Pictured above: Luke at a safe distance
It was day three of our five-day climbing trip to Ten Sleep Canyon; a summertime, limestone, sport-climbing mecca in Northern Wyoming. I was filthy, covered in a combination of sweat, dust, chalk and, most likely—batshit. To make matters worse (read: dirtier), I had only brought one pair of socks, having somehow lost all of my other pairs prior to the trip. (To answer your question, yes, I consider myself an adult, and no, not in the traditional sense.)
It was a steep, 45-minute hike to the crag (crag = where climbers reach their routes) and a hike I had made five times already, soon to be six. To reiterate, I had one pair of socks. I’ll let your imagination run with how they were holding up (hint: they weren't).
Pictured: Luke's feet accumulating stench
Needless to say, I was apprehensive and more than a little furtive every time I removed my approach shoes to put on my climbing shoes, lest my climbing partners catch a whiff and turn sick or—more likely—silently judge.
I was staying with a person who, in order to avoid the long and now cliched “it’s complicated” explanation, we will refer to as my girlfriend. We were both sleeping in my Honda FIT, which made for close quarters under the best of circumstances and made even closer due to lack of cleanliness. To her credit, she never once complained about my general lack of hygiene, although I suspect that my subtle advances being ignored and politely turned down each night might have had something to do with it.
Pictured: Luke (front hammock)
At this point in the story, you’re probably expecting me to tell you that Action Wipes saved the day.
“I used a great-smelling wipe (they really do smell great) to clean my feet, pits, and wipe the dusty amalgamation of feces and limestone off of my face. I was immediately the life of the climbing party, got laid, and sent all my projects! (I’m not sure what the latter has to do with being clean, but you get my point.) The next morning I rinsed the durable wipe of all my bodily refuse and used it and a little soap to wash our breakfast dishes, feeling like an environmentally savvy hero! Captain Planet himself came back from the 90's just to congratulate me on my good deeds and clean scent.”
Pictured above: Luke looking for Captain Planet
Sadly, dear reader, this is not a story of triumph. Instead, it is a cautionary tale. I did have an Action Wipe, but I used it on day one of the trip. This isn’t something I regret, mind you, it felt great and, at least for a little while, I felt clean.
My regret stems from not having more than one. As with my socks, I was grossly underprepared and my friends and my ego suffered for it.
I’ll leave you with these two pieces of advice:
- If you’re planning a four or five-day camping/climbing trip, pack more than one pair of socks. Heck, bring a pair for each day if you’re feeling extra boyscout-y.
- Bring Action Wipes, plural.
Getting sweaty, smelly, and covered in dirt is the sign of a well-played adventure, and should be the goal of any outing into the wild places that we love. However, it’s a great feeling to be able to wipe away said smell, and start the next day fresh and ready for more. Your homies will appreciate it.
Pictured above: Enough Action Wipes for Luke
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