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Kevin Clayton
(kclayton) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Waste disposal in the desert on 12/26/2007 22:52:11 MST Print View

This may seem a little gross, but I need to know, How do you dispose of Human solid waste in the desert. My friend was telling me about doing a "Poop smear" were you smear your waste on a rock exposed to the sun, off the trail of course, and allow the UV rays to disinfect it. Or do you just dig a regular Cat hole?

why is fece...s profanity? It won't let me right it

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
smear or dig on 12/27/2007 08:04:45 MST Print View

Hey Kevin,
Experts say that smearing is the quickest way to get fecal matter to break down in the desert. But, the official stand as far as I can tell from park brochures is the LNT method of burying.

Kevin Clayton
(kclayton) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Another question on 12/27/2007 15:06:56 MST Print View

Is there enough usable plant matter, or other materials, to leave the paper behind? I never carry it up here in Montana

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Another question on 12/27/2007 17:06:20 MST Print View

Kevin,

in Australia I always bury it. With almost soil moisture for most of the year, it will take far longer to break down as there will be less microbial activity than in more temperate areas. However I try to pick a fertile spot rather than baked, bare open ground. If its a region with Dingos present I usually bury it deeper(though this will reduce breakdown time even further), and sometimes put a rock on top, as they might want to dig it up-though in places where I return often I haven't seen this happen yet. Animals in the USA might be a bit more tempted. If they dig it up...more luck to them...and it will no doubt break down faster then. The toilet paper is an issue though, and in rockier areas I sometimes burn it. Even though the chances of someone ever coming across it are practically nil, it is unsightly.

I would be interested to know if anyone does smear, and how they get the courage to do so! I don't think I would enjoy that myself. I think I'd rather just do it on the ground. Plenty of animals do!

Happy pooping,

Adam

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Re: Another question on 12/27/2007 17:09:41 MST Print View

I would never consider leaving toilet paper home myself in the Desert. Plant matter in Australian Deserts with nice toilet papery leaves is zero in abundance. There are gibber plains, but not in all areas, and I know that many Desert people use nice rounded gibbers to clean up with. I've never tried it...they are normally too hot for my behind!

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
the desert. on 12/28/2007 00:22:37 MST Print View

my usual approach is to bury it down a ways, and burn the toilet paper. not much happens in the desert. you know the stories... patton's tank tracks from training still visible in the mojave from WWII. i avoid washes and areas of flash flooding, but if you put it 8" down in the desert, it'll probably stay for a long time. i've heard about the smear technique more for high sierra, above-timberline, situations.

also, kevin, if you are starting to think about socal on the pct... lots of folks refer to the much of southern california as "desert" but actually very little of it is. i'd call the corner of the mojave desert through antelope valley desert, but not much else. the rest is just good old fashioned chaparral, coastal sage, and lots else. just hot and dry. and if you're in the desert, i'd sure bring paper. nothing like a bit of creosote bush, burro weed, and cholla to make you miss some fluffy charmin.

Edited by DaveT on 12/28/2007 00:27:37 MST.