Backpacker

DITCH THE PANTS

on the Pacific Crest Trail in my underwear. From the start at Inyokern, California (PCT mile 702), I’d endured a gnarly 6-by-4-inch hip rash from my pants’ waistband, plus the constant slipping and readjusting as my weight fluctuated, and the persistent cling of fabric to my sweaty legs. I reached my breaking point on the last day: I cast my pants aside and walked the final 15 miles without them. Sure, I got some weird looks, but for the first time in two months, I felt unburdened. My friend, who thru-hiked the whole PCT in a dress, just laughed—in that smug way that

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