How to poo in the woods

cabin-835-3.jpgGo a fair distance from the trail, a campsite, or a water source. Dig a hole. I have found the little plastic orange shovel is useless for digging a hole. When the digging is good, my foot, a stick, or a rock will work just as well and when the digging is hard, the shovel is worthless. When the digging is hard, I look for natural holes like uprooted trees, or turn over rocks that have sunk into the earth.

cabin-835-4.jpgFor toilet paper, I use a stick or rock big enough to keep my hands away from any chance of fecal contamination. There is speculation that it isn’t the water that makes hikers sick but there own feces.

For when I feel a need for toilet paper, I carry a few paper towels in a ziplock sandwich bag. When I’m in a situation were a stick won’t do, paper towels work much better than toilet paper, travel better, and can be wetted for a more thorough cleaning.

It is thought of as a good practice to pack out any paper that you use.  Some people have burnt it and caused huge forest fires. (there is a sign on the PCT that says, “this forest fire started by a PCT thru-hiker burning his toilet paper? )

If there is any chance of fecal contamination to my hands, I bring out my wash kit and wash them.

cabin-835-5.jpgIf I have used the hole from an uprooted tree, there is lots of loose soil to bury my poo in. If I have used the hole from a rock, I rake what surface duff and dead leaves I can find over the poo and put the rock back on top of all of it. From reading the The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure, I know that this is not the way that poo composts best. It needs to be kept moist and covered loosely with plant material so that it can get very hot and kill the bad stuff. It is, however, the way things are done on the trail because we don’t want to encounter other peoples poo.

Related posts: Hiker bidet, Peeing in the woods

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Hermit, long distance hiker, primitive cabin dweller, seeker.

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