Squatting hazards in the back country

Answering the call of nature is an integral part of wilderness camping and requires some heightened awareness of your surroundings.

We dig a hole designated for this purpose when we camp and choose an area free of cactus, bristle poppy, rattlesnake hideouts, and water courses.   As we have gotten older we have purchased a “throne” that fits nicely above the hole to support the buttocks and save the knees.

While hiking a lovely trail with wildflowers and pines in the Sierras, the call of nature urged me to pull of the trail to take care of business (no hole digging for #1). I found a suitable spot and dropped my drawers while taking in the scenery and listening to the lazy drone of insects. Upon completion of my task I pulled up my pants and zipped only to discover that I had “captured” a wasp in between my underwear and jeans. The wasp protested by stinging me at least 6 times before I could quickly get my britches off to see what had set them on fire.

If it had been a bee, she could have only bit me once, but a wasp has the luxury of stinging over and over. This wasp was no slouch. It made sure both cheeks had equal opportunity to feel its fury.

I hustled down the trail to get back to our camp so I could apply ice. It hurt so bad I could not sit down and I had to lay on my stomach with a frozen steak on my bum, (yes it was in a ziplock while defrosting). This was followed by a good dose of whiskey. Keeping ice (or frozen meat) and whiskey (or other liquor of choice) on hand is always an important addition to our 1st aid kit.

So, the morale of the story is to always pay attention to where you squat in the back country as that is when you are most vulnerable to the wrath of the local inhabitants.

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