Learning to Poop in the Woods: A how -not- to story.
When I was 9, my family decided that trailer camping was fun, but we could take it up a notch. We did some research, and while trailer camping at Lake of Two Rivers in Algonquin Park my mom signed us up for a one day guided canoe trip, to learn “just enough to be dangerous” about canoeing and portaging.
We went to Canoe Lake, signed in and met our guide. I remember turning around and seeing him and immediately knowing what love was- He was a backcountry God, and for all intents and purposes we'll call him BCG. BCG was as I remember him, funny, and strong, and an expert at backcountry everything. My young adventurer's heart was swollen.
We spent the day canoeing around and learning the ghost story of Tom Thompson, how to J-Stroke and portage, tree identification and you would think, a small talk on pooping in the woods… but oddly enough that didn't happen.
The group stopped to eat.
I'll pause here to help your imagination along- I was not one of those kids that people called “cute”. I was… fat in a way that made people think I was older than I am, and also had 0 sense of what clothing looked good. So for this trip I was in an Algonquin Park bucket hat, one piece bathing suit, and elastic cotton shorts worn probably far too high on my stomach… And a bob, with full bangs, before they were cool, and with hair so thick that it was basically a triangle. I hadn’t grown into my arms yet, or my teeth.
After lunch, I had to go.
Like… GO? I mean a number two.... We were in a group of strangers so I didn’t say anything and just grabbed the toilet paper and wandered off.
I knew that much at least - I have been a Girl Guide my entire life! But there was always a box at camp...
I remember searching for a Thunder Box, but things were getting dire and I couldn’t find one. So… I ducked over a bit of a hill and found a reasonably secluded location. As I mentioned above I wore a one piece bathing suit for this trip so to go to the bathroom I got fully undressed, put all my clothes on a rock, used my shoe to dig a tiny divot in the ground and stood over top of it.
It's Called Fashion.
Think of someone doing a jumping jack. That star like position is how I thought it worked. I was the star of Canoe Lake, buck naked, and starting to go. If you’ve ever tried to poo standing up you’ll know it isn’t easy. It's a bonafide feat. So I was standing there, log half in half out, naked and nine years old in the woods. The story could end here, as a chuckle piece. "Oh whacky Kendra!, what a silly way to learn to poop in the woods"... but I was about to learn another lesson. A lesson in Terror, Embarrassment and Humility.
I heard a crack in the distance, and realized immediately that things were about to get awkward… I have never prayed harder for a random bear attack in my life but before a bear had time to attack BCG appeared, in all his handsome guide glory and there was me, trying and failing to cover all the open parts of myself. Upon seeing him the strangest sound emerged from my mouth. Half squeal, half grunt, but 100% every sound one could possibly make in this situation layered on top of each other.
He looked away very quickly, and said “oh sorry! we.. er. didn’t. uh. …”
Although I think I could hear him trying to muffle his laughter. I was mortified, and trying to hold my composure- I couldn’t breath for fear that the movement would release the damn (OF TEARS!). He was standing with his back to me, most likely in shock. . . I couldn’t look. I just stood there, hands over as many of my bits as possible including a hand over my back end, trying to avoid touching the treasure that still hung in place.
He started walking away, and as he did he quietly called out “It helps if you squat”, before disappearing back into the woods.
And there you have it Strangers... sometimes you learn the hard way.