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LYNDALOVES2HIKE's Photo LYNDALOVES2HIKE Posts: 33,955
2/1/13 12:33 A

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I've spent a ton of time hiking in the desert and/or desert mountains - it seems like there are always a lot of little dips and places to go - behind a rock or a rise, etc - unless it's right on top of a trail where people are walking, nobody can see what you're doing from a distance and even a little cactus or mesquite will provide coverage.

I know someone who carries a cut-off piece of sheet to use as a shield, although that always seemed silly to me - but if you really need a high degree of privacy, that would do it. I've hiked in mixed groups in the desert and everyone is usually quite respectful of each other's privacy, turning their backs or taking a 'split break' with all the men hiking forward while the women go, for instance. Another option, I guess, would be to wear adult diapers if that would make you feel more secure just in case there wasn't a place to go - not sure how comfortable that would be though. I think I'd do better with the female urinal device myself. At this point, I've never tried either, haha!

Interesting discussion!!

Lynda in Orange County, So Calif

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God Grant me Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to Change the things I can and Wisdom to Know the difference!

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. -- John Wooden

"Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit."


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DESERTJULZ's Photo DESERTJULZ SparkPoints: (75,657)
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1/30/13 10:48 P

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Well, very interesting info. Now, I do have to have a bit of privacy. In the woods, this isn't much of a problem, however what about desert hills? Here in Phoenix AZ, we are home of the 2nd largest city park in the world and it happens to be a mountain/mountain range. It's called South Mountain Park. There are miles and miles and miles of trails. However, it is a desert mountain. There's not a heck of a lot of growth to hide behind and if you're hiding behind something on one side, the chances are that someone on a hilltop on the other side could catch a glimpse...

To see what I mean about the desert environs, you could see the photos in this blog:
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What do you do in that type situation? (I have been keeping my desert mountain hikes to the short side!)

Julia
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KENDRACARROLL's Photo KENDRACARROLL Posts: 2,185
1/28/13 12:20 A

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Okay, I'm going to expand on this question ---
"Going while hiking in the pouring rain."
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All fun and games, ladies :)

Edited by: KENDRACARROLL at: 1/28/2013 (00:20)
When you see a person on a mountain top, just remember they did not fall there!







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ANDYLIN90's Photo ANDYLIN90 SparkPoints: (119,152)
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1/28/13 12:00 A

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Great tips from previous posters. You may also be interested to know REI (the store with everything) has a female urinal. It's basically an elongated plastic bowl with a tube attached. Place the bowl in the crotch of your panties with your legs spread slightly apart. Pull just the front of your panties and hiking shorts down enough to let the short tube attached to the bowl hang over the waistbands of your clothes. Urinate into the bowl, urine comes out the tube. It works pretty well but I only use it when I'm hiking well traveled trails because it does provide a little more privacy. If I'm alone on the trail and it's not likely to meet anyone, bushes are just fine.

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MOTIVATED@LAST's Photo MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 14,042
1/22/13 11:02 P

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One thing I would add to Lynda's 'potty pack' is a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

This is both more effective and less messy than carrying soap, and also better for the environment (soap doesn't find its way into streams). I keep it in my potty pack so that I have no excuse not to use it immediately afterwards.

I also find a compressed walking stick great as a third point of balance while squating.

Deliberately going short on water to avoid having to pee is not a good idea. In fact, looking at the color of your pee is probably the best way of checking whether you are drinking enough. It should be distinctly colored - too dark and you are not drinking enough, pale or almost clear and you are drinking too much. Of course, multivitamins can play havoc with this - 'fluorescent' doesn't appear on this scale.

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The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.


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SUSUSUZZZIE's Photo SUSUSUZZZIE SparkPoints: (136,616)
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1/22/13 10:56 P

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You all are the best!

Thank you for all the great tips! Now I can get on to planning some longer hikes! (And will actually hike in a few weeks after recovery from upcoming foot surger)

Suzie


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LYNDALOVES2HIKE's Photo LYNDALOVES2HIKE Posts: 33,955
1/22/13 6:21 P

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This is actually a very VERY common concern among female hikers, esp when they first start out. We're usually raised to be soooo modest - I've read that a significant number of women have trouble using a public restroom if there are others inside because they don't want anyone to hear them tinkle. But it doesn't need to be very complicated and you've already gotten some good tips - I'm going to add a couple more.

I have a 'potty pack' that consists of a zip-lock bag, some TP, a couple of doggie poop bags and hand wipes, all placed inside another zip-lock....When the time comes to 'go,' find a spot that isn't too public - in some cases, this just means going around a bend but in other cases it means stepping off the trail. If you're going off the trail, watch where you're going - depending on WHERE you are, various 'dangers' might include ticks, snakes, poison oak or other irritating plants and one time I startled a small herd of deer as I went around a large fallen log to potty. Ooops!

Anyway, the process for liquid potty is to go, wipe, put the used TP inside one of the zip-locks and after you use the hand-wipe, put it in there, too, then put all of it in your pack to toss when you're back in civilization. PLEASE PLEASE don't leave the TP there for the next person [or wildlife] to encounter! [a pet peeve of mine!!] If the potty is solid, then go, wipe, get one of the doggie poop bags out to pick up all of it [yes, really!!], tie the bag tightly, put it inside the zip-lock and take it out to the trash. It's not really as gross as it sounds at first and it's a lot kinder to the environment than to leave it there, even if it's buried, because it changes the composition of the earth and affects the animals, too. To be sure, one person in the middle of a gigantic wilderness isn't going to have a huge impact but these days, most trails are traveled pretty regularly and some [like the trail to Mount Whitney, just to name one] are traveled so much that the human waste started to become a MAJOR problem - I have to say that I've been on plenty of other backcountry trails where human waste had made enough of an impact to be much more disgusting than putting it in a bag and taking it out when I go!!

As for the ticks, be careful you don't go in tall grass or bushes - they're hard to see and they love nice warm skin underneath clothing. As for snakes, just look before you squat and be careful where you step - ditto for poison oak and other plants that could cause a problem. Look up the are where you're going to hike and find out what to look for - it's going to be different in each area! A lot of people have chosen poison oak bushes as a good place to potty because they're thick, only to discover a few days later that it wasn't such a great choice after all.

On that note, if you do get poison oak, wash the area with a strong soap and cold water - I like Fels Naptha, which is a laundry soap in bar form, similar to bath soap. The ingredients in it will counteract the oil in poison oak, poison ivy, etc. If you get a tick, have someone help you if you can't reach it and use a pair of tweezers to carefully remove it, being careful to slip the tweezers around the head, not the body. My husband always worries about disease but our doctor finally convinced him the risk is very small.

I hope all this information helps you feel more comfortable 'going in the woods' - and helps you feel better about hydrating, too! There are a lot of dangers that can occur from not getting enough water, including slowing down your metabolism - and who needs that??? The blood thickens and becomes harder to push through the blood vessels, heart, etc, making the whole body work harder - other organs also have to work harder - so the entire body just slows down and gets more tired. Drinking enough water will help you be a better, faster hiker and a much healthier person. If you want a specific instance of the danger, my friend led a hike where a woman didn't drink OR eat because she didn't want to have to potty and she wanted to lose weight. She ended up fainting and had a major medical emergency, needed a helicopter rescue out of the mountains and got seriously ill because her electrolytes got messed up and several body functions were shutting down. She ended up in the hospital for the night - all from one hike! We need more fluid in higher elevation, not less, and my guess is that this woman was probably chronically dehydrated and undernourished. But it's stuck in my mind for many years and shows that one of the biggest dangers out there is not bears or mountain lions or snakes but DEHYDRATION!

Hope all of this helps - and hope you have a fantastic time out there on those trails!!!

Lynda in Orange County, So Calif

***********************

God Grant me Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to Change the things I can and Wisdom to Know the difference!

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. -- John Wooden

"Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit."


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LINDAKAY228's Photo LINDAKAY228 Posts: 16,775
1/22/13 6:17 P

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Luckily in my area the trails aren't packed with people like in some areas I've been to so finding a spot behind a bush is not a problem. I've become very adept at it and also very quick LOL!

Linda

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KAYOTIC's Photo KAYOTIC Posts: 12,621
1/22/13 4:22 P

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There is actually a book called "how to sh*t in the woods" you may find helpful! You actually do need to work this out if you are going on really long day hikes or backpacking. I've found if I can find a fallen tree or rock to prop up between and get my butt lower than my feet, it works better (this is a balancing problem!) but squatting works well too!

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AMARILYNH's Photo AMARILYNH SparkPoints: (160,631)
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1/22/13 4:03 P

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Yep - find a tree or ditch or someplace away from the trail a bit. My friend Mimi (an expert on all things hiking) even has a name for it - pop a squat! LOVE that LOL!! In the summer its not usually a problem because of sweating but on these cool winter hikes sometimes it IS necessary!!

Marilyn in LaGrange, GA (EST)
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KENDRACARROLL's Photo KENDRACARROLL Posts: 2,185
1/22/13 3:03 P

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Guess I'm lucky there. On hard long hikes this just does not seem to be a problem - I can go all day...

And yes, just find a bush :) No big deal. Everybody else does it.
You shouldn't skimp on hydration just because you're worried about THAT...
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SUSUSUZZZIE's Photo SUSUSUZZZIE SparkPoints: (136,616)
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1/22/13 12:42 P

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Warning - possible TMI alert

You all have been so helpful and I'm hoping for some more help.

One reason I haven't ventured on long hikes is because I don't want to consider where I'd "go" while attempting to stay hydrated. Sometimes I just don't sweat it all out. I need to figure out the balance of intake and outtake or how to deal with this. Do you just go behind a tree/out of view of others?

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Suzie


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