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No. 9 Tinkle: The Necessary at North Dome

Yosemite National Park. Aliens in the hinterlands of outer space have probably heard of its glories. Half Dome. El Capitan. Bridal Veil Fall. The wonders of exploring the gash of valley nestled between sheer walls of rock.

Few people discover North Dome, one of Yosemite’s must-do hikes. When we barreled into the lot, two other vehicles were scattered in front of the rustic outhouse at the trail head. I skipped onto the trail, a gentle descent followed by a gradual, easy climb that meandered all the way to the edge of North Dome. The earth fell away, and Half Dome rose into the clouds, almost close enough to reach with a spit bomb.

Before we reached the top of North Dome, my stomach was complaining. MTM detoured off the trail and hacked our way to the top of a ridge overlooking Mount Watkins, a place he thought fitting for our repast. Brie and manchego. A few slices of fennel salami for me. Garlicky olive tapenade. Exquisite sweet pickles. Fancy potato chips sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper. Squares of luscious dark chocolate. And, of course, plenty of wine to go with our hydrating water. We watched the birds circle in the lapis hued sky and got tipsy, before shambling onto the smooth orb of North Dome in a level fifteen minutes.

On the way in, we encountered four whole souls. Apparently, that was too crowded for dear MTM. Let’s take this trail down the side of North Dome and see where it goes. The man should never doubt that I would follow him anywhere when I pounded down the almost vertical steep rocky steps behind him.

Halfway down, I couldn’t feel my big toes, and my bladder was screeching.

Are you SURE we should go back this way? 

Andra, it’s just a different way to the car.

I bit my tongue, squeezed my legs together and pressed on. We finally stopped our blistering descent into hell along the edge of a burbling creek. A crude wooden sign pointed the way to the parking lot. I didn’t laugh when I noticed that it was angled almost straight up. My God, MTM. We’re going to have to CLIMB out of here. And, I can’t walk any more because I REALLY HAVE TO PEE. 

MTM shrugged. Just go right here. There’s nobody on this trail.

No. NONONONONO. My tender lady bits are NOT coming out in broad daylight on a public trail for me to spray my scent and summon bears to come and gnaw on me. Uh-uh. No way. I’ll hold it.

Fine. MTM rolled his eyes and charged uphill, with me waddling behind him.

Several hours later, I was doubled over in tears. We were still climbing as the chill of dusk settled over the forest. Just as I reached the Pit of Despair, I glimpsed a crude roofline through the trees. The outhouse!!  I shrieked and started running in a bow-legged, I-may-not-make-it kind of way. I had never been so happy to sit on a stinking hole in the ground and unleash a record-setting tinkle flow. It was the last time I refused to go outside.

This post is part of the series My Top 10 Tinkles. If this is your first visit to my urinary extravaganza, please click here to start the series at the beginning. Thank you for reading my blog, for sharing it, and for spending time here.

42 Comments Post a comment
  1. Going down North Dome tipsy? That must have been exciting! You’re pretty sure-footed, or was it just the frenzy that kept you upright! Yosemite is a treasure, and so are your stories! Debra

    June 20, 2012
    • We stayed on North Dome for a couple of hours, though I wished I could’ve stayed much longer, Debra. Yosemite has to be one of the portals to heaven.

      Do you go often? I know LA is not close to it, but if I were that close, I would go a lot. I want to visit Kings Canyon, too. It is high on our hiking list, but we want to go in from the eastern side, which is hard to do until late May because of the elevations and the snow melt.

      June 20, 2012
  2. Yosemite is a great place to visit, now I know which contaminated section to avoid.

    June 20, 2012
    • Haha!! But that hike is one of the best ones I have ever done.

      June 20, 2012
  3. Love it. No spiders?

    June 20, 2012
    • I had a sentence about the spiders in here initially, but when a post gets over 500 words, I start cutting non-essentials. Yes, there were lots of spiders.

      June 20, 2012
  4. Ever met any critters in the outhouse? Thus…my fear of outhouses. :) Glad to hear you made it – men have it so much easier when hiking than we do…

    I love to hike Yosemite, just make sure you go when the mosquitos are NOT hatching…

    Once again, I love your writing – it was so compelling that before I “tweeted,” “facebooked” and replied, I had to use the ladies room down the hall…

    June 20, 2012
    • I have read about rattlesnakes in outhouses and always look before I bare my lady bits. Do you have a scary outhouse story, Lori?

      June 20, 2012
      • I have a few…but they are mostly HI-larious…like the time it was dark in the outhouse so I’d taken a flshlight, had to pull the 501 jeans down, flashlight went in my mouth, something moved, I slowly turn my head (with my pants almost to my knees and my butt to the door – because I had the flashlight trained on the “seat”, you know…to make sure…) there eyeballing me was a mouse, twitching it’s little nose, I move, it moves. I must have stood hunched over for about 5 minutes afraid to move…yes, I backed out into broad daylight with my lady bits (as you so politely call them) and bare butt being the first out the door…not a pretty sight for all the other campers. *sigh* I’m sure I gave small children nightmares and probably a few adults too.

        June 20, 2012
  5. How appropriate is your post, as I get ready to go to Yosemite very soon. I have done the North Dome hike. When a friend and I did that hike, we decided to detour to the top of Yosemite Falls on the same hike. We barely made it back out before it was totally dark (and of course had no flashlights with us). And what appeared to not be a long detour, was in and out of canyons, so took a long time. But, as always, it’s spectacular hiking!

    June 20, 2012
    • I thought about you as I was writing this one, Margaret. I hope you have a wonderful time, and knee and foot cooperate to let you see as much as you want.

      June 20, 2012
  6. Just find a “little girl bush” to duck behind? Ain’t. No. Way!!! My eyeballs would float first! :)

    June 20, 2012
    • Karen, I know they say bladders cannot rupture, but I really thought mine would. I ended up with a mild case of hypothermia, too. Still, I was on another trail the next day.

      June 20, 2012
  7. alice #

    The image of you marking territory to summon bears is wonderful….

    June 20, 2012
    • My being in the woods always makes me fear summoning bears.

      June 20, 2012
  8. Sometimes, cleanliness is nothing and availability is EVERYTHING. My Mom has declared herself the bathroom inspector of everything. She leaves little notes. If the place is particularly awful, she makes that post-its inside the stalls. (God forbid she should add to the graffiti)

    June 20, 2012
    • I never thought to leave suggestions behind. :) That is a very good idea, Jessie.

      June 20, 2012
  9. I’ve never been to Yosemite, but my, have I had experiences like that in other parks! Guys just do not understand.

    June 20, 2012
  10. Tee hee – I’d never had made it, Andra. You were brave to have the wine with your repast at those altitudes. My daughters still love to regale any and all of the time their mom got snookered on a few sips of Coors somewhere around Cripple Creek. Christmas. Easter. Family reunions. “did you ever hear about the time Mom . . . “

    June 20, 2012
    • We always do it, Penny. It burns off pretty quickly when running around outside. Daughters love to give their mothers grief, don’t they? That’s really funny.

      June 20, 2012
  11. Andra…will you please check you Spam folder and see if I went in there? I commented last night…I was your first comment and was so proud. LOL! I don’t know where it went? Thanks! D

    June 20, 2012
    • We’re all fixed now, Debra. :)

      June 20, 2012
      • Isn’t it funny how I almost panicked…NO, I’m not hooked on blogging! :-) Thanks, Andra!

        June 20, 2012
  12. While both Yosemite and The Drake have spectacular views, I’m personally partial to the rest rooms in civilization. (And no matter how nice the joint, I really try not to touch anything.)

    June 20, 2012
    • My preference is always to go civilized as well, Howard. But, sometimes, when you gotta go…….. :)

      June 20, 2012
  13. In the immortal (well semi-mortla) words of Demetri Martin: “Hiking is just walking where it’s okay to pee.”

    June 20, 2012
  14. In 6th grade I didn’t go to the restroom during last period because I didn’t want to interrupt the teacher. I peed in my pants at cheerleading practice. In high school, on a church trip, I forgot to go when we stopped at McDonalds. When we finally stopped again, I doubled over in pain and people had to help me walk to the bathroom. Now, I pee every chance I get.

    June 20, 2012
  15. Andra – I felt that one! Ooo…

    June 20, 2012
  16. Nancy #

    Once my sister and i went out deep sea fishing with my father. We had left the house at about 5 am. We had a great day and the there were so many fish they were almost jumping in the the boat by themselves. It got to be about 3 pm and both my sister and I really had to go and were begging my father to start for home. He did not want to. ” Leave all these fish are you crazy.” He told us to “Just jump over the side and go in the water.” HMMMM NO. Do you know what is under all those fish making them jump like crazy. I did not think I would make it home but I was more determined to not end up as Shark Bait. Boys have it way to easy.

    June 20, 2012
    • They really do. It is such an ordeal for me to go on a hike, now that I will. And, I’m with you. I certainly would NOT have bared my lady bits to a shark.

      June 20, 2012
  17. That’s why the outdoors is bad for you! Plus just think, all your “lady-bits” and pee could have frozen solid. Then how would you get loose?

    Sometimes it really is good to be a guy.

    June 20, 2012
    • I still love the outdoors. I have just returned from them, and the cool blow is blowing.

      June 20, 2012
  18. I’m so glad that was the last time you were so foolish!

    June 20, 2012
  19. Andra, it’s just a different way to the carLove it!

    June 23, 2012
  20. repeat after me…the great outdoors, under the cover of brush & tree are MUCH more sanitary than an outhouse ~

    June 25, 2012
    • I know. I know. This was my last spate of outhouse ridiculousness. I now proudly go on the ground.

      June 25, 2012

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