I like to carry my silver/mylar umbrella for shade while hiking, but this day I didn’t bring it and the sun started getting pretty warm (it was in the 90’s) so I tried a few experiments with my trusty handkerchief.  I carry one of these with me for its myriad of uses.  These hankys are great because they cost about a dollar and you can buy them everywhere.

2013-08-21 10.48.08Of course, the first was the simplest and most obvious.  Drape the hanky over the arm facing the sun and secure a corner under my bra strap.  (Bras were invented for holding more than just boobs.  Mine by turns holds my cell phone, anything I can’t set down while I’m walking, and now hankies.)  With the hanky thus draped my arm felt good but my neck was warm so I tried tucking the hanky under my hat and holding the opposite edge away from my body to form a little

2013-08-21 10.32.21

awning for my face and arm.  This gave me the idea of tying a stick to the far end to make it easier to hold it up.  Then I thought, if I tie two sticks, one each to the far corners it would be like an umbrella.  Then I had the idea that you could make quite a big umbrella with four hankies by tying them all together and getting some long sticks to the far corners of that. My idea was that there would be a really broad shade over me something like you would find covering a royal Asian sedan chair.


Of course I was getting carried away, but what else is there to do?  This hike was a 5.5 mile out-and-back walk.  The “back” was boring so all this invention was happening while I was walking to have a little fun and pass the time.  Of course, I wasn’t looking where I was walking while I was tying sticks to handkerchiefs and I stepped in a hole and twisted my ankle.  This was a training hike so I was wearing my 25 lb pack.  Twisting your ankle in a hole wearing an extra 25 lbs is no fun.  I was on my hands and knees for a few minutes, then limping for a few minutes, then back trying to reinvent the umbrella to stay cool until I got back to my car.

By the way, I read that when in the desert it is best to use a dark tarp for shade.  It reflects (or maybe absorbs?) more of the sun.  I wouldn’t have guessed it, but it is so.

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