I’m pretty good at pooping. I also like to stay hydrated. Between the two, I often find myself having to use the “outdoor facilities” while climbing, hiking, and camping.
Now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the proper method for defecating in the wilderness: Walk 200+ feet from any trails, campsites, crags, notable boulders, water sources, and your partner to spare him/her awkward pooping silence; dig a hole 6+ inches deep; poop in said hole; fill hole in with dirt (NOT TP/napkins/wet wipes); pull up trousers; sanitize hands; and then walk back to resume your previous activity. But how often do you really abide by those rules? I cannot say I’m always the best when it comes to discreetly peeing in the woods–I have occasionally
accidentally mooned partners and unlucky passersby in my haste to get back to climbing–but I do try my best to defecate with respect for nature and other humans (and their dogs). I have, however, learned the hard way that not everyone is quite so thoughtful:
The Hard Way: Last fall I was climbing at Rumney when the inevitable happened: I had to pee. I was just far enough away from the parking lot bathrooms to make utilizing the woods my speediest option, so, since most of the leaves had already fallen, I decided to hike a ways down a less-traveled trail to avoid accidentally showing off my scrawny behind to the few brave souls still sport climbing in late November. I trudged through a solid 6 inches of leaves, did my business (for the record: just “number 1”), and slid back on the fallen foliage to my partner.
Back at the Kennel Wall, I immediately began tugging on my harness, only to discover that a gooey, brown substance was coating my sneakers: Poop. I was already grumpy about how long it had taken me to navigate the slippery trail–I’d even fallen on the way back–but discovering that I’d stepped in a large mound of gelatinous excrement made me a very unhappy camper. I was even less happy to discover that this was no puppy mishap (though please, please, PLEASE clean up after your dog(s)), but clearly human feces. It reeked, covered 30 percent of my shoes, and was horrifyingly sticky. It also should have never been hiding in the leaves on a trail in the first place. For one thing, Rumney has bathrooms open year-round in the large parking lot and a Dave’s porta potty in the small lot during prime climbing season. For another, most, if not all, of the rules of pooping in the woods mentioned above were broken.
So, this is my PSA to ask you to please, please, PLEASE, think before you poop. Many crags have access issues, and you don’t want to be know as one of those climbers who helped get an area shut down because they pooped 7 feet from the cliff and covered it up with a heap of TP and some leaves for the next person who strolled by to step in. Also, think about the “golden rule” you learned in kindergarten: Defecate in the way that you wish others would defecate (or something along those lines…). If you don’t want to step in poo or have to clean human feces off your dog or your gear, then please don’t leave a smelly surprise somewhere that would ruin someone else’s day.