You will most definitely, at some point, defecate in the forest.
It is very important that you understand the completely unavoidable nature of this eventuality.
Attempting to avoid defecating in the forest may lead to any number of less than desirable outcomes, including:
1) You will defecate on yourself.
You may think you can make it back to camp.
Your amoebic dysentery disagrees.
Listen to your amoebic dysentery.
2) You will defecate somewhere inappropriate (other than on yourself).
Once you are desperate enough, you may defecate not far from where you were walking, just to get it over with. If this is the case…please. Bury your feces. Finding human feces near a trail or even in the middle of the forest makes something deep inside the finder curl into the fetal position and cry out weakly at the apparent dissolution of all that is good in this world.
And trust me.
Everyone knows that came from a human…
And there are only so many humans out here…
3) You will not defecate, and in so doing you will ruin defecation.
Perhaps it’s your first time in the field, and you have the tight anal sphincter of a 17-year-old athlete. Your ravenous appetite has left you full to bursting, but you most definitely do not want people to find your leavings (see 2, above). So you hold it. Given your willpower, lack of applicable parasites, age, and fear of social embarrassment, that poop isn’t going anywhere.
Nor will it for quite some time.
Because the longer you hold in that fecal matter, the more compact it becomes.
Months after returning from the field, you may notice that you’re a little off your game. You can’t run as fast as you used to, and when you try you get horrible cramps. You’re tired all the time, and cranky. And pooping just isn’t what it used to be.
When you finally go to the doctor, he’ll take an x-ray. To the surprise of both of you, your colon will appear as a solid block of light. It is radiant with the dried, impacted, months-old fecal matter caked to its lining, almost completely preventing you from resorbing water and nutrients.
After a rather lengthy weekend involving the simultaneous use of three (three!) types of laxative, you are on your way to a full recovery, and ready to put your impacted colon behind you.
From this day forward, however, you will never win an argument against your father without him reminding you that you were, at one point at least, quite literally full of shit.
So please. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Even it there are mosquitos eating you alive. Even if there are no soft leaves in sight (but that’s ok because you should be collecting every large, thick, velvety leaf you come across throughout the day).
Because holding it in can never end well.