Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Poopin In The Woods - Day 25 (4/29/2014)

Day 25
A zero in Big Bear

I dedicate this post to my good friend Robert, who said it would be okay to write such a post. 

Since we are zeroing today and not doing anything except for resting and doing chores, I thought I would take this opportunity to write about digging Cat Holes, or pooping in the woods.

It isn't the most wonderful topic to discuss but I thought y'all might like to know how things go down, out here. I will, of course, keep it as clean and respectable as I can. 

I would also like to mention that I have a slight phobia against using public restrooms to go #2 and this trip is quickly getting me over that phobia. 

Okay, onto the topic at hand, pooping in the woods. I will try and break this down as it happens. 

When you are in the woods, one usually waits until it is critical to go to the bathroom. It is such an ordeal that you don't want to have to go more than you have to, so you wait until you can't wait any longer. 

When that time comes you must grab three things before heading out. 

Backpacker's lightweight poop trowel
Deuce of Spades - Newly funded kickstarter Poop Trowel
weighing in at 0.6 oz.
1) You need toilet paper. Some people choose to use rocks, sticks, and leaves but I am not one of those people.
2) You need your poop trowel to dig a cat hole with. Some people use sticks or their trekking pole for this but, again, I am not one of those people. 
3) You need a soiled TP bag. Do not put your soiled TP in the cat hole, even biodegradeable TP. It won't degrade fast enough and some animal will come along and dig it up and allow the wind to spread it all over the wilderness. Pack it in, pack it out. It isn't as bad as you think. 
3.1) Baby wipes. This is optional but if you want that extra clean feeling these will help. Pack these out too. 

Now that you have your supplies,Right Spot and you just know that's it. That is the place I am going to poop. It is like two old friends coming back together after being apart for many years. It is that kinda feeling.
you gotta find a place to go. This seems to be the most interesting part of the process, for me anyway. I find that you do not pick a spot but the spot picks you. I have wandered around the wilderness looking for the right spot, passing many spots that will do. But then you see the

A good spot usually consists of a solid structure next to soft soil. The solid structure can be a tree, a downed log, or a rock. You want something to either hold onto, rest your back against, or to sit between, like the Y section of a downed tree branch. The soft soil is to make digging your cat hole easier. 

Now that you have the spot it is wise to look around to make sure nobody can see you and make sure the trail doesn't loop back around. Once the coast is clear, dig your cat hole. It must be at least 6 inches deep, so that animals are less likely to dig it up. The diameter doesn't really matter but the wider the better especially if your aim is off. 

Now drop your drawers and squat. If you have a rock to lean against or tree trunk to hold onto it makes things much easier and less straining your legs. Remember, you just walked here so your legs are tired. Take a moment to make sure your pants/shorts are out of the way of falling debris. 

Do your business. 

When you are finished it is time to clean things up. Personally, I use heavy duty paper towels that I have previously cut into squares. They are more durable than normal TP so you can use less of it. I think in the Cotton World we wad up our TP to prevent a finger from poking through. With the heavy duty paper towel you don't have to do that. Again, the soiled TP goes into a sealable plastic bag that you pack out with you. It gets dumped at the next physical toilet that you come across. 

Now that you are all clean it is time for the best part, pulling your pants back up and knowing that you are pretty much done with this chore. The only thing left is to fill back up the hole you dug and to place a rock on it. I also add a couple of sticks sticking straight up out of the ground. The rock and sticks let somebody else know what happened here. The rock can also help prevent an animal from digging things up. 

You now make the trek back to your pack with that small sense of embarrassment. You are carrying a trowel and toilet paper so everybody know what you just did. (The bag with the solid contents is usually in my pocket that I discreetly slip into my pack when nobody is looking.) And, if you are luckily there won't be any extra people around that have shown up while you have been gone. That just adds to the embarrassment. 

The final and most crucial step is to apply hand sanitizer to your hands. And you are done. 

That wasn't so bad, was it?