TMI (Tim’s Mutinous Intestines)
Normally when we think about the natural physical gifts we have when it pertains to outdoor activities, we think of qualities such as positive ape indexes, low body mass, long strides, flexibility, and the ability to endure the elements. As I have progressed into a variety of outdoor activities and reflected on my experiences, I’ve come to realize that one of the qualities that I’ve been blessed with is a strong stomach–I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want with no real consequence. On the surface it seems so inane; how is a strong stomach a physical gift? Considering that I spend the majority of my time outdoors, far removed from the comforts and convenience of a bathroom–many times, even the sight of a port-o-let would be welcoming–the luxury of not being concerned about the “call of nature” is an incredible physical gift. I would argue that it has been just as valuable as many of the aforementioned qualities.
My family used to marvel when I would get up after taco night, or after eating a huge spaghetti dinner, and immediately go out for a jog. (I think their stomachs would turn for me.) For whatever reason, it never bothered me and I wondered why they would make such a big deal out of it. I didn’t realize that I was so blessed. There are more than a few people that have come through my life in recent years that suffer from “runner’s stomach,” and, until quite recently, I never had much sympathy for them. In fact, I had a total lack of sympathy for the delays, turn-arounds, and periodic stops behind large rocks and trees that my partner’s “runner’s stomach” imposed on me and my iron gut. I would laugh as friends packed toilet paper into their first aid kits, planning for the inevitable. Whenever “runner’s stomach” did hit my friends, I would regale them with tales of just holding it on multi-day backpacking trips as I waited for more civilized accommodations. My stomach had become a point of pride for me.Until this weekend.
I met Doug early Sunday morning at Lincoln Woods. The trip was like many others we have taken, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Little did I know that it would be the end of an outdoor era for me. Doug and I have been recently exploring a few of the less-frequented boulders at Lincoln Woods and we were heading out in search of Lodi’s Warmup boulder. Walking down the road toward were we presumed the trail was for Lodi’s Warmup, I felt a grumbling deep within my gut. At the time, I did not think too much about it, having already had my morning constitution before departing for the woods. This would prove to be a serious misjudgment. Had I realized my bowels were soon going to revolt, I could have used this time to seek out a more fitting setting for my second bowel movement of the day. Instead, blinded by years of predictability I forged on.
Finding Lodi’s proved to be fairly easy and we were soon warming up on a few of the boulder’s easier offerings. Despite off and on pangs from my stomach, I thought for sure I would survive the day. As we progressed toward a few the boulder’s more difficult problems, the sit starts and core tension began to wreak havoc. After failing to pull a tough compression move, I knew I could no longer fight the call of nature. I felt like a pregnant woman in a television show as I screamed in my head, “this is happening!” I quickly ripped my climbing shoes from my feet, scrambled to pull on my regular sneakers, and scanned for a suitable place to do my business. I’d like to say I took a walk of shame toward a collection of privacy-enhancing boulders, but in truth it was more like a trot of shame toward them. Between those boulders, my streak was broken and instant empathy was gained for all those I have tormented in the past.
Freed from the torment of my bowels, I had an overall good rest of the day at the Woods. I sent some new stuff and re-visited some old favorites, thanks in part to being a little lighter. In the end, I lost some dignity, my outdoor pooping streak, and my favorite tee-shirt…there is never a dull moment.
One of my favorite web-site’s Semi-Rad has dealt with the subject of pooping in the woods on multiple occasions. if this topic fascinates you click on the links below.
*All photos are courtesy of Doug