About the AuthorTara “Rosie” Reynolds and her non-woodsy husband of 25 years have 5 children who love to laugh, and one enormous dog. Her family supports her hiking addiction more than they really should. Her trail name comes from her cheeks, which become floridly, alarmingly red during exercise. Not to worry, it is a family trait. A veteran of the Camino in Spain, you will find her winding her way along the Appalachian Trail whenever she can get away this year. A fun fact about Rosie: she has a butt nose that twerks when she talks.

Getting Dirty When You’re Really Filthy

Ahhh, hiking trips! Is there any other exercise that causes so many desire-inducing endorphins to course through our bodies, while providing so few opportunities to vent our hiker hunger? From mutual stink and filth to other hikers seemingly poking around every bend, there seem to be multiple road blocks to getting it on in the, ermm, bush. Never fear! I am here with the, uhh, low down and logistics for you. 

“We don’t do that here.”
So, first off let’s get some “don’ts” out of the way. Mounting Kilamanjaro in shelters where others are sleeping is the first big no no. I don’t care if everyone else is snoring so loudly you are certain they would never hear your dueling banjos. Restrain yourselves! The same goes for hang gliding on or in view of any busy, heavily trafficked trails like the AT. Let’s not traumatize others while lassoing your cowboy. There is no need for our happy exuberance to ruin someone else’s day. With some exceptions (I’m looking at you, deserted portions of the PCT and CDT), bushwhacking while bushwhacking should be kept to tents, off trail meadows, byway rocky promontories, and trail town motels.
Got that? Alright! On to other flip-flop obstacles and how to overcome them.
Obstacle Number One: How do we make our own trail magic when there is no comfortable place for our hiker feed?
The struggle is real. While a secluded glade may seem in theory to be the perfect place to explore each other’s grassy knolls, in practice it is fairly bursting with things that can really hit you below the belt. There are ticks, thistles, and poison ivy just to name a few. Here are some ideas to tame those traumas. 
1. Put your tent’s rain fly down first, or if day hiking, a sturdy oversized rain poncho. We like Frogg Toggs because the inside has a cloth feel.
2. Consider avoiding plunging into your mate’s hiker box during twilight or right after the rain, when mosquitoes are most active. Please note: hot Congress in a cool rainfall should, however, be a bucket list item for every intrepid gal.
3. Is a large isolated stone formation more to your sartorial desire? I recommend slapping down a sturdy non inflatable sleeping pad like Thermarest, before scaling your own stiff peaks. Exercise caution with inflatable pads! Vigorous motions can pop even the best ones, and inflatables also have weight limits that you plus your muscle man may exceed.
4. Looking to go BASE jumping while in your tent? Please remember, especially in those awesome ultralight tents, that your forms, movements, and above all sounds will come through loud and clear to everyone in the vicinity. Tent away from busy shelters and pretend your toddler is in the next room and you should be fine.
5. Hubs and I love our Enlightened Equipment Accomplice quilt. It has straps that couple our sleeping pads beside each other, and is perfect for snuggling together on cold mountain nights.  It is also roomy enough that we can sleep further apart when it is warm.
Obstacle Number Two: how do I Hanky Panky when everything is vilely Stanky?
This problem isn’t much of an issue on day hikes or even overnight trips. But exploring each other’s back country can get nasty pretty quickly on extended hiking trips. Many women are quite sensitive to ‘earthy’ bodily smells in our normally squeaky clean modern age. While our great grandmothers may have loved peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, and peas porridge in the pot nine days old, many of us can’t stand the smell of, errr, pea soup at all. I’ll never forget the day I picked up Hubs’ used exercise underwear from the floor and, in a rash moment of insanity, smelled it to see if it was clean. Apparently it had been a cardio day. It was touch and go that I might pass out for a moment, and I couldn’t eat for three days. (Speaking of which, this really should be explored as a diet technique- but I digress.) To make matters worse there are some valid health concerns that accompany all that dirt.
Don’t despair! Here are some things you can do that will help.
1. Consider declaring a temporary recess in oral arguments until you get back to trail towns. It’s time for you and your partner to bone up on your jazz hands talents, girls! In addition to not wanting our noses quite that close to, umm, stagnant ponds, there is another consideration. Nasty illnesses like Norovirus are spread fecal-orally. Enough said on that horrifying prospect!
2. Keep your lady bits happy in less than ideal circumstances with probiotics. Florastar and other probiotics come in pill forms that are easy to take into the field. There are also urinary tract supplements that support bladder health. It is crucial to stay very well hydrated. Your goal is pale yellow pee. Never ever forget to pee after poking the bear. If you are unable to void right away, chug water until you can. Drinking a half liter of water before hand will help.
3. Say hello to Lumé, the new best friend of, umm, aqua blazing. I’m not being paid in any way to say it, but this stuff is amazing. It uses natural bacteria-static ingredients to keep odor causing germs at bay. If applied religiously every day, it really works. Hubs and I share a couples’ sleeping bag, and by day four out on the trail we were completely shocked by our mutual lack of barnyard smells. We haven’t tested it beyond four days, but it is a miracle it sustained us in a relatively fresh state that long.
4. Horny hikers, meet toilet paper tablets. These happy little inventions allow you to carry wet wipes for whenever the need arises. Weighing almost nothing and biodegradable, they are the perfect solution for the need for quick wipe downs. I also use them for on trail number twos.
5. Try to change or wash your undies at least every other day. I love my anti-odor Ex Officio bikini bottoms. Other women wear wool or silk bottoms, both of which have anti microbial properties.
6. Keep a dry set of undies in a stuff sack to wear at night. Especially on wet trails like the AT it is important to really dry out your nethers each day.
7. Highly encourage your partner to practice the above hygiene as well. I told hubs, “no bouncing my box unless your mail carrier is clean!” That did the trick immediately. 
Obstacle Number Three: Angst
Relax and have fun. Remember that people have been handling, ummm, dirty trekking poles for thousands of years. Hiking as a couple can be a wonderful bonding experience, (please see my next article: How to Grow Closer as a Hiking Couple – Instead of Killing Each Other) and getting wild in the blue yonder can be a beautiful part of that.
PLEASE NOTE: This article assumes you are treating yourself and others with safety and loving respect. Remember, we go into nature to become our best selves-something that is hardly conducive to drive by shootings that leave casualties in their wake. Rock on my lovely ladies!