Thursday, October 25, 2018

How To Poop In The Woods

One thing that has often amused me about the start of a planting season is that I sometimes get questions from [very embarrassed] first-year tree planters about the rules for "using the washroom" when there is no washroom.  After I tell them that there are no real rules, other than "bury your mess afterward," some are brave enough to ask for advice on the best way to go through the motions.  So for those of you who have never gone on a long camping trip, and are looking forward to (or are terrified of) your first poop in the woods, I've decided to write this post.  Be forewarned, this post has demonstration photos, therefore you may want to be careful if you're reading this at work ...

If you'd prefer to read a different post on a completely different website that uses graphics instead of photos, here's one option:

Now to be honest, what I'm about to teach you is a very abridged version of defecation methodology when compared to a detailed analysis written by Kathleen Meyer: buy link:

If this blog post whets your appetite for further research, head to Amazon and order a copy of Kathleen's book.

In the meantime, let's look at some of the most popular and time-tested poses.  Since a picture paints a thousand words, I've put together some demonstration photos.

The Squat

This pose is great when you don't have any props nearby (such as tree trucks or slash).  While all of these pooping positions are unisex, I believe that this position is slightly more suited for women, since they generally have stronger upper legs.  I suspect that your body structure also matters; I find that I'm constantly on the verge of tipping over backwards in this position, which would unquestionably be a disaster.  I believe that you can stretch your arms straight out in front of you while in this position, in order to steady your center of balance.

Leaning Against a Wall

We don't really have walls out in the bush, but we have lots of sturdy tree trucks.  Make sure you pick a trembling aspen, or a similar species with smooth bark and no protruding lower branches.  This position requires no ongoing muscular effort, as it relies on gravity, and can be held comfortably for long periods.  I find that this position is good during heavy rain.  After all, if you've gotta go, you've gotta go.

Living On the Edge

This is my favorite position.  If you can find something smooth to sit against, it's very comfortable.  Any piece of slash will do if the top is at least a foot above ground level, although 2-3 feet is obviously preferable.  Again, looking for a trembling aspen (or a very old dried fallen tree which has lost all of its bark) is best to ensure you don't imprint bark dimples into your behind.  Key technique:  Make sure you're sitting quite far forward!

Hanging Out

When the bark of an upright tree is rough, you may prefer this position rather than leaning backwards against the trunk.  This position is best held with two hands at the same time, although it's quite possible to manage with just one hand.  This position, like the squat, has the advantage of giving your muscles a bit of a workout while you're doing your thing.  If you alternate between this and squatting, you'll be able to work out both your arms and upper legs on a regular basis.  Mind you, if you're a tree planter, you probably don't need to worry about working out.

The Danger Zone

This is not a position that I'd recommend, unless you're a driver and you have your own truck.  I think you'll find that if you start doing this with the crew truck, you'll quickly become a social outcast.  Nobody likes to walk around to the back of the truck to throw their gear in at the end of the day, and find a sudden surprise waiting for them.  Also, as mentioned earlier, you should always bury your mess after you do your thing.  Roads are generally fairly hard-packed, so it's much more difficult to dig up a bit of dirt to bury your mess than when you relieve yourself out on the block.  The value of this option is simply to remind you that you can be creative with finding a useful prop.

Well, there you have it.  I'm sure there are more positions that I've overlooked (I haven't read Kathleen's book in over a decade), but I think this portfolio of poo poses should be plenty to get you started.

Good luck with your tree planting, or with whatever it is that made you decide to learn how to poop in the woods!

Also, if you're wondering what's driving all the traffic to this post, it's because I've linked to it from my book about tree planting training, called "Step By Step, A Tree Planter's Handbook."

Here's a link with more info:

(and from that page, you can find a link to allow you to download the book for free)

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