Few experiences do more to mar the outdoorsy afternoon or the 8 day backpack trek than stepping over a log and discovering your expensive waffle-stompers are filled with the leavings of another hiker. The problem is as old as mankind. At least, it's as old as mankind after he began noticing what was between his toes.
The Bible addressed the problem, probably in the first surviving form, by demanding that people walk away from others with a spear or spade, dig a hole, and cover it. That method works well where the traffic is light. It works less well on heavily traveled forest trails.
Meyer offers 102 pages of suggestions, anecdotes and solutions for novices who want to experience the woods, don't want to create a problem, recognize it's a necessary body function and must be addressed.
I'd recommend it for everyone who plans a trip into the outdoors and isn't already familiar with how to deal with the function in a way that's not objectionable to those who follow. I'd make it required reading for those who go to the areas I'm likely to visit.
Al the Pal
Despite the vulgarisms in the title and splattered throughout the text, there is a load of good information contained in this book. Having been a Boy Scout, I thought I was well prepared for these weighty contingencies. But, I found that the Boy Scout Handbook was deficient when it came to defacation.
Ms. Meyer punctilios not only techniques for maintaining privacy and decorum while relieving oneself, but the environmental consequences of so doing. She vents about fecal-born bacteria and disease and how to minimize contaminating surface and ground water. The precautions that must be taken to avoid disease when drinking backcountry water are discharged here, too.
There are also heaps of anecdotes and funny stories, that will have you rolling at the foibles of the less informed "eliminators." She covers methods for many types of terrain and ecosystems and also spouts information on the delicate subject of off-road "runs."
If you are planning a backcountry trip, guided or not, I'd suggest you "dig in" to this book before departing. Through its guidance you can avoid piles of potential embarressment and, at the same time, be more friendly to the environment. Urine good hands with Kathleen Meyer's book. No ifs, ands, or butts. And, wipe that smirk off your face!!!
Mozella R. Sunshine
I love the humorous, down to earth way this subject is approached. Originally I bought this book because the title and the picture on the cover made me chuckle. I've had it in my possession for at least five years. Then a little over a week ago, I decided to read it. To my surprise, I learned that this is a serious book with important information to help a would be hiker stay healthy and leave the environment no worse for the wear. Wish I'd had this book years ago before I started trekking around in the wilds. I found this book fast paced and full of vital information. Though I'm a grandma, this book made me feel like I was receiving counsel from an older wiser grandma imparting to me the secrets of how to take care of the intimate processes of life when venturing away from the accoutrements of running water and the other trappings of civilization. I recommend this book to all who like hiking, camping and otherwise messing around in the great outdoors.
Ok, it's not a masterpiece of English literature. What is there to analyze here? This is like arguing the merits of Benny Hill. For 8 bucks, buy this book. It has a few practical tips about where and how to deficate in the woods (hence the title). Great. The introduction is a tears-in-your-eyes funny anecdote on that topic that is probably worth the price. Then, you have a conversation piece for your bookshelf that will be appreciated by almost everyone. And, the author goes to some length to argue that this title is NOT vulgar (the book includes a useful lexicon for the word that is also worth the price). And, you'll have something to think about the next time you take a hurried necessary behind a tree or abandon a diaper in the Wal-Mart parking lot! Enough analysis already.
This is one book that always manages to turn up at Scouting Events, Wood Badge Courses, etc. Once you get past the laughts & shock value of the title, the reader will find some common sense tips on being environmentally friendly in the outdoors.
At Camporees we always put this book in our latrine as many of our scouts like to read while doing their "duty." (Hey, it promotes Reading Merit Badge!).
My favorite use of this book is to recognize new District Executives and other Scouting Professionals by presenting this book to them at various Scouting events, usually right after they first land a job in our district (seems like we are getting new D.E.'s all the time) or saying thanks to Scouters in our district.
Anyone who loves this book will also like "Up Shit Creek" also produced by ICS and available from Amazon.
Ed Henderson Associate Editor - SCOUTER Magazine