The Appalachian Trail Conservancy keeps records of the percentage of thru-hikers that drop off the trail by certain points. For example, about 50% of north-bounders drop off by Harpers Ferry, WV about 1,000 miles into the trail. If the ATC kept similar statistics on A.T. blog readership, I'm guessing that most blogs would lose at least 50% of readers at the first post that spends an entire paragraph describing body odor.
Body odor and less than stellar hygiene are inevitable parts of the trail, but they can become a real issue when hiking with a partner. I was not fully aware of the gravity of the issue until Bearcub subtly broached the subject with her comment, "You smell like a Burger King." Close, but not quite. Days later she got more accurate with "You smell like an onion." Very close, but still not quite. Let's put it this way, if scientists genetically engineered a giant onion that could live and work among humans, and if that onion were to work a 12 hour shift in a Burger King kitchen on the hottest day in August with no air conditioning, him and I may be in the same range of stink.
To those of you that are still reading, there's no need to worry. I took Bearcub's constructive criticism to heart and greatly improved my trail hygiene. It's a miracle what a baby wipe bath and some baby powder can do. The only bad part is now that I'm stench-free, I can smell how bad every other hiker smells. If only they had a Bearcub of their own to tell them what's what.
- Guy Line