“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.It’s common knowledge among Cheat Fest attendees, that no matter what, at some point, it’s going to rain. This year was more of the same, but to talk about it would be beating a dead horse. We’ll just leave last year’s recap here, in case you want a more in-depth look: “Cheat Fest: A Party in the Mud”.For 24 years, Friends of Cheat has hosted the Cheat River Festival in Albright, West Virginia. The annual fundraising event goes down on the banks of the Cheat River and attracts boaters from far and wide. The story of the Cheat River is a story of recovery. Thanks to the Friends Of Cheat, a once overly polluted river is able to flourish. The festival raises awareness and funds that allow the restoration project to continue.Cheat Fest feels more like a large family reunion than a festival. Everyone seems to know everyone. This is only our second year and we were surprised how many familiar faces and old friends we ran in to.One of the coolest things about this festival is how kid-friendly it is. The little-ones could paint a life-sized boat, tye-dye their own shirts, and participate in a number of different workshops including Timber Rattlesnakes, Backpacking 101, and more. There is plenty for adults as well! In addition to paddling, attendees can enjoy an excellent music lineup, top-notch vendors, yoga, food, art, and plenty of drinks.Speaking of backpacking 101 that was us! That’s right, we spent an hour under the Education Eddy tent handing out backpacking tip and tricks on Friday Evening. We shared stories and mishaps with beginner and expert backpackers alike.Up next we’re wrapping up our spring portion of the tour at Appalachian Trail Days in Damascus, Virginia. Come share the love of the white blaze and say hello before we shove off to Colorado!There is one way for this tour to be a reality, our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to our title sponsor Nite Ize, and all of our other awesome sponsors like Crazy Creek, National Geographic, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Old Town, Leki, HydraPak, UCO Gear and Wenzel. If you like the gear that keeps us groovin’ click here to enter for a chance to win our Grand Gear Giveaway!
Fish, while being a delicious meal, can sometimes stink tremendously. If it’s not fresh enough, or worse, if a co-worker decides to microwave it in the office, the smell can be enough to make you gag. But for some cultures, fish that stinks to high heavens can be seen as a delicacy, such as the Swedish surströmming.This dish, served in a can, is a lightly-salted Baltic sea herring that has been fermented for at least six months.Opened can of surströmming in brine. Photo by Lapplaender CC BY-SA 3.0 deThe salt applied to the fish is barely enough to prevent it from rotting, which in turn creates one of the worst possible stenches inside of the can. In fact, a Japanese study that focused on measuring the stench of foods judged surströmming to be the smelliest food in the entire world!Special precautions must be made when eating surströmming, or else the smell emanating from the dish could make the eater, or those around the eater, sick to their stomach. Opening the can indoors would be a terrible idea, for the scent would quickly permeate the area and linger for far too long.Close up of herring fillet, out of a surstromming canThe pressure from the can creates a danger as well, for popping the can open could cause the brine to splash everywhere, soaking into clothing and the environment. The brine retains the full smell and can linger for quite some time. This is often why surströmming is opened when submerged in a bucket of cold water, as a way to prevent the spray from getting all over the place.Herring bussSurströmming is a bit of an acquired taste and for those who aren’t accustomed to the smell of the can, it can be rather overwhelming. One particular case of surströmming’s stench coming under fire was when a German landlord in 1981, discovered that one of his tenants was busy smearing a can of the stuff in the stairwell.This was done by the tenant to annoy one of the nearby neighbors, with whom they were embroiled in a petty feud. The scent was unbelievably atrocious and caused serious duress in those who were living in the building at the time.Close up of herring fillet, out of a surstromming canWith such a terrible smell emanating from the stairwell, the landlord sought to have his tenant evicted. Such an act was more than simple malfeasance — the terrible rotting smell of the brine continued to linger for quite some time. However, by throwing out the tenant, the landlord violated the tenants’ rights. In Germany, evicting an individual without notice is grounds for a lawsuit and as such, the landlord found himself taken to court.The landlord didn’t have too difficult of a time proving that his tenant’s vandalism warranted such a hasty removal. All he had to do was open a can of surströmming in the courtroom, no doubt causing the majority of people inside to gag and wish desperately to leave the premises as quickly as possible.Surströmming served on flatbread with boiled potatoes and salad.The courts, having been subjected to the same olfactory torture as the landlord’s tenants had been, quickly ruled in favor of the landlord. The smearing of the brine was too much of a crime to allow the tenant to stay.Surströmming, considered to be both a delicacy and a nuisance, is certainly nothing to mess with. Yet, with all of the negative publicity that the dish receives, from being banned in airports to evictions, there are some individuals who do enjoy the taste and have learned to stomach the smell of surströmming. They would argue that it tastes nothing like it smells.Read another story from us: The Restaurant Serving 40 Year-Old Beef StewAlthough in the words of one German critic, Wolfgang Fassbender “the biggest challenge when eating surströmming is to vomit only after the first bite, as opposed to before.” Bon appetite.