Image: Kathy Weaver
When you gotta go, you gotta go. And answering nature’s call – any time, anywhere – is certainly what the builders of these remote outhouses seem to have had in mind. Often situated in incredibly scenic locations, some of these outhouses also seem highly precarious, looking like they’re about to topple over a cliff at any minute! Was this positioning chosen in the name of ventilation? Who knows. Regardless, we hope you’ll join us as we marvel at 13 of the loneliest latrines on earth!
What better place for a little outhouse – complete with slanted roof to withstand the elements – than high above the treetops and even over the clouds? If you are interested in visiting, this is the Cougar Peak Lookout in Montana, which overlooks Clark Fork River. Simply breathtaking!
Brrrrr! It’s making us shiver just looking at this snow-covered outhouse. We’re just hoping there’s enough toilet paper, as you wouldn’t want to be caught with your pants down here. Still, with the clouds rolling in and all that snow around, at least washing your hands shouldn’t be a problem…
As well as worrying about frostbite, patrons of this toilet should also be aware that it’s in full view of the fire lookout tower in Hood River County, Oregon, so in fact, despite appearances, privacy might be a bit of an issue, too.
Image: Curt Toumanian
Just imagine having to answer nature’s call after a long, exhausting hike or a strenuous climb. Then think of your glee at finding a proper toilet in the middle of nowhere. Just as you open the door, you see the sign “private property”. Ah, what rotten luck! But then again, who would know? If you want to face this dilemma for real, this loneliest of lavs (reachable only by ski plane) can be found on Alaska’s Mount McKinley. It is part of the Don Sheldon Mountain Hut and was built in 1966.
Image: Rebecca Tifft
Here’s another view of the lodge and outhouse to put things in perspective. Imagine having to go out there in the middle of the night… Without the stunning scenery to guide visitors, it doesn’t seem like a good idea, given the precarious walk. Perhaps best to squeeze tight and hold those pressing urges until morning!
Looking at this image, one wonders what people were thinking, giving this outhouse such a perilous location. Maybe they liked the thrill of ‘toileting’ on the edge – or the feeling of the wind blowing as they were doing so? In either case, this crapper is private and for use only by the fire lookout on Moose Mountain, Alberta, Canada. For our part, we are relieved (pun intended) to see some steel cables holding it in place.
Speaking of crappers, the story behind that particular nickname for toilet is an interesting one. There was actually a man named Thomas Crapper who lived during the Victorian era, from 1836 to 1910 to be precise. He was a plumber, and though he did not invent the flush toilet (as is often mistakenly assumed) he founded a London-based company that made lavatorial supplies called Thomas Crapper & Co. The quality of his products was so good that he soon received royal warrants. To this day, toilets are still sometimes known as crappers. (Just don’t go using that term in front of your grandma…)
In the photo above, we’ve got an ‘outhouse with a view’ in an undisclosed location. One thing is for sure: the view is so impressive that patrons won’t need to worry about bringing reading material.
Image: Nestor Lacle
Flat out crappy may be an accurate description for this Porta-Potty, which seems to be not only the loneliest but also the remotest portable toilet on earth. After all, who’s going to come by and empty it? And how often?
Portable sanitation units, as they are officially called, have actually been around since the 1960s. This particular one can be found in Aruba’s Arikok National Park, which takes up approximately 18 percent of the island. The national park that is, not the Porta-John! Aruba, part of the Lesser Antilles – located just north of the Venezuelan coast and belonging to the Netherlands – is famous for its varied rock formations, iguanas, snake and bird species and, apparently, one lonely, plastic restroom.
Image: Chris Grimshaw
This isolated can sits in Bodie, CA. It may literally be the loneliest bathroom around as Bodie is a nineteenth- / early twentieth-century ghost town, a remnant of the Gold Rush. On second thoughts, with 200,000 visitors a year to the historic destination, this old-fashioned outhouse might not be so solitary after all.
Image: Jim Bahn
Apparently, remote toilets were popular in Bodie, CA: here’s another lonely loo that’s amazingly well-preserved. One wonders if it is still in use. The door is non-existent, but hey, who would want to miss out on the view of those perfect cotton-wool clouds rolling by?
The term ‘loo’, commonly used in Britain, is most likely an abbreviation. Its origins are connected to a few theories. A popular one suggests it stems from the French ‘bordalou’, a kind of mini Porta-Potty, carried by ladies in their muffs. Eww! Another hypothesis is that it stems from the euphemism ‘Room 100’, a traditional location of a building’s toilets. As you can see, the number 100 looks like the word ‘loo’, so misunderstandings could have easily ensued. We’re not entirely convinced, but they’re interesting theories!
Here, we have not one but two toilets; in fact, a whole toilet house. If you look closely, you can even still see the faint outline of a man painted on the left and a woman on the right side. Though we can’t know for sure, we’re assuming the toilets fell into disrepair due to lack of use. After all, who’s going to bother fixing a remote bathroom smack in the middle of the Peruvian desert that’s only used once every blue moon? The location’s scenic, though, and we’d assume it’s popular with squatters (if you’ll forgive the pun).
We’re not sure if the owner of this outhouse was aiming for a bit of peace and quiet or whether they deliberately looked for the most scenic spot around. What could be more relaxing than a comfort station amid the rural tranquility of trees and rolling hills? (Just so long as there’s enough toilet paper…)
Image: Marina Faycal
This image of a colorful outhouse in Maseru, Lesotho is one of our favorites. A lovely plateau overlooking the foothills of the Maloti Mountains, earthy tones supported by white, cottony clouds above… and bam! in the middle of it all you’ve got a brightly-painted outhouse in yellow and blue. What’s not to love?
Image: Dream Valley
The outhouse pictured here is probably the most luxurious of the lot. Seemingly immaculate, it comes complete with a “private” sign and a lock. Not to mention the view over Kananaskis Country in Alberta, Canada. Just lovely.
Image: Rune Johansen
This lonely john in Brennelv, Norway gets extra points for the lovingly carved-out heart in the door. Isn’t it an outhouse straight out of a textbook? For those, er, longer sessions, there should be a do-it-yourself guide provided for those inspired to copy this fine example of craftsmanship.
In case you were wondering how toilets came to be called ‘johns’, this popular nickname is frequently associated with Sir John Harington, writer and godson of Queen Elizabeth I. He spent a good amount of time thinking about excrement, even writing a book titled A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, Called the Metamorphosis of Ajax, published in 1596. In the popular book, Harington included the description of a prototype of the modern flush toilet. Sir John installed one of these in his own house and one unconfirmed story also had him installing one for the queen, who lovingly called it her “john”.
Image: Hunter Luisi
California’s Death Valley, more specifically the Shoshone Mines, is the setting for this lonely outhouse. This is actually a nighttime shot, made even more spectacular by the star trails that were also captured. Wish upon a star… while doing your business. Priceless.
Thus ends our tour of lonely cans, crappers, johns, outhouses and Porta-Potties. We owe the word toilet, by the way, to the French, who used a small cloth known as a ‘toile’ to protect their shoulders while being dressed and made up.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these outhouses that answer nature’s call so beautifully – and certainly more comfortably than any bush ever could.