Best Golden Palace's in the Great North
I've come across 'Canada's Best Restroom' and maybe an honourable mention here and there over the years (don't ask), but you know what, I've never actually seen anything out there naming the top places to answers nature's call...in nature.
Now, I can't claim that I've seen all there is to see, pee where no man's pee'd before (there's no way seeing as you guys mark your territory wherever it seems convenient, darn the ease). I can say though that I've had some pretty heckin' amazing views while taking a wicked 'yes' that stem beyond scrolling through the latest garbage fire online.
1. Bugaboo Provincial Park / Conrad Kain Hut considerably one of my first big solo ventures. With a three day weekend, I packed up my Civic and hastily made my way to BC in the early hours of the day. After getting thrown about and avoiding bottoming out for about an hour as the sun rose down a forestry road, I was at the dirt lot wrapping my vehicle with chicken wire pinned by nearby rocks and logs. A very pleasant hike with wild flower lined glacier in view. Ladders, chains, and rocky terrain alike until I reached the Conrad Hut, just before the break off where climbers either were to continue on some glacier traverse or something a little more vertical such as the highly sought after mountaineering route, Bugaboo Spire (I swear to write about this one when I get there one day). And there it was, the best view any pit stop had to offer.
2. Lake Louise / Outhouse Wall While not the most pristine and sought after name of a climbing wall, it does have an outhouse, and maybe a good reminder to those as the opportunity to be discreet during a long day out at this busy crag is unlikely. With the easiest approach trail being the very popular trek around the side of Lake Louise, you shimmy up some loose dirt and bam, up close and personal with some beautiful quartz, and when nature calls, just a quick little slide over to a small shack. While the Bugaboo's might offer the only seated view, opening up the door after sweet relief to a crystal blue lake and surrounded by glacier and mountains, with the chatter and yelps of climbers taking whips or trying real hard, it's hard to beat.
3. Smith Rock / Oregon
To be fair, I was there for an extended amount of time, semi-living off the grid when we weren't climbing, so while I had some pretty epic views while rocking my business on the edge of some pretty sweet ridges (while practicing leave-no-trace, take care of your surroundings, even the nature sorts), there was a 10/10 compostable set up in the park itself, so much so that there are in-fact articles about how Smith Rock's outhouses are 'on point'. Only fond memories of a quick little jaunts over to the closest outhouse with the surrounding rock walls being painted in gold and t-shirt temperatures in the middle of March. Similarly to the Outhouse wall at Lake Louise, there is something to be said about realizing the opportunity for sweet relief is near.
4. Skaha Bluffs / Alpine Club Donation
Have I romanticized taking a whizz with a great view enough yet? I'm almost done I swear. Lastly, I'll mention my latest trip and my rock finale for the year before the snow hit. In early October, we were lucky enough to be graced with temperatures of 25 degrees and up in Penticton, BC. After spending a few weeks there battling for a bit of comfort in the Matrix as Canmore started seeing some sub zero temperatures in the early hours of the morning, I was elated to spend evenings cozied up to a fire after spending a long day absolutely destroying my hands and core tension on some beautiful rock, and drifting off with the comfort of a cracked window and sans puffy jacket. While immensely grateful for this finish to a full climbing season, it's back to business. I came across this one outhouse by accident, and yet at the perfect time. While trying to find a bit of a spot that wouldn't leave me exposed to climbers above and below (a tricky task at that), I ended up scrambling up a little side trail that broke open to a vast and sunny view laced with soft pines and views of Skaha Lake. The outhouse itself had been recently donated by the Alpine Club, Arc'teryx, and a few others within this realm of activity. With supplies left behind to be looked after by whoever might use it, I was pleasantly surprised that it had been well looked after, how's that for dirt bag climbers.
- Ghost Ridge
With the end of the rock season comes the beginning of ice climbing! And with that came a lot of interesting and creative methods for making the bladder gladder. The Ghost Wilderness area is wild, it's so out there and it's hard to get to. Taking on the challenge of even just getting out to the first set of ridges before dropping into the crazy land back there, we set up camp on January 3rd, and managed to have quite the fire with lucky temperatures that only a chinook could be responsible for. There is NOTHING out there but public land, ice, rock, and wild untouched mountains, and getting to take that all in for even a moment is enough weather just staring or multitasking.
- Mount Kidd / The Fold
Maybe one of the sketchiest. Again, we're leaving outhouse territory and headed into watering the flowers. (Don't pee on flowers man). The Fold is a very loose multi-pitch rock climb up the impressive Mount Kidd in Kananaskis. An 11 pitch adventure up 2,000+ meters of elevation. This makes for a long day, which I think we clocked in about 12 hours from car to car. Worth it for the sweet 60 meter free rappel. But when you gotta go, you gotta go. You're using muscles that could be way more useful if you weren't also having to battle holding it together after staying hydrated. This is when I found out about a handy strap on the back of my harness. Instead of doing what I thought would be wise at the time (finding a ledge 7 pitches in, hoping I had my balance down while I remove my one thing of safety and stare straight down at the drop that surrounded us. Also a great way to get comfy with your climbing partner.) Luckily, this amazing design now keeps you locked in, but free enough to get the job done.
- Every Walmart Bathroom from Vancouver -> California.
And lastly, not anything to do with the parks, but rocking Van life while trekking down the west coast, we stayed at a lot of Walmarts. To be fair, we weren't super aware of the public land laws at the time, so maybe better views could have been experienced, but hey, we got to know a lot of interesting characters from the mornings that started with Walmart. (FYI, there's booze/heavy liquor everywhere, and some don't even carry produce, what is the states man)
Anywho, hope you enjoyed the super in-depth tell-tale of some of my number 1 experiences when living statically just hasn't really been in a thing in a hot minute and I hope it has inspired you to amp up your view.