First Year Trip
Preparing for your First Year Trip - Wilderness Living
One aspect of life in the woods that is very different from front-country living is the lack of bathrooms and showers. Spending 5 days in the wilderness includes learning how to keep clean when there aren't showers and going to the bathroom in the woods. But don't worry, this trip is the first time many participants have been in the woods, so your leaders will explain everything you need to know to be comfortable.
There are some special considerations for hygiene in the woods you should know before you come on the trip. First, we strongly recommend that you do not bring deodorant, soap, or scented body lotion with you. There are several reasons for this. Wild animals in the areas we use, such as chipmunks, mice and brown bears, are attracted to the same delicious odors that you enjoy, and if they smell something good, they will bite through your pack in search of a bite to eat. We provide biodegradeable soap, which helps keep us clean and has less impact on the environment than commercial soaps made with perfumes and phosphates. Also, wearing deodorant when you are hiking every day and not showering is not good for you because it traps sweat and the toxins it excretes under the surface of your skin. When this happens for days on end, it can cause rashes or infections.
Oral hygiene is the least daunting part of keeping clean in the backcountry. While you won't have running water, you can still brush your teeth. You should still bring a toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste; your leaders will teach you how to spray the water you rinse your mouth with to most reduce the impact on the environment. Also, if you are used to using mouthwash of any sort, you shouldn't bring it with you as you wouldn't have anywhere to spit it out.
Wearing contact lenses on the trip may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. You will not have access to running water on the trip, but we do provide biodegradable soap. You may also bring a small bottle of instant hand sanitizer with you on the trip. In this way you will be able to clean your hands for removing and putting your contacts in. Also, make sure to bring an extra pair of contacts and/or glasses as well as plenty of solution for cleaning your contact lenses.
Dealing with your period in the woods
It may sound like a bummer, but it doesn't have to be. Here are a few suggestions for making yourself as comfortable and prepared as possible.
1. Be Prepared. Even if you are not expecting to get
your period during the trip, bring adequate supplies anyway. The change
in diet, the strenuous exercise, and spending a lot of time with other
women can all affect your cycle. This is even true if you are on the
pill. Your leaders will not have extra supplies, nor will you have access
to a store, so come equipped!