Dirty Optimist

Optimist sitting in his filth and grime after walking in the rain and mud for too many days in a row

I am disgustingly dirty, and I’m talking about the down and dirty physical type such that I am covered in grime and filth and it is to a point that I disgust myself.

We did this to ourselves. We each showered twice in Waynesboro last Saturday and Sunday but due to our slothfulness, we did not do our laundry and marched out of town with clean bodies but week old dirty clothes. It didn’t take long for the stink of our clothes coupled with the sweat of the hike that we were quickly again thrust back into dirtiness. Within a few hours, the comfortable clean of Waynesboro was gone. To make matters worse, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we haven’t had much of any rain the past week. As a result, we haven’t gotten a shower from above to clean ourselves and the trail has dried out quite a bit leaving it dusty. This dust then easily sticks to my legs as I sweat on my uphill battles.

Julie and I deal with this in different ways. I won’t through dirt at my beautiful wife and talk about her hygiene, but for myself, I can’t stand to be this dirty. I remember back on day two when we ran into our cousin Tim. He was having a good day and enjoying his hike, except that he couldn’t stand the dirt build up of a few days. I kind of laughed and thought to myself that he’d simply get used to it. I am with you now Tim and as a result, am working to remedy the situation.

Twice today I cleaned myself. The first was at a spring in the middle of the afternoon. I started by simply wiping with a bandana. It lead to a full on rinsing of both myself and my clothes. An added benefit was that I put my wet clothes back on and they cooled me off for the afternoon hike. This evening, I used a bit of leftover water and again the bandana, wiped myself down before getting back in the tent. This is only cleaning the surface dirt and my white shirt will likely never be white again. However, it is a small step back towards acceptable levels of cleanliness by social standards and it allows me to be ok with myself.

We plan to meet up with family this weekend and Mom is bringing laundry detergent along with many other goods from home. At least I won’t stink quite as bad when we first see each other and I won’t feel bad giving her a big hug.

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