Woman about to sit on cactus in the Grand Canyon

Number Two With A View

One of the top 3 questions we get about our Colorado River Trips is, “What is the deal with the bathroom?” We’ve fielded this question many times and each of your guides will have different methods to make the whole process easier, but I thought I would share some tips of my own and helpful advice I’ve heard from guides.

1. What do the facilities look like?

Basically, the toilet is just like any other toilet only it doesn’t flush. Most people and guides will call it the groover. This groover is a metal vault with a toilet seat. The vault is replaced by a fresh one every day  (or every other day on an oar trip). The toilet system will be the first thing set up each night and the last thing taken down in the morning. It is set somewhere secluded and usually with a spectacular view.  We also bring ‘pee buckets’ for use in camp, if you have to go #1 in the middle of the night you can use the pee bucket instead of walking all the way down to the river.  Then in the morning, you empty it out in the river… simple!

river toilet

2. Timing

Timing is everything. Attempt to get on a schedule day one of going number two in the mornings and the evenings. If you do need to go during the middle of the day, no worries, we’ve got a toilet for you. You can either talk with a guide when the boats are stopped for a side hike or you can use the age-old sign for a pit stop, seen in the below image. pitstop

3. Number one – on and off the boat

Because of the arid climate in the Grand Canyon and because we want to keep the beaches as pristine as possible, we want to make sure all liquids go in the river. The solution to pollution is dilution-so to speak.

If you happen to be on a motor rig while it’s moving, you can go down into the motor well. This part of the boat is significantly lower to the water than the rest of the boat, so it will provide a greater amount of privacy. It also has a strait shot to the water. For females, there are a couple places to hold on while squatting.

While on the beach, the same rule applies, liquids go in the river. There are no stalls or doors in the Grand Canyon, so make sure you give others their privacy. You’ll want to find a calm spot (no current) next to the river with solid footing. Some female guides recommend quick dry skirts to make the process easier. What ever your method, you want to make sure you at least hit damp dirt.

4. Hand washing

It is of utmost importance that you are constantly washing your hands before and after using the toilet and before eating. We’ve set up a hand wash system that pumps water from one bucket to the next. Make sure you lather thoroughly with soap before rinsing.

Finally, you never want to quit drinking water to avoid peeing. If your pee is near clear, your doing well. If the color is dark yellow, you need to catch up with your hydration.

With anything like this, if you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to contact our office via email or phone or social messaging.