Friday, September 28, 2012

Clash Between Backpacker and Privy


For a change of pace, I'm posting some stories of what could happen while out on the Appalachian Trail. Although these are fiction, some may hold a kernel of truth.


After packing up my backpack prior to leaving the AT shelter where I’d spent the night, I decided to hit the privy one last time. For some strange reason, this one had an outside latch that could be locked: I suppose it was to keep unwelcome critters out since the sign hanging on the door did say to make sure you locked it after using it.
Unfortunately, the lock decided to engage while I was still in the john. No amount of rattling or banging on the door would budge it, and of course my curses and entreaties went completely ignored. Had someone been with me, the ruckus I raised would have brought them on the run. Well, maybe not on the run, since it pays to show caution whenever approaching an unknown situation while out in the wilderness. No telling what could be making me carry on like that; it could even be a bear. But eventually I would have been extricated from my wooden prison.

But I was hiking solo, so I had to figure this out myself. Finally, I hoisted myself up on the door. I don’t know what I had it in my mind to do, but apparently my added weight managed to jiggle the lock back open. As the door swung wide with me hanging spread-eagled from it, I saw that I was not alone after all.

Standing a few feet away with their mouths hanging open in surprise was a Boy Scout troop. I managed to drop to the ground. I didn’t see any point in trying to explain what I was doing hanging from the privy door, so I didn’t even try.

I just shouldered my pack and beat a retreat up the trail with as much dignity as I could muster, which wasn’t much. Behind me I heard the scoutmaster say, somewhat dubiously, “Have a nice day.”

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