My Favorite Outhouse (Blogging From the Field #34)

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Post and photos by Harry Sandler (UVM)

[This post is part of a series of real-time communication from participants in the 2012 Juneau Icefield Research Program.  The program begins June 23rd and concludes August 18th.]

Meet Petunia.  She (it?) is far and away the best of the four outhouses in Camp 10.  Sure, Dreamland has the best view (and you can share it with a friend), the Bomb Shelter is new and spacious and Red Dog is… well I haven’t used it yet since discovering the superiority of Petunia.  Here’s why.

Looking at Petunia from the deck of the Cook Shack.

First of all there is the history.  Petunia is one of the oldest buildings on the Icefield.  Inside, writing commemorates that she was constructed in 1949 by F. A. Millan.  Mr. Millan apparently lacked a carpenter’s square and you would be hard pressed to find a right angle in the outhouse.  This interesting architecture only adds to the whole experience.

Inside Petunia. Inscription on the door reads: “Don’t eat the cake that was made by Jake because we let out a howl as it shot through out bowels” – Documented by Riley Hall ‘05

Recently the old girl got a facelift.  At the door you are welcomed by an enchanting unicorn – courtesy of Matt and Annika.  Kristen painted an occupied sign inviting you to “Enter a Magical Realm” which only makes the best outhouse better.  Take that Dreamland with your tacky floral pattern backrests.

Petunia’s new look.  With the Taku Towers in the background.

Petunia is also the closest outhouse to the cook shack.  This is important for obvious reasons.   What may not be obvious is the fact that this vicinity makes Petunia an easy target for rocks thrown from the deck.  The clang of rock vs. sheet metal makes any Petunia adventure more exciting and is possibly the best reason for using the best outhouse in Camp 10.

Cook Shack on the left, Petunia on the right.

PS – Happy Birthday Mom!!!!


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Lew Hunter

June 29, 2016

I was a JIRP member in 1985. I have long regretted that I did not take pictures of the outhouses on the Icefield but still have memories of the double seater overlooking the Taku Glacier at Camp 10. The only view that might surpass it was the box with foam cover that NSF provided us in Antarctica that we set over a hole in the sea ice (cold but an unobstructed view).

I would love to get copies of any Juneau Icefield outhouse photos that you are willing to share.

Thanks Lew