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Delicate Business--or Close Calls of Nature

Finding where to do your business is the back country is always a bit awkward. The rules are clear—in most places, you need to be 100 (some places its 200) feet from water or the trail. And that seems like a good place to start.

But you also need to be out of sight of your camp, and other camps. And you don’t always know where those are. We remember one hike in Peru when one of our fellow hikers admitted that she had run ahead to hide behind a rock to do her business, only to discover, mid-stream, that another group was hiking in from the opposite direction in full view---and vice versa.

(Sorry--this is the only photo you get for this post!)

I once remember climbing up to a spot well away from both camp and water in the Sierra. It was only when I was finished and pulling up my pants that a young woman came hiking around the bend of a trail that I did not realize was so close. She smiled and waved. So did I.

And then there was the trail crew I joined for a day’s recreation at a lake near our camp. One of the crew had left about an hour early Now one of the guys had to leave early, so he packed up and hiked out right away. We wished him well and bon voyage.

The rest of us took our time eating breakfast, and then decided that we would all hike to a lake that was on a little side trail about a mile back up towards the trailhead. We figured a little swimming and cleaning up might feel good.

So there we were chatting away about six or seven of us. We found the cairn that marked the turn-off to this lake, and somehow decided that we would take a break right there. Everybody grabbed a tree or rock and settled in to sip a little water or nibble snack.

One of the women excused herself and went find a nice tree.

She took a quick look around, and noticed a really big log about a hundred feet up the trail to the lake.

It was really big, and she disappeared behind it, and dropped her drawers.

And that’s right when the guy who had to leave early came hiking down the trail from the lake. The rest of us looked up the trail to see him suddenly glance away and start yelling: “I didn’t see anything! I didn’t see anything!”

Of course. He had decided to check out the lake on his way back to the trailhead, and we caught him coming out just as we were going in.

And that’s how a hiker materialized on her out of nowhere.

Like I said, this is a delicate business…

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