My husband and I really enjoy living in northern Utah. There are dozens of mountains and lakes to visit, all within an hour or two from home. It makes for the perfect get-away on a weekend day. We enjoy hiking and finding new areas to explore and you will often find him with his binoculars and me with my camera, both taking in the great scenery. A few years ago, on a cold, Sunday morning, we decided to stop at a local cafe and have a yummy, comfort-food breakfast before we embarked on one of these adventures. Pancakes, eggs and bacon were on the menu and they really hit the spot. After our big meal, we were ready to drive an hour to Mantua Lake, just east of Brigham City, Utah. Mantua is a 500 acre lake that is well-known to fishermen in the area. There is a wonderful, flat, gravel trail that circles the entire lake. It is a hearty four mile walk and we were both really looking forward to watching the winter birds and other wildlife. There is ice fishing at Mantua Lake, where rainbow trout and yellow perch are plentiful during the winter months. We were actually surprised to see how many people were out fishing on the lake that day. Groups of friends huddled close together in the cold and fished through holes drilled through the thick layer of ice.
We started our walk. It was our first time at this lake and it was so beautiful. I was photographing the area and we talked about how we love living in a beautiful state where there is so much outdoor recreation available any season of the year. About a mile into the walk, I had the brief thought that I might need to use the bathroom. I quickly dismissed the idea as a minor issue that I would take care of when we were finished.
A several hundred yards further is when it hit me. It wasn’t a minor issue. In fact….it was going to quickly turn into a big issue. I told my husband that I thought maybe we should turn around and go back to the parking lot where a public restroom was located. We still had almost 3 miles to finish the trail, and I wasn’t going to be able to make it that far. But surely the one mile back was doable. Reluctantly, but realizing it was necessary, we turned around.
Several minutes later, but still over a half mile from the parking lot, it occurred to me that I might not actually make it to the restroom. My husband said he would make a run for the car. It was the only thing he could think of. I wasn’t sure what good this would do, since there was no access from the road to the lake trail anyway. But things were feeling rather urgent, and at least it felt like somebody was making progress toward help. As he ran onward, I looked to my left where the fishermen were fishing on the ice. They were quite a ways out. In the middle of the lake, in fact. However, still close enough that I could make out their faces when I squinted. There were no trees around. No place to hide and do my business, if it really came to that. Problem was, this wasn’t just going to be a tinkle. This was going to be a stinky one!
If you have ever been in this situation, you know that the more you think about the problem, the sooner the urgency becomes an emergency. I had no choice. I also had no toilet paper. Praying that there might be some non-frozen leaves close by, I set my camera down and proceeded to walk down a rocky slope toward the shore of the lake, which was now actually a sheet of ice. I didn’t have time to think up a plan. All I knew was that I had better take care of the problem fast or it would become a mess in my pants.
Squatting down, I pretending to be examining some foliage on the ground, while at the same time dropping my drawers. Nature took care of itself, but I still wasn’t sure how I was going to “clean up”. Then it hit me! I didn’t have tissue or a napkin, but I was wearing socks! So there I was squatting, trying to act like any normal person does while at a lake. I balanced myself on my left foot and slowly lifted my right foot and removed my shoe and then my sock. It worked perfectly! (I do confess that I left the sock at the lake…there was really no other option, trust me.) I put my right shoe back on my bare foot and casually stood up as though what just happened really didn’t just happen. I don’t know how I accomplished the whole task without falling or being discovered. I did have the thought that things would have been much easier if I were skinny and had stronger thighs! But either way, I was very relieved (literally) and hurried to catch up to let my husband know that everything was okay now. When I made it to the parking lot, I told him what had happened. At first he looked surprised and almost disgusted but then realized that the sock had saved the day and it was a pretty genius move! We laughed about the whole thing and headed toward home. It was an exciting nature adventure with a little more “nature” than we had intended.
I share this story because it’s funny, but also in hopes that if you’re ever in a similar predicament you’ll remember my sock story. And you’ll thank me.