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Or, reach it through the navigation at the top of this page. Cruise on over and take a gander at the various Poosters (in larger form) that are already working their magic in Alaska, Idaho, and Montana. Then let us know what you think! Do you know a place that’s in need of a Pooster? [Since this entry launched on Sept 19th, requests for digital files have come in from Oregon, Nevada, North Dakota, Colorado, Illinois, Alberta, New Zealand, and additional locations in Montana, Idaho, and Alaska. Way to “go”!]

      Wild and wondrous places heal our harried, sagging spirits . . . join the force to reciprocate.   


Meanwhile, don’t miss Kristine’s goofy Poomercial about packing-it-out products, originally part of a spoof on Alaska MacMansion real estate!

     We envision Poosters pinned up on backcountry bulletin boards (at boat launches, trailheads, and fishing accesses), where they can begin slipping the topic into people’s thought patterns, and perhaps staving off official pack-it-out regulations. Poosters are especially suited, we think, to high-use public wild lands and in areas designated wilderness. But also as pre-trip reminders in outdoor equipment stores; fly-fishing shops; tourist information centers; canoe, ski, and bike rental establishments; and those many convenience stops that offer last-minute camping supplies. The Pooster makes the perfect partner for sales of outdoor toilet products: the revolutionary new pack-it-out bags, handy backpacker trowels, feminine urinary funnels, and, of course, a stack of How to Shit in the Woods.

      The wider story of The Pooster’s origins lives at www.thepooster.com.  

Generic Version

Does a bear shit in the woods?

Kristine, holding a double-bagging product, full of        ?

Introducing Kristine & The Pooster


by Kathleen Meyer, September–October 2013

Kristine Route is nothing short of amazing.

      Working with AmeriCorps in Cooper Landing, Alaska, for the past two years, she’s been developing a program to promote a landscape free of human toilet trash I met her in March of .this year when she emailed me with a couple of questions, and we’ve been working together ever since, teamed-up as two river runners oddly passionate about the same subject: nonproliferation of human poop.

      With that quick introduction, we want to unveil our poster project, an educational broadside that Kristine has dubbed The Pooster. Our gift to wild places. Available in generic form FREE, by means of a digital file that anyone can have printed. Or, we can customize it to your locale and add regional logos.

Tony Westby-Nunn lends his name to his serious small publishing house, which focuses on the history and tourism of selected regions of South Africa. Visit Tony and see his books by clicking on the icon.

Photo by Gunter Lenz

considered her a female. And she quietly stood her ground. I rose slowly out of my deep-knee bend, until standing, myself—completely kaalgat (nude), with a mere spade and toilet roll in my hands for defense. You know, they say, your life flashes in front of you in situations like this. Mine did.

        But then I had to laugh, because she obviously appraised my manhood and decided it wasn’t worth it. She went sauntering off into the bush, just as I realized that my slight constipation was being relieved.

        Later on, while walking with the group, we discovered her kill, a young zebra. It was the first time a leopard had been seen in this wilderness area.


* * *


As a point of interest, we were taught to dig a shallow hole, cover it completely afterwards, and bring back the used loo roll which was burnt on the campfire. The reason for this is jackals will dig it up and spread it over the landscape.

        In addition, we always left our campsites as we found them. Fires were buried, logs replaced, and leaves scattered over the surface. In other words, you would never have realized the spot had been used.

        Love your guidebook, Kathleen.


*At the time of this squatting, Limpopo was called the Eastern Transvaal.

of the wilderness area and the dam in the distance. With it being summer, I wore a khaki shirt, khaki shorts, and veldskoens, the latter locally-made hiking boots (translated from the Afrikaans veld shoes). I disrobed but for my veldskoens, hung my clobber and a loo roll on a tree limb, and then dug a hole with the trusty camp spade. After a while, from my squatting position, I caught sight of something in the bush, about twenty metres away. There was movement, then a long tail. The owner of the tail soon came into view and turned to gaze at me: a full-grown leopard. For some reason, I

Letter from Limpopo*

by Guest Tony Westby-Nunn, July–August 2013


I once was a field-guide for the Wilderness Leadership School, with the job of taking groups from Johannesburg to Doorndraai Dam Wilderness Area, a distance of 260 km (160 miles), where the School had permission to take trails. We had an old VW Combi, the 998cc model, and the trip usually took about four hours. The Doorndraai Dam Wilderness Area teamed with plain’s game—from impala to roan and sable antelope, from wildebeest to warthog—and eagles and vultures soaring the heights.

        It was a warm summer's evening when I drove a group of adults, who, over the long weekend, were to be “educated” in ecology and wildlife. We always camped in the open—never used tents, only sleeping bags on a ground sheet. If it rained, well tough. On the first night of the trip, I heard, close by, the sawing of a leopard. At our next debriefing, the other field guides pooh-poohed my notion that it was a leopard, saying a kudu’s grunt can be confused with a leopard’s vocalization. 

        I was sure it was a leopard.

        On the following trip, in the morning, after breakfast, I walked the approximate three hundred metres from camp, through a donga (a dry water course), to my favourite spot for the day’s constitution—the base of a large Ficus petersii (Peter’s Fig tree), which offered an amazing overview

Letter from Spain:

Caga and the Camino de Santiago



by Guest Author Jane V. Blanchard, November 2013


The Camino de Santiago, also known as “The Way of St. James,” is a pilgrimage across northern Spain and one of the world's most famous walking trails. Because legend has it that the remains of St. James, one of the twelve apostles, lie entombed in the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, the “Way” has drawn European Christians since as early as A.D. 800. Hikers on the Camino, even today, are called “pilgrims.” And nowadays people come from all over the world, trekking not only for religious reasons, but for health, culture, and exercise. The Council of Europe, in 1987, blessed the Camino’s network of ancient pilgrimage routes with the distinction of being first on the European Cultural Itinerary. Every year its popularity increases. In 2011, 244,000 people registered for the Compostela, a Certificate of Completion for the final 100 miles. I was one of them. My Camino, my first-ever long-distance hike, started in the month of September on a section in France, with my heading west over the Pyrenees, and finished five hundred miles and forty-three days later in Santiago de Compostela, near Spain’s Atlantic coast.

        Wayfaring on the Camino is different from hiking wilderness. I carried only a light pack (about 20 lbs.) and, in walking from village to village, stopped for drink, food, and bathroom breaks in cafés and eateries, and at night bedded down in albergues (hostels).

toilet paper residue, and buzzing of flies. You must pick your place with the instincts of a hound looking for the perfect spot, while taking care not to step in someone else’s deposit. When no cover is available, the procedure adopted among trekkers is to leave your backpack on the side of the trail, take your TP, saunter off a way, and do what comes naturally. Don't be shy. “Everyone knows that everyone goes” and fellow pilgrims will not seek you out. If they are anything like me, they’ll pick up the pace to give you privacy. Lastly, plan to poop as fast as possible—the manic flies love to attack warm poo even as it leaves your body. And fluttering wings tickle!

        When the ground is too hard for digging, as it is for most of the hard-packed Meseta, people will cover their success stories with a pile of rocks—you see a lot of cairns along the Camino. Don’t leave your soiled toilet paper out in the landscape. Take it with you, along with the wet wipes that do not disintegrate, and trash them appropriately in the next waste bin. It’s a good idea to carry your own supply of toilet paper, even for use in the towns. The many mom and pop shops and some of the donativos (low-cost hostels) can only afford to put out one roll per day, and by midafternoon, you can be shit-out-of-luck when it comes to finding any.

        Farmers hoping to protect their fields will post a Prohibido Defecar (Don't Shit) sign. I can just hear those farmers screaming inside, “Holy Crap! These pilgrims have done it again.” Respect their wishes, when at all possible.

      Spaniards, I discovered, have a wry sense of humor when it comes to this bodily function. A Christmas tradition in the Catalan provinces includes a good luck figurine called el caganer, or the pooping man. Because this squatting gentleman is fertilizing the earth, he is said to bring good harvest for the following year and, with it, health and peace of mind. Traditionally, el caganer is a Catalan peasant wearing a red stocking cap and he is often hidden among the Christmas Nativity scene for children to find. (In recent times, the statuettes are of celebrities,

athletes, superheroes, historical figures, and royalty—even Barack Obama. You can purchase these pooping icons online.)

        The Catalan before-dinner-toast is one that will stick with me forever. Menja bé, caga fort, i no tinguis por a la mort! Eat well, shit a good deal, and don't be afraid of death! And even though a Spanish proverb proclaims "Dung is no saint, but where it falls it works miracles," I imagine that most Spaniards would find the real miracle a clean Camino. The amount of human feces deposited annually verges on the astronomical. Consider this. If 300,000 people crap outdoors just once along the Camino, and if the average plop is a quarter pounder, the result is 37.5 tons of turds each year.

        The Spaniards are not alone in the world in not having found a good way to deal with this problem. Some visitors have offered solutions, but until someone takes the lead in solving the caga litter problem, the trail will remain soiled, and pilgrims will continue to do as they have since the Middle-Ages—poop all along the Camino.

Jane V. Blanchard is the author of Women of

the Way: Embracing the Camino. She’s also a public speaker, an accomplished long-distance hiker, and the publisher of an enlightening blog, providing strategies and support for the indie author. She lives in Sarasota, Florida. Her husband, Dennis R. Blanchard (author of Three Hundred Zeros: Lessons of the Heart on the Appalachian Trail) is often her hiking partner.


Visit Jane’s Websites:   

    Women of the Way

    Jane V. Blanchard (“My Musings” for indie authors)

Also find Jane on Facebook and Pinterest, and follow her on Twitter.

Photo by Jane V. Blanchard

Note from Kathleen: I so enjoyed reading Jane’s travel blog this year—Woman On Her Way—with its many accompanying photos, as she and Dennis hiked and biked through parts of Europe, over the course of six months. If we’re lucky, there will be another book forthcoming!

__________________     

Photo by Jane V. Blanchard

        Between towns, the route meanders hill-and-dale through picturesque farmland. The rolling terrain in the east produces vineyards and olive orchards, while the west is dotted with diary farms. The middle—a flat, arid, and largely treeless plateau known as the Meseta—boasts irrigated fields of cereal crops and sunflowers. Rimmed by mountains, the Meseta reminded me of a large bowl. Except for the few major cities, the area is sparsely populated. Yet, on the Way, you are never alone.

        For many walkers, the distance between towns—and, therefore,

toilets—does not coincide with bodily urges. So, how does one handle nature’s calls in a barren land, with people constantly in sight? If lucky, you duck behind a stone wall or high weeds. When a screen is convenient, however, others have already squatted there, as evidenced by the piles,

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         Brave, honest, fall-down funny, I Promise Not To Suffer is Gail Storey striding into a passel of challenge. She claws up rocky mountainsides—in perfect indecorous fashion—sweats sticky-stinky through deserts, postholes across snowfield mush, grappling for the balance not to drown in roiling creeks, or deep-water matters of the heart. In her quest to blossom as the consummate trekking partner, she emerges, most dearly, an unabashed sister to us all, and, most definitely, a woman-of-the-wild. www.gailstorey.com

       

And, here I am last Saturday celebrating Small Business Day in Chapter One Book Store in Hamilton, Montana, selling and wrapping books for Indies First (along with a thousand other authors across the country. Indies First—or “authors supporting Indies”—is the brainchild of noted author Sherman Alexie. He began the movement in September via an open letter addressed to fellow authors, asking

My Holiday Book Pick & Small Biz Shopping


by Kathleen Meyer, December 2013


Gail Storey’s gal-lant memoir I Promise Not To Suffer: A Fool For Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, winner of the Barbara Savage Award, and now winner of the 2013 National Outdoor Book Award!

Gail Storey

them to . . . be a superhero for independent bookstores [and] spend an amazing day hand-selling books at your local bookstore . . . . 

        I’ve long espoused buying books from independent bookstores. As the Mom & Pop’s go, so will the world, and its authors.