Poop Alert

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Teresa Gergen
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Re: Poop Alert

Post by Teresa Gergen » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:51 pm

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Last edited by Teresa Gergen on Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.








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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Poop Alert

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:52 pm

I have never observed an animal dig up poo, but I have camped, buried it, and it was dug up in the morning. Not sure what animal, because it was not in an area known for marmots.

I once worked for a southern California water district that leased land upstream of their reservoir to cattle grazing. The downstream water quality tests came back bad; State regulators assumed it was the cows. The field manager had an university group run some experiments and they determined that cow pies create enough heat to kill the bacteria. (Dried cow pies are actually used like firewood in some cultures.) Fresh cow pies are unsightly, smelly and one would not want to step in one but do not necessarily cause water quality problems. Later they tracked the pollution specifically to runoff from a large horse stable. I am not sure if horse droppings had ever been directly tied to Giardia. They can cause high e-coli counts that exceed drinking water standards.

Any poo can be sterilized if it gets enough UV light. NOLS experimented for a few years with spreading poo on rocks thin enough for it to dry and sterilize from sunlight. It worked, but they decided it was just too gross and unsightly for a LNT method. #-o Larger groups who spend more than a day or so at any one site, should bring a shovel and dig an honest-to-goodness latrine rather than have dozens of "cat-holes".

I think that in the National Parks in the Sierra (at least now, not historically), human poo probably exceeds that of horses or cows. I am not sure National Parks even allow grazing. And horse use is really restricted, compared to National Forests. The article was about National Parks, not Forests.

We however are the only animals that use toilet paper (which is not the only method to clean up after #2) . Carrying out all toilet paper is so easy that I really do not see why everyone does not do it. If you absolutely do not want to carry out TP, at least go to an RV supply store and buy the kind used in RV's and septic systems. Kleenex on the trail is also a problem; it biodegrades very slowly. Every backpacker should know how to put a finger on one nostril, and snort out the other. No need for Kleenex. If you do use it, definitely carry it out.

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Re: Poop Alert

Post by SSSdave » Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:45 am

Personally I am not going to, nor want to, nor have read any strong convincing arguments for, carrying out toilet paper except if I find myself venturing into one of the few Sierra Nevada areas that require such. Otherwise in areas where it is not mandated but is a problem like on popular trails, will continue to site my camps out in the vast unused natural pristine areas well away from trails. And as for blowing my nose, will continue to use Kleenix packet tissues. My sinuses are often clogged at high altitude, especially with capillary nose bleeds that no finger snort will be adequate for. In any case those tissues go into trash bags so are not buried.

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Re: Poop Alert

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:29 am

https://www.bayequest.com/static/pdf/manure.pdf

This is an interesting article on horse poop. It is presented by a pro-horse organization but appears to be based on some good studies. It addresses the health/water quality risks of horses on trails. Of course it does not address the aesthetic aspects, which are relative. I know many ranchers who LIKE the smell of horse manure. Not my preference, though.

Concentration matters. Feedlots are an entirely different beast from a few cows in a pasture or a few horses on a trail.

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Jimr
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Re: Poop Alert

Post by Jimr » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:28 am

WD I used to work for a Southern California water company as well, for about a decade. I did basically every field job there was, but mostly installed new services.
“Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

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Re: Poop Alert

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:23 pm

Jimr- I did not directly work for the water district- I worked for a consulting firm and the district was our client.

I use a lot of snack-sized zip bags for my food, and it works out nicely to reuse them for TP. Then these little bags get put in a bigger one- all going in the bottom of my bear can. I know it sounds gross, but honestly, if bagged right there is no smell. I really do not feel I need any divider. I also do not feel compelled to put used TP in the bear can- could also just hang it in a tree in camp. If a bear were to get into it there would be little "reward" for the bear. It then goes in the bottom of your pack during travel. I just find putting it in the bear can easier. Unfortunately I still run across TP under rocks RIGHT there in the campsites. Disgusting! If the TP is right there, on wonders where the poop is; probably right under my foot.

I have heard that the wag bags handed out for Whitney zone are quite easy to use and well designed. The one time I had to carry the wag bag, I walked through so did not even use it. I can see a future where more sections of trails may require wag bags. I have no problem with this as long as there are garbage cans to put them in every day or so. I certainly am not going to carry poop for several days. TP, yes; poop NO!

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Jimr
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Re: Poop Alert

Post by Jimr » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:45 am

Wag Bags are well designed and they have a desiccant inside as well. By the time it is closed up for travel, it is essentially triple bagged. I used to carry then in a gallon freezer bag, so it was quadruple bagged.
“Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

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freestone
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Re: Poop Alert

Post by freestone » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:20 am

Jimr wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:45 am
Wag Bags are well designed and they have a desiccant inside as well. By the time it is closed up for travel, it is essentially triple bagged. I used to carry then in a gallon freezer bag, so it was quadruple bagged.
Where the disconnect happens with wag bags is much like doggie bags. The user judiciously bags the poop then leaves it on the trail (or wherever) for someone else to dispose of.
Fram...

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Re: Poop Alert

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:21 pm

Those are the same people who probably do not properly handle their poop anyway. Agree, wag bags work better when there are convenient disposal bins. Makes sense for the Whitney zone; less so for the entire JMT. Personally, I like the composting outhouse at LYV.

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Re: Poop Alert

Post by longri » Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:44 pm

My experience with a couple of different brands of "wag" bags is that they are not odor proof. If I were going to be carrying poop around for more than a few hours I wouldn't use them.

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