I’ve had this pair for ten, maybe twelve years now. Of course, I only wear ‘em when I’m out in the woods like this. But I tell you, Charlie, for hiking and climbing, nothing beats this high-performance, athletic underwear. It doesn’t chafe, the crotch never rides up, and the waistband never rolls over. When I first bought ‘em, I thought the price was outrageous. But they’ve been worth it.

“The laborer is worthy of his hire. First Timothy, Chapter 5, Verse 18.”

And no more so than last August, when I did that four-day hike out of Keene Valley. Eight of the 46 high peaks all on one trip. I knew it was going to be was rugged, so I packed as light as I could. No tent. No stove. Cold rations. Not even a change of clothes. Just what I was wearing, rain gear, and a windbreaker. Wore this one pair of underwear the whole time.

“There is such a thing as too much time together.”

Toss another piece of wood on the fire, will you Charlie?

I got lucky in Keene Valley, and was able to park at the Garden. I hiked in past Johns Brook Loj and camped at the Bushnell Falls lean-to the first night. I got an early start next morning, and made the top of Marcy by nine. For a change, the summit steward and I were the only folks there. Then I back-tracked and picked up the trail to Haystack. Tough going, but the views from the summit were incredible. Marcy itself, the drop into Panther Gorge, the other high peaks… spectacular.

“I don’t want to talk about what I was seeing.”

I went back down Haystack to the Range Trail, heading for Basin. I stopped at the clearing where the Sno Bird lean-to used to be. I know you’re not supposed to camp there ‘cause it’s above 3500 feet, but I was whipped, Charlie, and I knew the next day was going to be hard.

It was.

Basin, Saddleback, Gothics. Every one seemed like a thousand foot climb, then a thousand feet down, and back up another thousand. I sweated like a pig…

“Believe me, I know.”

…but this fabric just wicks away moisture.

“Away from YOU maybe. Did you ever stop to think where that moisture goes?”

On the descents, some of the bare rock was so steep I couldn’t walk. Had to sit down and do the old Adirondack butt slide.

“Up close and personal, gneiss is not nice.”

I drank as much water as I could, to keep hydrated. And here’s another good thing about this underwear: when you have to answer nature’s call, it’s real easy to “get out and back in.”

“I experienced more dribbling than a basketball team.”

I hiked on. Up and over Armstrong, then both Wolf Jaws. Camped at a lean-to about a mile from the Loj, and hiked back to my car at the Garden next morning. It was quite a trip, Charlie, quite a trip. And maybe the last one for these old faithfuls. They’ve served me well these many years, but I think it’s about time for them to retire.

“It is a far, far better thing you’ll do than you have ever done; it is a far, far better rest…”

A little more wood on the fire, Charlie, and a little more whiskey in our cups.

Here’s a toast to old friends.

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