What Is That Smell?

Those stinky shoes even make the dog cringe!

In the many pictures I have of happy friends after a race, hike or bike ride, you see the smiles, mud, and tired happy faces, but what you can’t see is the smell.  I’m sure it’s there, but fortunately, it’s not part of the lasting memory, or is it?

It’s difficult and probably impossible to reach any level of fitness or see the view from the top of a mountain without breaking a sweat. For most of us, working up a sweat can be satisfying and indicative that we pushed ourselves to a certain level of discomfort, thus making progress on our goals. However, it’s the accompanying odor that seems to seep out of pores, cling to clothes, and permanently attach to socks and shoes, that is not so pleasant. 

If you get outdoors at all then you have undoubtedly produced some level of body odor at one time or another, but not all aromas are equal.  Rather there is a wide spectrum of intensities that will determine if you can cover it with a swipe of deodorant and still hit the brewery or grocery store or if you are at the level to actually cause looks of disgust by those you pass. Not recommended for first impressions, but possibly acceptable for a post-activity beer on a patio or campsite (outside being the key location) with friends in a similar state.

Dead snakes stink! Please do not expect a ride home if you choose to hold dead snakes.

Research shows that odors are especially effective as reminders of past experiences, more so than cues from other senses, such as sights or sounds. Most of my adventure memories related to awful smells are from things like relay races with teammates who brought only one set of running clothes, at camp sites after several days on the trail, from dead animals someone decided to pick up, or during adventure travel with limited access to running water.

These experiences might initiate your gag reflex, but experiences are often more satisfying than possessions, and the good news – it won’t show up in your pictures!  So don’t let a little flavorful funk from your friends or yourself deter you, it might even make for longer lasting memories.