Day 3 of 3 – The Camping Toilet

18 Aug

The toilets in Algonquin Park are all very pretty to look at but if you’re wondering how well they work you’ll have to talk to one of the other campers.

I'm sure they'd all love to tell you all about their camping bathroom experiences in great detail.

I’m sure they’d love to tell you all about their camping bathroom experiences in great detail.

Even though I cannot see you, some of my readers are right now displaying expressions of confusion. “What? You didn’t go to the bathroom for three days?” Don’t be silly, of course I did – I just made sure that each time I went it was only category 1. “Well, what about… you know… the other category?”

I can see there’s no way around this. Someone should have had this talk with you when you were much younger than you are now. But they didn’t so I’m going to have to fill in once *again* for failed parents and educational systems all across the planet. “Do you ever get tired?” Yes. I’m exhausted and the pay is terrible. $0.00 per hour – so I’m going to make this short.

When the human body finds itself in an unfamiliar / stressful environment, it has the ability to temporarily disable certain subsystems. As this relates to me, when it comes to camping I’m not too comfortable with the idea of mosquitoes, spiders, snakes, porcupines, or any other animal biting my ass (if I’m lucky) from the dark cavern that is the campsite outbox. This most recent Algonquin Park camping bathroom situation (apparently) resulted in elevating my stress level so high that my body delayed the need to go until I got back to Ottawa.

Don’t get me wrong. These camping “toilets” would be perfectly fine if they were only to be used once. But why on Earth would one want to sit bare-assed on what is essentially a wooden box filled with snakes and spiders when there exists a beautiful, perfectly functional, $1,700 German toilet in my home available for my private use?

The only reason I can think of is to reduce the weight that has to be carried on the portages.

The only reason I can think of is to reduce the weight that has to be carried during the portages.

I discovered this feature of the human body when I was in China in 2008 when I took a three-day, two-night riverboat cruise on the Yangtze River. The boat we were staying in (on?) was an older one and the en-suite bathrooms had the oldie-time squat toilets. Now these toilets are perfectly fine if they have a trap to prevent the smells from the septic system from escaping into the room but these ones didn’t. With a little bit of training it’s possible to hold ones breath when brushing ones teeth or going number one. As for number two, well, not breathing during number two can be dangerous and counterproductive.

So the moment I discovered I was going to be captive for three days on this riverboat my brain sent a signal to change my system setting from “daily” to “later”. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time and it was only when we got to the hotel in Wuhan that I figured out what had transpired.

I’m going to finish up with a warning: not all stressful situations are created equal. Camping and Chinese riverboats are slow-moving events that provide the body with enough time to select the right setting. You have to be very careful because there are other stressful situations (fast moving ones) that cause the body to do whatever the opposite of “temporarily disable” is.

2 Responses to “Day 3 of 3 – The Camping Toilet”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Camping Epilogue – Skeeters and Sketti | Die Hard Three - August 18, 2013

    […] – Thinking of you gave me the inspiration to complete what was a difficult blog post about the dangers of camping toilets. Stay […]

  2. Day 2 of 3 – Keep everything dry with Ziploc bags (except the one roll of toilet paper) | Die Hard Three - September 22, 2013

    […] am not a fan of the shitboxes* Parks Ontario has installed in all their campgrounds and I have written about this before. Needless to say, I expected the bathroom aspects of this two-night, three-day camping trip to be […]

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