Our second hike in Vermont was on a gravel road that ran next to a stream. The stream spoke the usual stream language, babbling to us as we walked. Something we don’t always think about when we imagine the sound of a happily babbling stream is the way it seems to connect directly with our bladders. Or, at least, mine.
I love the sound of running water diving and dipping and dropping over stones in a shallow bed as it makes its way downhill. I love it less when I really need to use the non-existent facilities. This is a case where perhaps the advanced hike might have been more accommodating–finding a private place at least 50 yards from water to go off and take care of one’s needs when walking along a relatively popular dirt road with a group of 15-20 people is not such a simple undertaking. I endeavored to prove I still have good bladder control. I made it to the turn around point, through the snack break, and about halfway back, but then we arrived at the juncture between the road and the stream. The very thought of water rushing beneath my feet as it crossed under the road was more than I could bear.
I made a break for the woods and climbed up an overgrown hillside, bushwhacking my way to a private spot, trying to do as little damage to the hillside in the process as possible. Fortunately for me, my selected site was in fact private and no one caught me in the somewhat awkward act of re-positioning clothing after the fact.
This, did however, evoke a memory from a long ago jeep trek up a mountain jeep trail near Ouray, Colorado in Yankee Boy Basin. It was a trip I took with my father, brother, and elderly aunt to deliver my mother’s ashes to her favorite location in the world. About half way up the jeep trail, my elderly aunt needed to use the facilities. When I explained to her that there weren’t any facilities, she exclaimed, “What??!!! They should have a bathroom if they’re going to let people come up here!!!” The concept of wilderness was a bit lost on her.
I took her to find a spot in the woods. I don’t think she’d ever walked through the woods except on a fairly flat and easy to follow trail before, let alone found a hidden spot to squat. I found a secluded spot for her and walked around to another secluded spot for myself not far away. About the time I was getting re-situated, I heard squealing. I ran over to where I’d left my aunt and was greeted by two feet, pants circling the ankles above them, kicking in the air amongst the underbrush. My aunt had fallen over backwards. Now that is a sight I wish I could forget!
Thankfully, I managed to enjoy the hike in Vermont and leave un-traumatized.