- Climbing Turn
Imagine that you are flying, but without a plane.
Decide whether or not you want to keep your clothes on (I won't ask and you shouldn't tell, especially if you look like me).
Imagine that things are going well. It's a nice day.
You've had a good breakfast after a great night's sleep.
You are fit and happy.
The temperature is just right, something that's especially nice if you are not so fit after all, but are actually flashing thunder thighs and belly flab, which ripples in the wind in that tingly way only naked flying can cause.
Captain America, you are, or imagine yourself to be, cruising with calories in reserve and not a single care in the world.
And then you see it.
Coming at you.
A gull, a big one, ahead and slightly above.
Coming directly at you.
You hear it squawk as it sees you.
It flaps once, then snaps into a quick evasive maneuver, and releases a wad of liquid fertilizer from its cargo hold.
At that instant the gull itself is no longer a threat but you are on a direct collision course with the poo, which is a threat, and you are leading with your face.
And there are more gulls ahead, each very likely carrying poo.
You have an instant to react.
What do you do? Why, you go into a climbing turn, of course.
You bank hard, pour on the power, and begin a steep climb as you turn, all in one movement.
You don't pause.
You don't stop halfway through to think about the meaning of life, or doing your laundry next week.
You don't take time to admire the sights.
Because you do not want your eyes and nose and mouth filled with steaming, acidic bird squirt as it splots into your face.
You turn and climb, and once at a higher altitude you reverse course in one smooth, full-power movement.
Your nose hairs remain squeaky clean.
And your eyelashes.
Your armpit hairs continue fluttering happily in the wind, goo-free.
FAA radar sees you and is amazed.
You are so cool.
You can do a climbing turn on the trail too, though it's slower and sweatier, and not so likely to appear on radar.
If hiking you will do this by reversing direction while moving vertically to the next level of trail without encountering the flat area typical of switchbacks. (There's no landing on this stairway.)
Instead the trail swoops back on itself in one fluid move and the turn's apex will be directly on the fall line.
This sort of turn on trails with grades of over seven percent can make them vulnerable to severe erosion, so that's where switchbacks are used.
But you can hike naked over either kind of turn if you want to.
Most poop you see while afoot will be safely on the ground and not flying at face level, though it pays to stay alert for unexpected surprises.
And if you are naked it pays to keep one eye open for things with teeth that are unhealthily fascinated by your crotch area.