peeing in the woods

It can be a tough science.

I’m a girl and as a girl I was not born with external plumbing. So here’s a tribute to ladies peeing in the woods…

A central part of being outside and adventuring is peeing in the woods. The problem is learning how, exactly, to execute this task. You have to find your perfect squat, you have to pull your pants down, and, before you do any of this, you have to find an optimal pee spot….

It can be a tough science.

It’s definitely a learning curve. And it was a very long time before I perfected this great wilderness art. I’m sure many of us ladies can remember figuring out how to pee in the woods…

My journey was a little bit longer than most.

I remember my mom taking me off the trail and demonstrating the squat…. And me trying to mimic it, quite unsuccessfully, peeing all over my pants and bursting into tears. I kept on trying to perfect it when I was little–maybe 6 or so and every single time I would end up getting my socks or my shoes or my pants wet with pee. If my tiny young self articulated herself in this manner, my sentiments probably would’ve been along the lines of “Screw this.”

After that, there was a long period of absolutely zero peeing in the woods. I held it whenever I went out adventuring. Whether it was a long hike or bike ride or backpacking adventure I would hold it the entire time. On the way back to the trailhead I would always discourage my family from taking breaks: “Come on let’s go we need to get back to the trailhead…” for I knew that an outhouse awaited me. I still have a vivid image of myself running the last mile or so of many a trail just so I could get to the outhouse. It provided endless material for my family to tease me.

I eventually decided that this fear had to stop. I needed to be able to pee in the woods. So, when I went out hiking I would keep a lookout for perfect pee spots. Those pieces of wilderness that most resemble an actual restroom: logs or leaning trees, the ones you can sit on or lean against to make a makeshift toilet. Many times I just had a mental block and could not make myself go, I reverted back to my fear of never peeing in the woods. It was a trauma ingrained in my mind.

Eventually, I got more comfortable with peeing in the woods. I’d just have to grab branches to help with the squat so I wouldn’t fall over. Then I began to master the technique and I realized, hey, maybe this isn’t so bad after all. I mean, there is a strategy to it, but once you got it, you got it.

When peeing in the woods you have to find a safe spot (not a rocky surface…that can be a disaster, and no pokey bushes either). And, you have to hide yourself (depending on who you’re with, I suppose). And, of course, there is a different squat for every situation.

If I have a daughter I can’t wait to teach her how to pee in the woods, and hopefully her experience won’t be as traumatic as mine.

And don’t even get me started about pooping in the woods…

By: Mary Burr