Mount Rainier is a glorious mountain, to be sure, but the hot-box, fly-factory-fragrant toilets at Camp Schurman might be the most harrowing part of any summit bid. But now the mountain has at least one glorious john to match: Today, park rangers are holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate activation of a brand new, $70,000 toilet. This state-of-the-art green toilet at Cougar Rock Campground uses cedar chips and other techniques to eliminate the nastiest of the nasty without using water or creating any odor.
Before anyone gets all uppity about our tax dollars literally going down the crapper, we can breathe a sigh of relief: The toilet was donated by a Japanese non-profit environmental group, and set up by Groundwork Mishima, a volunteer group from Japan's Mount Fuji (a "sister mountain" and park to Rainier). Groundwork Mishima sends volunteers each year to aid in maintaining Rainier. Also, presumably they have a love of only the finest when it comes to green personal relief systems.
Campers won't actually be able to use the fancy feces facilitator until June 13 — Cougar Rock has been closed until then because of excessive amounts of snow. We'd appreciate it if the first person to use the killer commode would drop us a line and answer just one question: Was it the perfect poop?
— Ted Alvarez