Ah, the joys of canoe camping: the scenery? the fresh air? the warmth of a cracklin’ good campfire? That’s all fine, but for me nothing beats the pleasure of getting good and greasy. Returning to a time before soap. When humans scrubbed with sand – the original exfoliant, and a mighty effective one at that.
Canoe camping has many advantages over other kinds of vacations. It’s cheap, you can carry all sorts of crap (i.e. beer), and you can cool off whenever you want just by leaping overboard. When you go to the trouble of bonding with nature, why wash it off? Camping grows on you – literally. Sure, you have to maintain certain standards. I brush my teeth and check for lice daily. But your skin craves sun, sand, and water, and it hates soap. There’s nothing quite as gloriously organic as growing a film of bacteria over your whole body. Hey, you do it on the inside with yogurt, so what’s the big deal? You wash your hands with sand, you swim every day. After a while your body odor blends with the surroundings. Even the mosquitoes can’t find you.
You want natural? That’s what getting good and greasy is all about. A few days of that and I’m ready to face civilization again. When I get back to town the first thing I want to do is see a movie in an air-conditioned theater. But first, out of respect for the delicate sensibilities of the other patrons, I shower. Begrudgingly.