earlobes burned enough to peel. I could see for miles and miles, so far away that if anything was happening out or down there, it was too small to matter.
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A limited-series standup podcast from the BBC: Sturdy Girl Club!
In this house, we celebrate Swole Sanjay, the dolly grip who makes Wes Anderson tracking shots everything that they are.
Let’s go Giants: Saquon Barkley squatting 585 pounds like it’s no pounds.
@brianna.battles’s mom started lifting in her 50s and pulled 200 pounds for five deadlift reps a few weeks ago. It’s not too late!
The decline of playtime. I want to make something clear, which is that what I want for all of us, including myself, is playtime. Where is my adult-size playground complete with triple-decker slide?
Why did Bronze Era lifters have flat chests? Short answer: No one really used benches yet (or racks, for that matter).
Always read Patricia Lockwood, but especially when she says of reading Infinite Jest, “It’s like watching someone undergo the latest possible puberty. It genuinely reads like he has not had sex. You feel not only that he shouldn’t be allowed to take drugs, but that he shouldn’t be allowed to drink Diet Pepsi.”
The pleasure, and peril, of a Hot Ones party.
On vacation, I listened to a few eps of the BBC podcast Burn Wild, about the Earth Liberation Front, a radical climate activist group that has been almost completely erased from my memory. Here’s a good feature on ELF if you prefer to read, and this is your reminder to freakin’ watch How to Blow Up a Pipeline if you haven’t.
But the best thing I read this week was everything that was wrong with the OceanGate sub for years and years before it blinked out of existence next to the Titanic.
That’s all for this week! I love you for reading, thank you, let’s go—