TehipiteTom wrote:I have to say, this whole thread (with a few individual exceptions) is so bizarrely alien to me that it might as well have come from another planet. The notion that people as demonstrably hardy as y'all are would turn out to be such delicate flowers that you just couldn't bear the sort of conditions prevalent for 99.99999% of human history--well, in all honesty, I never would have guessed it.
As noted, when winter snow backpacking or desert backpacking we bear being grubby Don't like be grubby, especially at night in my sleeping bag but without a choice out in the desert one deals with it. Much like the desert midday heat. Don't like it but its not going to keep me away.
And the idea that a little grime would motivate anyone to do anything as demonstrably insane as jump in water below 60 degrees--well, if I invented a story that crazy, nobody would believe me. I don't understand (most of) you. I have no idea what goes through your heads. I'm only glad I don't live there myself.
I'm like the bear that can take a few bee stings in order to enjoy that comb of honey. The discomfort of cold water is actually rather low on my list. Worse is having to monkey through a length of big talus carrying my heavy pack. Much worse is say getting out of the Subu, at the bottom of Mineral King Valley, hefting my 70 pound pack on my back and starting up the Sawtooth Pass trail. Or having to spend a night while because of limited tenting locations too close to someone that SNORZZZZZZ all night. Or having to deal with hiking several more miles after the soles of my feet are painfully sore from pounding down a trail like Sawtooth Pass.
In each case there is some honey at the end. One of my goals in the backcountry has always been figuring out how to make the experience more pleasant and fun despite having to pay some usual dues. A few seconds of cold water is small stuff. Feeling clean for hours especially in my silky clean down sleeping bag is much more the pleasure.