In these days of social distancing, it is still permissible to go out into nature to try to enjoy some fresh air, maybe see some critters, and enjoy the beauty of nature.

My wife and I spend a fair amount of time walking, from our house, into the desert on the Bloody Shins Trail System. 

I normally have a policy that I pick up at least one piece of trash every time we go for a walk — this past weekend, on Saturday, we headed out and within 2-3 minutes I had picked up an empty chips bag that was lying along the trail — my wife suggested that now, even more than usual, I should be careful what my hands touch — good point darling! 

On Sunday, we went out again, same trails, only this time we brought along a plastic grocery bag and my wife wore a latex glove for picking up the trash - she’d pick, I’d carry the bag, that was the deal. 

We got on the trail at the top of Stuart Street, walked east towards the mountains, then northeast in the general direction of I-80, and finally northwest to get to the trail head, at the intersection of Kluncy Canyon Rd and Rim Rock Road, probably a bit under two miles — the totality of what we picked up is shown in the attached photo — by the time we got to the trail head, we were having difficulty fitting any more trash in the bag. 

This, obviously does not include the side-by-side muffler, the abandoned sofa, nor the unidentifiable, but perhaps, old ice box that have all been discarded along the trail. 

It is noteworthy that we really did not venture off the trail, just picked up trash that we could easily reach from the trail!

This is not the first time I have considered writing to try to encourage people to be more conscientious about discarding trash — on several occasions we have picked up trash that has been thrown on the ground, within 5-10 feet of garbage cans that are conveniently placed in the trail head parking area.

I guess I have trouble understanding the difficulty in walking five feet and depositing trash in a can versus lazily dropping it on the ground?

I have trouble reconciling the supposed love of nature and the joy of being outside with the blatant disregard for properly disposing of trash - it’s really not that hard to pack out what you pack in, is it?


Dennis A. Hosack, Ph.D.