Olfactory Hiking

Everyone has their own unique scent; sometimes we try to change our scent to something we can actually smell (as we can’t very well smell our natural scent) or we try to change it to become more attractive. My favorite smell is clean laundry or Cinnamon, what those two scents remind me of is Saturday mornings, our traditional household laundry day, and Christmas. The olfactory sense is one of the greatest triggers to memory and it’s clear why…there are so many distinct smells that we can easily ascribe them to categories and names. 

One thing I’ve noticed on my hikes, but never really mentioned because it’s so odd, is how people smell as they pass me on the trails. You would think that they would smell like sweaty outsideness (because trust me, with a temp of 95 and a heat index at 102—everyone is sweating), but they don’t!

Perhaps this could be attributed to the fact that much of nature smells like outside, so the stinky smelliness fades into the background. What you are left with is the scent of a robust cologne on elderly men, way too sweet smelling old ladies, or the young college kids who have smells that are far too strong no matter what they smell like. The mom-types tend to smell of freshly laundered clothes …this one always kind of blows my mind. How can someone smell so clean in the middle of a forest in a very hot Tennessee summer?

I kind of love this. 

The fact that you can smell what could only be summed up as ‘real life’ on a passing someone. It surprises me that I like this so much, I thought I might be brought down by the reminders of daily life on my nature time. However, I think I like it because it subliminally lets me know that you CAN live a normal, perfumed life and STILL escape in the woods. 

You can look and listen to many things in the woods, but it’s honestly hard to smell things, with the exception of a strong sweet flower.

I also love this. 

In our daily lives we are so bombarded with sensory overload, olfactory included. Sometimes it’s nice to at least let one sense take a calming break and smell things one at a time. 

I’m not going to lie, while I thought of this on my hike today I felt like that skunk on Bambi. 🙂

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