Here at Cranky Fitness we are big fans of hiking, at least when we're not feeling petrified of lions, tigers, and bears.
Hiking is fun! Hiking is healthy, both physically and psychologically.
You can see wildflowers and redwood trees and pristine lakes and craggy mountains! You can see streams and birds and rabbits and frogs and coyotes!
But one thing you rarely see much of out in the wilderness?
That's right: Toilets.
You know how earlier we ran a post complaining about various aspects of public restrooms? (This being such a high-class blog). Well, depending on where you go hiking, there often aren't any to complain about.
Some people have capacious bladders and for them this is not a big deal.
Other people are male and for them it is not a big deal either (at least most of the time).
Still other people are small-bladdered females and even for lots of them it is no big deal. The gals who don't fret about it inevitably seem to find a convenient spot behind a rock or a bush or whatever and take advantage of their natural surroundings. They're back on the trail in a couple of quick minutes, feeling not only relieved but downright perky.
I am not one of those easy-going, no-fret-peeing sort of gals.
I hate going "off-road." Yet I do enough hiking that the "I'll just hold it 'til we get back" approach is not always practical.
Here are my tips for those who are not "naturals" but do like to go hiking enough to find yourself in distress.
How To Pee in The Wilderness if You Are Shy:
Before the Hike:
1. Be conscious of fluid consumption. Glass or two of water? Good idea--you need to stay hydrated! A triple latte followed by a 64 ounce Diet Pepsi? Not quite so good an idea.
2. Remember to pack Kleenex. (Those of us with allergies already have wads of used tissue in every pocket, but those of you don't have to blow your nose every ten minutes throughout the day may need to think ahead).
During the Hike:
3. Note the First Signs. Anywhere from 3 minutes to an hour or two into the hike, you may notice subtle signs of bladder accumulation. Sure, you don't have to go yet, but you realize maybe you could.
4. Start Hunting for a Place Immediately. This is important, because ideal peeing spots tend to occur only when you don't actually need them. Waiting until you're desperate will virtually guarantee a lack of opportunity. If you want to magically turn a jungle full of humongous trees and thick brush into a sparse flat desert, just try looking for a place to pee in private.
5. Consider and Reject the First 5 or 6 or 40 Places You Find. Reasons for rejection can include: too far from the trail, too close to the trail, too steep, too slippery, too muddy, proximity to poison oak or poison ivy, not hidden enough, not hidden enough, not hidden enough, not hidden enough, not hidden enough.
(Note: the ideal place is so obscured from view that an entire squadron of Boy Scouts could pass within 6 inches of your little spot and not even notice. )
6. Keep in Mind Trails Have Two Directions. Have you ever done this? You bushwhack a few hundred yards through dense forest and finally find that perfect spot only to start to crouch down and realize that the trail has wound around and you're completely visible to people coming the other way?
7. Finally, Pick a Place and Hunker Down! Either because you've (a) found the perfect spot or (b) reached a state of desperation that makes any sort of cover acceptable.
8. Post a Lookout, if you have a companion. Make sure they are willing to throw themselves bodily across the path of approaching hikers if necessary to keep said hikers from viewing you in your Most Private Moment.
9. Remove the Kleenex from your Pocket BEFORE Squatting. Otherwise, you may have to stand up again, in a state of undress, in order to extricate it. And you will want to take care of business as speedily as possible, because "assuming the position" will guarantee either approaching hikers, or at least noises that will convince you that the aforementioned squadron of Boy Scouts is well within range.
10. Make Sure your Shoes are Not Positioned Downhill from the Rest of your Body. Do we need to explain why this is true? No, we do not. You are all aware of the laws of gravity.
11. Attempt to Commence Peeing.
12. Relax! Note that often urination will not commence if you are stressed about it. Try to forget that you are in a peeing outside in broad daylight and that people could come walking into view at any moment and that seconds count.
13. Repeat Steps 11-12 for as Long as Necessary.
14. Hooray, Successful State of Bladder Emptiness achieved!
15. Realize you Have to Stand up Again with your pants around your knees until you can wrestle them back on properly. Was the rock you are hiding behind always this short? Why was dropping down so much easier than standing up?
16. Put used Kleenex in your Pocket, since leaving it on the ground seems awfully eco-unfriendly. Important: note which pocket is the "bad Kleenex" pocket. Forgetting and then later recalling after you've blown your nose on it is not a pleasant experience.
17. Return to Trail, Smug and Relieved and Happy. You are a True Outdoorswoman Now!
(Note: There are actually products designed to aid in this process. However, I've never tried one because (a) I'd have to think ahead and order one, and (b) for some reason they scare me).
Does anyone else struggle with this particular Off Road Activity?