Journal: Hiking, Sweat and Showers

It’s pretty safe to say that I’ve got hundreds of different images, ideas and thoughts about hiking.

I’ve done over 126 miles on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and Virginia, and I’m planning to do a whole lot more.

There will be more than one post about these trips.

The first one is very concrete. It’s very sensory, and real: how it feels to not take a shower while hiking for a few days, and what that first shower feels like when you finally get it.

I struggle to explain the miracle of a hot shower to someone who has not spent several days caked in their own grime. When we will happily lay on a rock outcropping and raise our feet above our heads to cut swelling, we know that a little more dirt isn’t going to matter.  I try to find words for the grit of dried sweat, the added grime of dirt, the slimy and sticky feeling of using hand sanitizer before every meal, and after each bathroom break.

These sensations all made it into Salvaged. A sentence here, a moment there. Nothing big. Just sensory memories that I can use to help the reader join my characters in place and time.

“I used the hand sanitizer before breakfast, hating the sticky feel of it on my hands. It might kill the germs, but it didn’t feel clean.”


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