Last year I wrote about the joys of encountering human ...deposits, shall we say, along one of my favorite hiking trails. Of course most two-legged hikers are kind enough to avoid defecating on the trail (or if they must, they deal with the leavings properly). Four-legged hikers, though, don't really know any better -- and who can blame them?
Fortunately, dogs like bringing their people with them on hikes -- and we people are smart enough to either pack that dog poo out or bury it, just like we do with our own. It's not that hard, especially if you carry a handy poo-hole-digger like the U-Dig-It.
Why am I writing this now? Because the part of Alaska I live in is currently buried in snow, which means that any dog poo that doesn't get packed out is left on top of the snow as a nice little surprise for the next hiker to wander by. It's not like it blends in -- unless a fresh layer of snow falls on top of it, hiking the poo until things start to melt and then someone gets a nice soggy surprise.
It gets better: You know how a dark rock plopped on top of a snowbank will absorb heat from the sun and eventually melt its way down into the snow, right? It has only just occurred to me that poop might do the same. It's not like it tunnels to the other side of the earth but, based on my unscientific observations -- made while covering the same trail over time and watching the piles slowly morph -- a poop pile does eventually sink into a crater of its own making.
So... yeah. Let's bury dog poop or pack it out, just like we do with our own. (Right?) ...I'll be the first to admit that I've left a few of my four-legged hiking buddy's doggy deposits in the woods in the past, but it turns out their fecal deposits can spread parasites and infectious diseases, just like ours. So I promise I'll do better about cleaning up from now on. Join me?
Photo © Lisa Maloney: I was going to take a picture of dog poop on the trail, but that's gross. So I'm leaving you with a photo of one of my favorite hiking buddies instead.