Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why I do not treat my water.

Here is a topic that a lot of people will disagree with, but never the less, I think it is a very worthy subject. I never treated any water on the CDT. In fact I never treated water on the AT, or PCT. One thing for sure though, is the CDT has some of the worse water sources I have encountered on any of my long distance hikes.

Some people will say I am immune to water born illnesses, but in all reality, I have a system I live by, and so far it seems to work. What I see, is a lot of people pumping their filters, and or adding poisonous chemicals to their water, and waiting to drink it some time later. They therefore carry extra water, due to not wanting to pump again or wait for their chemicals to kill off what ever they fear is in their water.

First and foremost, I always try to retrieve the water from the highest {uphill} point in which to retrieve. People usually pollute the source, closest to the trail. I am also careful to pick the best source, when there are multiple sources. Second, I start this process on day one, so that I begin to adapt to my environment, and try to start in moderation, such as drinking town water as much as possible. I also study my maps, attempting to plan my sources, as I proceed. I change my water bottles at every town!!!

My philosophy is this, people make themselves sick, by not being clean, and or sharing with others. People also can adapt to different environments, and that people who get sick from water, get sick from sudden and extreme changes. It is like you see, when going to other countries and such. The natives are fine, its just the visitor that gets sick. I also think that ingesting small amounts of toxic poisons in your treated water is far worse than possibly getting sick on the trail.

The Cure. Before every hike I go see my doctor and ask for some antibiotics for my travels. I explain the possibilities, and have never been turned down for receiving medicines. I also carry anti diarrhea medicines, like Imodium AD. It works the best.

 On one of my first long hikes, I got sick. In fact I got real sick. But what made me "real" sick was dehydration. I learned a lot that year. I learned it was not the water, but those unsanitary places we sometimes stay, or maybe one of those things we touched after one of those hikers, that never cleans. I also learned how to stay clean. But most importantly, I learned the hard way, that you can reverse the effects of sickness, by a simple pill. When you get diarrhea, you need to stop it!!! Imodium will do that, and will stop your body from getting into severe dehydration. While the Imodium is doing its job, it is time to take a antibiotic.

 If I begin to have loud growling in my stomach, and am passing gas excessively, I then wait for a loose stool. If I am now convinced it is some kind of ingested sickness, I pop 2 Imodium ADs. I wait till nighttime, and I eat 1/2 a dose of antibiotic. I wake up and eat the other 1/2. If I continue to have diarrhea, I continue that pattern. Thru-hiking and thru-hikers will shake illnesses fast, for we have become extraordinary machines. I have not had to use this formula in a while, but it works. I learned some of it the hard way, but was also taught by another hiker. The most important thing is stop the diarrhea.

Like I said, I did not get sick in any way this year. I owe it to my practices, which include being clean as I can, and avoiding unnecessary contact with others. I soon became part of my environment. I just think it is a shame to see people putting chemicals into their body, and buying into the filter company's propaganda.