I Don’t Like Dirt

For someone who loves to venture into National Parks and loves to go hiking, I hate dirt. I don’t like sand. I don’t like to feel dirty. I don’t like bad smells. One has to wonder how I even survive on multi day camping trips in the summertime.

Here is how I think that I survive:

  • Dry Shampoo – highly recommend for an extended camping trip
    • The first time I ever used dry shampoo was during a stop at Death Valley National Park. I hadn’t showered in two days. I thought that it would be a good idea to try dry shampoo for the first time. Needless to say it did not work out, even after I dunked my head under a water spigot, which was very ill advised, I still had sand imbedded in my scalp four days later.
    • The most recent time I used it, I was in Crater Lake three years after the first attempt, I knew what to do. My hair ended up looking at least halfway presentable and there was no need for a dunk in a sink.
  • Body Wipes – I use a lavender scented type from Amazon
    • These are incredible! My favorite are the kind that are individually packaged because I can just throw one in any pack to use just in case its needed
    • I think I’d prefer something that has a biodegradable package for the environmental impact, but what I’ve seen so far is while the wipes can be biodegradable, it seems the packaging can’t. I usually buy a large pack that I can use at camp and use the individual packages sparingly on the go.
  • Finally – bathroom wipes (also usually ordered from Amazon)
    • These are much like the body wipes, but for a more specific purpose. I think this is self explanatory, so I don’t have much to say about these products, except that I can’t live, hike, or camp without them

The best shower I ever had, that I can vividly remember at least, was at the Grand Canyon National Park. I hadn’t showered in over a week and had been hiking and road-tripping, not taking anything with ease and I certainly didn’t smell very nice, I’m sure. After driving into the park from the East Entrance I made camp and then made my way over to the laundromat and showers at the Mather Campground area.

I put in a load of laundry and waited patiently behind a large group of other campers for a shower to open up. Someone vacated and I jumped into the shower stall, armed with $8.00 in quarters. It was $2.00 for 4 minutes of hot water, I was prepared to savor my 16 minute shower, but I was in for an unexpected surprise. I put in my first $2.00 of quarters and embarked on the shower of a lifetime, the water did not turn off after 4 minutes, after 8 minutes, and then after 25 minutes I had to decide to turn the water off. After almost a week of Joshua Tree and Death Valley sand in my hair I was able to finally feel that my scalp was clean, the grime of the past week was washed away at Mather Campground.

After my shower I even got to help another hiker out when she asked me if there were any “broken” showers. I looked at her with some confusion wondering why anyone would want a broken shower, she gave me a knowing look and said in a conspiratorial whisper, “you know? The ones where you don’t have to reload quarters.” I was able to point her in the right direction so she could enjoy the bliss of an uninterrupted stream of water after a long day of hiking and exploring.

2 thoughts on “I Don’t Like Dirt

  1. Sounds like you’ve had a pretty quick learning curve when it comes to staying clean in the desert! Have you tried any portable shower units? Like the bags or boxes you can suspend?

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    1. I have! It went…terribly. I didn’t have the appropriate rig for the tree or any type of shelter, so it was a bit of a mess, hence the dry shampoo route. I’ve got a new set up I’m bringing on my next trip, so hopefully I can actually take a shower. 🤞 I also end up flying to a lot of places and I don’t always have space to pack the gear I’d need for the portable shower.

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