Poop in the Woods Club

July 9, 2007 at 11:51 pm 13 comments

A quote from Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods:

When guys in camouflage pants and hunting hats sat around in the Four Aces Diner talking about fearsome things done out-of-doors, I would no longer have to feel like such a cupcake.  I wanted a little of that swagger that comes with being able to gaze at a far horizon through eyes of chipped granite and say with a slow, manly sniff, “Yeah, I’ve shit in the woods.”

I can understand that swagger.  During my early hiking and camping outings that was a scenario I tried to avoid with every ounce of my being.  I managed moderate success for some time and then the dreaded day finally arrived where there was no other choice.  Turns out, it wasn’t the horrible experience I expected.  Actually, I believe I would describe it as…. empowering. 

Today, a young lad has joined the ranks of people who’ve pooped in the woods.

If there was an official Poop in the Woods Club, I propose a patch similiar to this rough design.

This afternoon I put myself up for some more blows to my ego and watched Penn and Gwyn.  After supper, I took them on an adventure outside.  We were having a good old time running through a field when all of a sudden a shout from Penn.

“Oohh!  Ohhh!  I’ve got to go to the baaaathroom and I can’t hold it!”

“Oh okay– let’s find a tree,” I said.  No biggie. 

 “Nooooooo….” the boy looked up at me and hushed his voice, “I have to poop.”

I went through due diligence and asked if he could hold it to the car.  From the car, we had a short drive to a toilet.

“Noo,” he clutched his stomach, “I hafta go really, really bad.  I can’t hold it!”

Luckily, we had the woods.  I explained the game plan and the three of us ran to the forest, towards Penn’s sweet relief.  But, we had a weak link in our mix.  Two and a half year old Gwyn is easily distracted and near the forest edge she stopped.

“I Nee Elp” she said.  (“I need help”)

I turned for a moment to see what she was trying to accomplish (she was pointing at some grass).  When I turned back I could see Penn had reached the woods.  Still in motion, his little hands were poised to pull down his pants and he was heading straight for– POISON IVY!!!!!

If my life was a movie, here is where the slow motion kicks in.

“NOOOOOoooooooooooOOOOooooOOOOoooOOOoooooo!” I yelled and all four limbs propelled my body to intercept disaster.

The boy stopped stunned and I reached him in time (Take that, John McClane).  I scouted out locations and found a spot that had briar bushes, but was definitely poison ivy free. 

By that time, Gwyn had caught up with us and Penn quickly pulled down his pants and immediately went to the bathroom (Apologies all, we did not have time to dig a cathole.  I’ll teach him that in less dire circumstances).  Gwyn played with some nearby grass and I had the important job of holding back the thorny bushes.

“Oh, oh!” He exclaimed, “It’s diarrhea.”

I looked down and saw a familiar sight, “Oh no, poop in the woods looks like that,” I said with knowledge and assurance in my tone.

Just then his next effort emerged.

“Oh…uh….” I mumbled.  Once again, the boy knew better than I.

When he was done, we had another issue.  We had no toilet paper.  While still holding briar bushes back with one hand, I grabbed all the nearby leaves I could reach.  When that supply dried up, I needed a recruit.

“Gwynie, can you get brother some leaves?” I asked.  Gwyn didn’t hesitate to help– it was a fun little game to her.  Even when everything was wiped and buried (well… the best we could do), little Gwyn was still fetching leaves.  🙂  For me it was an operation to be closely supervised.  We were, afterall, in established poison ivy territory.  I personally inspected the leaves for quality control. 

Penn was more concerned with quantity, not quality, periodically announcing, “We need more leaves here.”

When it was all over, neither child complained when we headed back to the car.  We stopped by my house for some more conventional cleanup and then it was home to see Grandpa and Mommy.

The last couple of months, Penn has been asking me to take him camping.

“Well Penn,” I told him, “Today you learned a part of camping.”

He seemed quite pleased with that… though he suggested when we do camp, we try Grandpa’s backyard so “we’re close to a potty.”

Sounds good to me!

Entry filed under: A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson, Camping, Gwyn, Hiking, Penn, poo.

Keeping Up with the Joneses Milk

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tgaw  |  July 10, 2007 at 12:00 am

    Just realized I have a good story for my next letter to my cousin in Iraq to keep my streak up.


  • 2. Clint  |  July 10, 2007 at 8:01 am

    hehe.. poop!

    Seriously though… a lot of people wont go camping because of their stupid fear of going to bathroom outside.

    And it’s really not a big deal. I think more shits have been taken i the woods than via plumbing over the course of human history.

  • 3. PassionFish (mythruhike)  |  July 10, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    That is a fantastic story… If you have kids or watch kids then it is bound to happen to us the “outdoorsy” types… My ten year old daughter took to it better than I did at her age.

  • 4. links for 2007-07-10 « Clint’s blog  |  July 10, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    […] CAMPING ANECDOTE: The Poop in the Woods Club From my sister-in-law Vicky’s blog, a story about shitting in the woods while camping. […]

  • 5. geekhiker  |  July 10, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    He he he.. a poop story. As long as you didn’t grab the wrong

  • 6. geekhiker  |  July 10, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    Agh, it cut off my first comment!

    He he he.. a poop story. As long as you didn’t grab the wrong leaves.

    And if you don’t use the logo for the Poop in the Woods Club, can I use it for my avatar? 🙂

  • 7. tgaw  |  July 10, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    @geekhiker – Ha! Knock yourself out!

  • […] Jul 12th, 2007 by undercomplicated Poop in the Woods. […]

  • 9. undercomplicated  |  August 4, 2007 at 6:40 am

    I was just up to North Manitou Island and inside one of the outhouses was the graffiti: “POOP IN THE WOODS CLUB MEMBERSHIP” with spaces for 5 names.
    Three people had taken the time to fill it out. 🙂

  • 10. Clint  |  August 12, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    haha, that’s awesome undercomplicated.

  • 11. Adam Funk  |  February 26, 2008 at 11:01 am

    See also How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art by Kathleen Meyer,
    Ten Speed Press, 1989 (ISBN 0898156270).

  • 12. 3 Year Blogiversary « TGAW  |  March 3, 2009 at 1:04 am

    […] Poop in the Woods Club […]

  • 13. Pee in the Yard Club? « TGAW  |  July 9, 2009 at 10:26 am

    […] few years ago, I discussed a hike where my friend’s son got to join the enviable Poop in the Woods club. Last night Today’s Meredith Vieira was on Conan O’Brien. She talked about camping […]


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