I have not posted on this site for a while, but I have become increasingly perturbed by Alaskan boaters crap. On numerous occasions over the last couple of years our family has been grossed out by campsites littered with gnarly toilet paper hiding a disgusting package underneath, pitched a tent on shallowly dug holes that started to secrete their smell in the middle of the night, and on one occasion had to wipe human feces off of my nieceís back.
We have all seen Alaskan white roses scattered on the Kenai, Gulkana, 6 Mile, and nearly every pull-out in Alaska. People seem to think it is ok to take a crap and throw toilet paper on top of it. While scouting the 3rd Canyon on 6 Mile, I stepped on an Alaskan white rose and nearly barfed. A couple of years ago, I camped at Super Hole on the Middle Kenai with some buddies. As soon as you strayed away from camp, the place had a field of Alaskan white roses. Disgusting. I am sure a lot of you have had similar experiences as me when floating the Gulkana. Even though there has been a push to use toilets, I still see large groups floating sans toilet. I feel so sorry for the BLM crews who clean up after these pigs.
Then there are those who think digging a shallow hole is being a good river steward. A few years ago my wife, kids, and I were floating Lake Creek. The water spiked, it was dumping rain, and we had to camp on higher ground. We found a nice spot in the trees to put our tent. For those of you that float with kids, you know it can be a little chaotic when you get to camp. I quickly pitched our tent, and we all hunkered down as a family. Late in the night my wife said she smelled crap. The next morning I realized somebody had dug a super shallow hole and buried their dung directly under my beautiful wifeís sleeping pad.
The straw that broke my back was when we were camping and kayak fishing at Whiskey Gulch last summer. My cute seven-year-old niece and daughter were playing in the woods by the beach when my niece came back with human excrement on her back. Now I am a peaceful hippy-like dude, but I wanted to put my fist through someoneís skull at that point.
I will confess that years ago I used to be dig a deep hole and burn the TP kind of guy. Now I always travel with a toilet. We usually use a PETT foldable toilet (about $100) and a toilet tent if we are traveling with ladies and kids. On just dude trips, we set up the toilet with the best view. The PETT system uses WAG Bags. After a few dumps, I will then seal up the bag and put it in an ammo box. I carry a separate ammo box just in case. The foldable toilet ammo can system works well in AK because you can put it all in the floats of a plane.
The last few years I have been going rafting in Idaho, and the beaches on these rivers are sublime. You will not find micro trash, Alaskan white roses, or cat holes. You are required to pack out your turds. It is nice to be able to walk out on a trail and not have to worry about stepping on human crap. On these trips I have used a myriad of toilets. Selway Fabrication makes the Riverbank; super solid, almost like home ($370). The Joh-ny Partner is another solid toilet, yet more expensive ($600). These expensive groovers are nice because it contains the smell for the most part. Last week I was carrying a Riverbank (one of three toilets for a group of 19) on the Middle Fork of the Salmon, and it never bothered me. You will actually enjoy taking a dump in the woods if you purchase one of these bad boys.
Regardless of how you float down a river, please help keep Alaska pristine, and poop in a bag, bucket, or some fancy groover. Oh, and you light-weight packrafter people, you need to do your part too.
Thanks for reading my rant.
Here is the music video ďI Poop in a BucketĒ with some mild language and great rafting footage: