How to Pee in the Okefenokee!

After a few hours of paddling, the thought usually comes to mind, “What about using the bathroom.” If you’re not prepared, this can be a leg-crossing conundrum!

Rest dock with out house near Minnie’s Lake on the Middle Fork (red) canoe trail in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 7, 2017. © Please don’t steal my images. Download and use legally at

Thankfully, along some of the canoe trails, distinct, man-made features oddly stand out amongst the swamp scenery: large wooden platforms topped with a roof, picnic table and outhouse! Even more strange, but welcomed, is fresh toilet paper and hand sanitizer! Besides being a great place to stop for lunch, it is a welcome relief to the full bladder.

But what about when nature calls away from a rest dock? Getting out of the canoe is not always an option, and can in fact be dangerous. Although the water may look shallow, there can be a layer of peat and mud several feet thick that could suck down the unknowing paddler like quicksand. And standing up or squatting over the edge of a canoe or kayak can be quite a tricky balancing act resulting in a soaking experience!

For those who plan to remain in the wilderness areas for an extended period of time, or may have a weaker constitution, a portable camp toilet, bottle, or 5-gallon bucket is a helpful item to add to the packing list. A little bit of cat litter in the bucket can help keep things tidy. Remember to empty any waste and trash when returning to civilization, rather than contaminating the Okefenokee’s waterways or campsites.

Published by William Wise

Hi, I’m conservation photographer and nature writer William Wise. Nature journaling and wildlife photography has been a favorite pastime since the ‘90s. I graduated from University of Georgia Warnell Forestry School's wildlife program in 1996. I'm currently an animal shelter manager/photographer and reside in Athens, Georgia, USA with my wife and two teenage daughters. My website is a wildlife and birding photo website documenting the beauty, design and wonder of creation. I have a deep love of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I became a devoted Christian in 1993 under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. The theme of my blogging comes from The Message version of Psalms 104 -- "What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, You made earth overflow with your wonderful creations."

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