the lifejacket diaper

BWCA, the scene of the crime. I was bobbing by that rock, waaaaay out there.
BWCA, the scene of the crime. I was bobbing by that rock, waaaaay out there.

A few Labor Days ago, I went camping up in the Boundary Waters with my friend Adam, who graciously introduced me to the joys of the Lifejacket Diaper. If you are unfamiliar, the Lifejacket Diaper is exactly what it sounds like: an upside down life jacket worn as a diaper, with your legs popping out of the arm holes. And it’s simply amazing. Endless hours of entertainment.

So there I was, bobbing quietly in the clear waters of Alton Lake, listening to the silence of the wind in the trees, fighting back utter disappointment in myself that it took me over 30 years to experience this thrill (so much wasted lake time), when I shot straight up, eyes wide.

Usually I prefer to get acquainted with my surroundings soon after arriving – locate the best patch to pitch a tent, the best spot to catch the sunset, to cook dinner, locate the privy or the designated hole in the ground in which to shit; but I was so excited about the concept of the Lifejacket Diaper, we immediately donned our diapers and jumped into the lake after paddling up to our campsite.

This was a mistake.

You all know the feeling, don’t pretend you don’t; you’re sitting there (or bobbing in a Lifejacket Diaper a little too far out in a lake) happy and content one minute, and the next, panicking, sweating out prevention plans, as creative ways to not shit your pants start dive-bombing the previously peaceful silence of your mind. You start wishing maybe you hadn’t floated so far from shore, because you are 99% sure there is no way you are gonna make it back, and 110% sure you are definitely not going to make it to the Hole in Which To Shit In, the one you just now remember Adam mentioning was “a bit of a walk back into the woods.”

There IS a toilet, somewhere back in these woods.
There IS a toilet, somewhere back in these woods.

If the thought of a Lifejacket Diaper excites you as much as it excited me, here are a few things you should know before use:

  1. Despite the name, you cannot, under any circumstances, actually shit in the Lifejacket Diaper.
  2. It is extremely difficult to move anywhere fast while sporting this fashionable item. Swimming is reduced to awkward doggy paddling, in which you sometimes feel like you are moving in circles instead of forward, because you are indeed moving in circles instead of forward.
  3. If you find yourself in an unfortunate Poo Emergency while wearing the LD, but are fortunate enough to make it shore without shitting the bottom of your diaper (which is really just the open neck hole of the life jacket), don’t be an idiot and try to run to the designated Hole in Which to Shit In whilst still donning the diaper. Ditch it immediately. It severely impedes your ability to run and you look ridiculous. Plus, you’re probably pretty sure you won’t make it the designated toilet in time, especially since you have no idea where, or how far away that hole is. You really don’t need to make the situation worse by involving the LD in any accidents.
  4. Always locate the designated area to poo before donning the Lifejacket Diaper.

So anyway…with the help of an incredibly intense doggy paddle, I somehow miraculously made it to shore, grabbed a roll of TP, eventually ditched the Lifejacket Diaper somewhere on the trail I hoped lead to the toilet, but regret to inform you, did not reach my intended end goal. Yes, very unfortunate.

There are two rules while enjoying life in the BWCA:

  1. Only birthday suits are allowed in the clear waters of all lakes*
  2. Leave no trace

*I’m not totally sure of the validity of the first rule, but I highly encourage all folks to abide by it.

Breathless, relieved and clear-headed once again, I surveyed the scene. I was definitely breaking BWCA Rule #2. Two trips to the toilet in the ground later, which I painfully discovered was ten more tiny steps around the corner (had I only been equipped with the knowledge of Lifejacket Diaper Rule #4, two walks of shame may have been avoided), I successfully removed all trace.

The End

beauty of the BWCA
beauty of the BWCA

Some of you probably hate that you just read that. But I’m sharing this story to prepare you for the possible content of my blog in the months to come. For almost six months, my days will consist of walking, sleeping, eating, and pooping, so I imagine I’ll have even more deep feelings and experiences with these simple but necessary life events than I usually do. While I am excited about the prospect of the whole trail being available as a potential toilet, I’m also terrified of digging a hole just to uncover someone else’s leftovers. Trust me, if I could control my thoughts, this wouldn’t be one of them.

My Appalachian Trail adventure begins in five days. Consider yourself warned.

Now here’s a picture of a cute dog to help you forgive me.

Daisy the pug on our walk by Lake Mendota yesterday. And just so you know, I picked up her poo as well. No one thinks THAT is gross.  We're all just animals, people.
Daisy the pug on our walk by Lake Mendota yesterday. Oh, and hey, I picked up her poo as well! No one thinks THAT is gross. Aren’t we all just animals? Think about it, people.

Talk to me, Goose.

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