Why do people keep falling into trailhead toilets?

Ein Plumsklo im Wald
A woman had to be rescued from an outhouse toilet in Michigan – a messy extraction that bears uncanny similarities to a 2022 incident (Image credit: Joern Siegroth)

In April 2022, when a hiker in Washington state had to be rescued by fire crews after falling headfirst into a trailhead toilet, it seemed like one of those exceptional headlines that you'll never read again. Except that it just happened, again.

Last week, Michigan State Police announced that first responders had been called to the DNR boat launch at Dixon Lake, a popular fishing and swimming spot near Gaylord, to aid a woman who had fallen into an outhouse toilet. A news release reports that the call came in around 11 a.m. on September 19 after the woman was heard calling for help from inside the toilet. When first responders arrived at the scene, the woman told them that she had dropped her Apple Watch into the toilet. 

She reportedly then lowered herself into the toilet to retrieve it, before realizing she was stuck. It took Conservation Officers from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Police State Troopers and Otsego County EMS to remove the toilet, and hoist the woman to safety using a strap.

The case bears an uncanny similarity to the 2022 incident, in which the woman had dropped her phone into the toilet, however in that case she was able to reach her phone and call for help herself.

Officials urge all hikers and campers that if you drop anything into an outhouse toilet, no matter how valuable it seems, you should never chase after it, as serious injury may occur.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.