At many trailheads, the park or forest service or other authority has provided a toilet of some kind, because it’s a basic truth that many people feel the need to go before they start. But what if there isn’t any kind of facility? In that case, people wander off discretely into the brush or behind a tree to take care of business. Some hike directors will instruct their crew: “Gentlemen, forward, Ladies, back!”
On a recent hiking trip, when I followed several other people down an abandoned road, I realized that the people who had gone ahead of me had left souvenirs behind. There was fresh toilet paper scattered on the ground. Leaving toilet paper, even burying it, even if the toilet paper is supposed to be biodegradable, is no longer acceptable behavior. Carry it out. When you pack your rucksack for a hiking trip, tuck a small plastic bag into the same pocket where you put the toilet paper. Use the plastic bag to contain the used toilet paper until you get home. Remember the good hiker’s adage: Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. That includes toilet paper.