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We are now in Erwin, TN, somewhere around 350 miles into our hike. April 10th was our one-month anniversary and yesterday was Lightning’s birthday, so we splurged on a Holiday Inn Express reservation in town. It is now 8:30 am the next morning, and I just finished round one of the glorious continental breakfast including bacon and orange juice. Yum!

Five of us shared the room last night: the three of us, Yianni, and Prophet. Our smell is pretty unbelievable. When you open the door, a thick wall of must, sweat, and dirt hits you in the face. We know we smell and we try to stay clean. Honestly, though, perpetual stink is a thru-hiker fact. After my 20 minute scrubbing in the shower, I still smelled. I do not know where it was coming from but it was there! I carried a stick of deodorent the first week, but dropped it as soon as I could. There is nothing strong enough to prevent what we deal with.

Laundry is always fun. I have one set of hiking clothes, one set of sleeping clothes, an extra pair of socks, a down jacket, and my rain pants and jacket. When it’s laundry time, that means it’s rain clothing time – no matter the heat or need to walk through town. At first, I did not mind. However, after one month of continual wear with little washing, even my plastic-y rain jacket is taking on an unpleasant funk. There is no escaping it.

Plus, I am one month in. I have four months left, and it will only get warmer. If you run into me, make sure to stand clear!

Brandon “Monkey” Imp is now off the trail (and probably much less stankier) following a successful 2010 thru-hike with his sister Kate “Ringleader” Imp and good buddy Emily “Lightning” Ginger. Together the members of the “Traveling Circus” captured the peaks and valleys of trail life in a documentary called Beauty Beneath the Dirt. You can check out the film ( as well as their awesome blog) at www.beautybeneaththedirt.com/ .

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