Well, I can’t comment on the Pope, though I suppose if he really had to go, he would, but I certainly can comment on bears. The answer is a resounding “yes.” Yes, they do shit in the woods.
I know this because I hiked many, many miles. I climbed over big rocks, frolicked through misty meadows (ok, they were only misty because it was sort of raining), and traversed the well-worn trails in the Rockies and Tetons. I also trudged through sand and across canyon rims in the sweltering heat of the desert of south Utah. I climbed steep rock staircases and scrambled sideways to avoid falling into pools of tepid water. I was walking through nature in all forms, and I loved every second of it.
In the past, I wouldn’t say I liked hiking. I actually had never really done it before. Sure, I walk a few miles a day, and am a runner, but hiking was just so….meh. I always sort of figured it was simply difficult walking, and being the klutz that I am, I was fairly certain I didn’t need to make walking any more challenging than it already is. But for some reason, I found myself in my trusty Merrills (purchased years ago, on clearance, for rain-day races, and worn exactly once prior to this trip), pushing to find the more challenging, longer routes that would show me more and force me to exert myself to levels I didn’t even know I had in me.
There’s a lot to be gained from it – views, adventures, a bit of rough and tumble, a sense of accomplishment… It’s soothing to the soul – but definitely not the body. My hair was a mess, I was sweating like a pig, I was tired, and I was getting a little muddy/dusty/sandy from the trails. I felt the burn in my muscles and the warm bottled water was barely enough to quench my thirst. But the soles of the shoes were sticky, and my spirit was indomitable, so still, I pressed on. I could not wait to take in more of the majestic views.
It was never my deal in the past. But now, difficult walking really does have its place, and it’s something I can say I truly love doing. I can safely say I’m a convert – but who wouldn’t be, when you reach the top, and see that?