When you are out backpacking for two days or more there are a few things that you must do to live; You must eat, sleep, drink plenty of water, AND you will have to go to the bathroom outdoors. For many this is a daunting task, possibly something they have never done before. The idea of living without the comfort of a porcelain throne and manufactured toilet paper when the urge comes, can be a strange and barbaric idea, especially for the female gender. However, this fear must be conquered or else your backpacking trip will be very uncomfortable or even dangerous.
At Eagle Quest we have come up with a formula to change using the restroom outside from a scary experience and into a positive, laughable and even bragable experience. Let me explain how it works! All guides are trained to lead the “BoBo talk” the first night they have campers on trail. This is basically a fun way to teach the Leave-No-Trace principals for going 1 and 2 outside. The first part of the talk is actually based on a bible verse in Doodoo-ronomy(Deuteronomy 23: 9-14), where God commands the israelites to go bury their excrement away from camp.
After teaching the correct way to use everything inside the “bobo bag” (a mesh bag full of all the necessities for outside pooping) the guides explain the EQ BoBo-ing point system. The point system, is a way to make pooping a fun and very funny competition. You get one point for going #2 outside. You get two points for going #2 and using “natural toilet paper”. Natural toilet paper keeps campers from having to pack-out manufactured toilet paper in a plastic bag after they use it. In Camp Eagle’s backcountry we have plenty of “wiping rocks” and we have a magical soft plant that grows in low lying areas called Lambs Ear; some say it’s comfier than Sharmen. You get 3 points for building a stone throne and doing all the pervious steps. A stone throne is two upraised flat rocks on either side of the hole you dug; this forms a kind of primitive potty. If you do all these things and have an excellent view; for example, over a cliffside or in view of a sunset you’ll earn four points. Five BoBo points are awarded to those who do all these thing and witness wildlife in the process. Six points go to the person who does all these things and the wildlife is pooping right along. Finally, you can get an un-heard-of six points if you go to the bathroom and a animal is giving birth near you. Needless to say that has never happened in the records of EQ trail trips, but it is a conversation starter and the basis for many tall BoBo tails.
The goal of all this nonsense is to encourage campers to go to the bathroom outdoors and to break the ice in talking about bathroom issues. It turns a scary and embarrassing issue into a game that is talked about openly. That openness also translates to openness with other subjects like Bible studies and debriefing experiences. This is something you can’t get without going on trail. It’s a small example of how backpacking is a powerful tool for creating bonds within a group and bring kids out of their shells.