To Pee or Not to Pee

You would think that being out in the middle of the woods that peeing would not be an issue. You can go whenever, wherever, right? Not so. As a female, there’s an art to it, really. Sometimes you’re in an open area and too exposed. Sometimes you’re on a ridgeline. Sometimes you’ve got nothing but brambles and thorns on either side of you.

Such was my experience hiking down into the NOC. Very steep. Not a lot of places to go.

It started at Wesser Bald. The first inkling that I was going to have to find a place to pee soon. It’s too crowded at the top but I’ve got several miles down and I’m sure I’ll find something. So off I go, and let the person I’m hiking with go ahead of me. The hike down is pretty gnarly and, at the top, I’m on the ridgeline with immediate drops on either side. Definitely can’t go up there. So I chug on, still confident that I’ll find a place. I get off the ridgeline but, as I wind down the mountain, I still have a steep drop on my right and, on my left, it goes straight up. Still no place to safely step off trail. I come up to a gap where it appears to flatten a bit. Victory! Or so I think. But, as I get closer, I realize that a mother and son are having lunch there. I momentarily consider asking them to turn around but I’m not quite that desperate yet. So I hike on. Something else will come. It never completely levels off but, eventually, I think it’s level enough to safely step off the trail.

But now there are now chest high brambles and thorns on either side of me. Ugh. I couldn’t get through them and, even if I could, was not going to put my bare bum in those thorns! My hiking pace has quickened. I’m no longer enjoying the walk or stopping to take pictures. I’ve got one thing on my mind. My bladder is going to burst and I have got to find something soon. The brush is so thick and the trail is so steep and it feels never-ending. I’m starting to feel like I won’t find something until I get all the way down. My level of need is reaching ten and I’m still a couple of miles out.

And finally: an opening. A small one. Very small. Too small. I can still only get about 60 feet off trail before I’m faced with more dense brambles and drop-offs and am still fully exposed to anyone on the trail. I last passed people over 30 minutes prior and easily have a comfortable lead on them, so the closeness to the trail will have to do; it’s the best I’ve found. I drop my pack on the side of the trail and make a beeline as far as I can go. I get down low. It’s time.

And then Tree Man comes out of nowhere! I hadn’t seen him since camp that morning. I had no idea he was hiking so close to me. But it’s too late. I’m too desperate. It is what it is. Ever the gentleman, Tree Man keeps his head down and forward.

I hike the last few miles without any discomfort. Tree Man swears he didn’t see me. I don’t know if he’s being a gentleman or serious. He claims he was too “in the zone,” and trying to push through because the trail down was making him angry. Yeah. Tell me about it.

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Comments 2

  • Teri Anderson : Apr 19th

    One word to solve that problem – pStyle!!!

    You can just step to the side of the trail (if no one around), unzip, use it standing up and go!! You don’t have to remove your pack, drop your drawers or find a private place to squat! This has made my hiking of the AZT so much easier, and saves a lot of time!!

  • Ziptie : Apr 21st

    Ziptie’s 2 rules
    1) if you need to go #1, expect company within 5 minutes of the act.
    2) A #2 will shrink that window to 2 minutes or less.
    Never fails.


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