I’m not sure if this topic is controversial or embarrassing or just something people don’t really like to talk about, heck I almost wrote it under a pseudonym just in case. I have a feeling that everyone has a different idea of what to do. Since my blog caters to a lot of new hikers I will give you my thoughts.
Some of the trails are long and while you sweat a lot you are also drinking a lot of water to get your fluids back. A lot of trails that I go to have a pit toilet or some sort of facilities available when you get to the trail head but 4-6 hours of calling upon nature it is only natural for nature to call back.
So when I started hiking I was definitely a hold it fella. I would spend hours hiking and drink most if not all of my 3 liter hydration pack (you need something to wash down all the beef jerky) and would just do my best. I figured if my legs were sore, my feet hurt and I was sun-burnt why not add to the discomfort just a little bit more. Then on one of my hikes the answer came to me like so many answers do in the woods. I was in a clearing and I made eye contact with deer. Then the deer did a little squat thing and took care of its business and didn’t seem to care at all.
So now I knew that it was physical possible for a being to urinate in the woods. But what is appropriate. Well it was a long hike so I googled it. All I found was under restrooms was “leave no trace“. Now I was back to the physics problem. If I can’t leave anything is that why they call it “taking a pee”? Was this entire slang based on a semantic argument aimed at someone trying to beat the system. Now I’m over thinking it. Better phone a friend. Well text, nobody actually talks on the phone anymore. So I text my hiking mentor, Scott at 8 in the morning on a Sunday. And I waited and waited. Now that I thought I might be getting the answer I was hoping for the minutes seemed like hours while I waited for confirmation. Finally, near bursting with anticipation…or a full bladder…I got my answer. “Get far enough off the trail to not be seen, careful not to step on any of foliage, and try not to disturb anything.” Relief at last! Or were these just lies, is he setting me up?
There weren’t many people on the trail this morning but it seemed when I got the nerve to try to find a spot off trail I would see someone. Cursed! Just do it, man. I waddled on in that not quite standing up completely, thighs together walk we all did when were kids. Then my epiphany. I turned around a bend and an older gentleman came from way off trail back onto the trail. I said good morning and he responded with “morning, much better now” and laughed and headed back on trail to finish his hike. Frreeedoooommmm!
My mentor hadn’t lied to me. I made my way off trail and left no trace.
Now I understand this might be easier for men than women so here is a blog with tips for women not written by me! This is also more necessary for some people. Heck when I was 20 I had a bladder like a steel trap. Now that I’m older and my kidneys either work better or worse, not a doctor, I have found comfort in my acceptance in this practice. As an extra bonus, my hikes can go a lot longer now!
While I joke around, it is also important to know that “Leave no trace” dictates that you make sure you are at least 200 feet from any water sources and campsites. Please watch your step and be careful
Now for the next long standing question, does a bear poop in the woods? No. They only seem to go on the trail to remind hikers whose house they are in….but that is another blog for another day.
If you have a suggestion for a hike that you would like me to try, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow me on the below social media platforms. I have also added all the hikes and restaurants to the interactive map that you can find here.