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  1. #41
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    If my memory serves me right, I helped build a composting privy at Double Springs Gap with the Rocky Top crew back in the 90's on a snowy October day. When I went by there about 15 years later the privy had been replaced with a newer one. Composting and moldering privies take maintenance by volunteers and cooperation by the users for them to function properly. I have been by many a privy on the AT where there is no duff or wood chips to add when you finished your business. Some privies had a rake and instructions on how to gather duff but I don't think I ever saw another hiker collecting any when the supply was depleted. The ones that use wood chips have to have the chips packed in by trail maintainers. When I thru hiked back in 2010 many privies were beyond capacity down south. I can see why a cat field would be designated.
    More walking, less talking.

  2. #42

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    I remember that one shelter in GSMNP with the Rhododendron field area designated as a privy. The vast number of piles of toilet paper and poop pretty much shattered any remaining illusions I had of hikers being environmentally conscious.

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    If my memory serves me right, I helped build a composting privy at Double Springs Gap with the Rocky Top crew back in the 90's on a snowy October day. When I went by there about 15 years later the privy had been replaced with a newer one. Composting and moldering privies take maintenance by volunteers and cooperation by the users for them to function properly. I have been by many a privy on the AT where there is no duff or wood chips to add when you finished your business. Some privies had a rake and instructions on how to gather duff but I don't think I ever saw another hiker collecting any when the supply was depleted. The ones that use wood chips have to have the chips packed in by trail maintainers. When I thru hiked back in 2010 many privies were beyond capacity down south. I can see why a cat field would be designated.
    people use the woodchips as fire starter...

  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    hmm, I dunno here Slo' my friend, a quick scan of the companion shows 18 shelters between hot springs and damascus and only 6 have privies. this includes a stretch of 6 in a row without, then one with, then another 6 without.
    Hum, I must have skipped most of the ones without a privy. Or got so used to it, it didn't register.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Hum, I must have skipped most of the ones without a privy. Or got so used to it, it didn't register.
    well with those big mile days you like to hike its quite likely you skipped 6 consecutive shelters.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    I remember that one shelter in GSMNP with the Rhododendron field area designated as a privy. The vast number of piles of toilet paper and poop pretty much shattered any remaining illusions I had of hikers being environmentally conscious.

    sounds like Russell field....

  7. #47
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleRock View Post
    ...Second, I never could understand why the TN shelters didn't have privies. It might have made sense 20 or 30 years ago when there fewer hikers but IMO they are desperately needed at all AT shelters today. I always thought the purpose of the AT shelters was to concentrate overnight usage to certain locations so as to minimize impact on the rest of the trail, but then not putting privies in these locations to help manage waste and instead telling hikers to spread out and crap in the woods nearby seems to defeat the purpose.
    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Mainly because it takes volunteers to maintain them.
    Or paid caretakers like AMC. Impose and/or raise rates on the campsites/permits, build and maintain privies. Works in NH. To my knowledge, every shelter on the AT in NH has a maintained privy, and they get plenty of use during the hiking season.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Hum, I must have skipped most of the ones without a privy. Or got so used to it, it didn't register.
    Not registering would probably be the safer bet. I know TipiWalter sometimes talks about birthing a 3 day turtlehead, but that's not a regular (pun intended) schedule for most people unless they only want to hike 4 miles a day - and not because of a heavy Tipi-like load, but because of severe abdominal pain...
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 03-25-2019 at 18:43.

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    well with those big mile days you like to hike its quite likely you skipped 6 consecutive shelters.
    Maybe I didn't poop for 6 days, you know I can be full of it
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  9. #49

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    Just do it




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  10. #50
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    There is actually detailed instructions in the ATC trail guide on how to cathole or dispose of waste; even in more rugid areas. Depending on the soil and rockiness around the shelter, there may only be certain areas where waste can decompose.

    OP would need to address the ATC, the local maintaining club, or the Smokies to submit feedback about the toilet fields.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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  11. #51
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    I remember that one shelter in GSMNP with the Rhododendron field area designated as a privy. The vast number of piles of toilet paper and poop pretty much shattered any remaining illusions I had of hikers being environmentally conscious.
    Yeah, probably Russell Field. I spent a week there one summer working on SWEAT crew. The shelter is right on the trail . Spring is on Tennessee side and the "privy area" is on the Carolina side of the trail in a rhododendron thicket. Pretty steep slope too.

    The first thing the crew leaders had us do was to dig a latrine trench on the Carolina side. Six inches or more deep and probably eight feet long and on a level couture . A shovel and zip lock bag with t.p. and hand sanitizer was left at the shelter. They called it the key. If it was missing you knew the privy area was being used.

    The trench was left open but each deposit was covered. Some hikers even made use of the trench.

    On the last day I woke at daylight and went to use the privy which by then should have been nearly full. It had been completely uncovered and cleaned out during the night. Kind of gross.

    We suspected it was the pigs that had run through our camp a few nights before.

    Even if waste is well covered pigs (or whatever) may dig it back up. More likely if the hole contains food leftovers. I would think concentrated poop fields would be more likely to attract feral pigs.

  12. #52

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    Do pigs eat the toilet paper too? Seems ideal


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  13. #53

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    Shouldn't these hazmat campers be getting some rather interesting trail names? Sleeps on Poop, cathole, crap, dungheap, hazmat camper, privy, field of turds, white bloom, etc. The possibilities are endless. The shelter log should have a long list to be given out in the morning.

    These people should be cursing their inattentiveness due to setting up camp tired, in the dark, or just plain oblivious, once it's pointed out to them along with their new trail name.

  14. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    Do pigs eat the toilet paper too? Seems ideal


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    They eat anything

    Used to just crap on ground in my hunting lease if needed
    It would be gone completely in a day or two. Eaten by hogs.

    Had a bucket of corn once that got water in it thru cracked lid. It sat behind woodpile for over 5 years. I dumped it away from camp, there was big millipede looking bugs in the rotten sour crap. Totally gone next morning, not even a trace left.

  15. #55
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    In 2018 there were several shelters in the Smokies with no privies... The sad thing is even with shovels left at the shelter there were still so many people to lazy to dig a hole and piles of crap and toilet paper everywhere. A lot of the time you seen it on the same side as the water source.... I would never get water anywhere near one of those Smokies shelters with no privies.... Also I remember an arrow saying toilet which ever way.... I don't remember a designated open field to poop in anywhere, that sounds like people to lazy to walk more then 50 feet into the woods line... I couldn't believe how close people would crap to the shelters
    Last edited by LazyLightning; 03-26-2019 at 18:07.
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  16. #56
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Yep, pigs cleaned out everything.

    Everyone was a little creeped out.

  17. #57

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    I once saw a documentary from Ďsomewhereí where below the privy lived a couple of pigs...letís just say they never had to shovel it out like the AT volunteers have to


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