Since we’re talking about water – let’s discuss what you should put in your water. It takes about four to six hours for your body to deplete its reserves of minerals and electrolytes, so this is one hike for which you should ingest some sort of energy product. Your body needs things like sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine and magnesium to keep the furnace burning. You get all these from your normal diet, but on an extended endurance event, you may use up your stores. Dehydration will ruin your day. You may “hit the wall,” have poor judgment and be unable to continue the hike. A good tasting fluid will encourage you to drink more often. Dehydration impairs human performance whenever your body fluid level falls below 98% of normal.
The main cause of dehydration is fluid loss through sweating. Sweating is a good process, since it releases heat generated by working muscles to the air. It is the body’s cooling mechanism. It’s been known for decades that the performance of athletes is hampered by a loss of fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates. Dehydration strains the cardiovascular system by reducing blood volume. For every liter of fluid lost during prolonged exercise, body temperature rises by 0.3°C, heart rate elevates by about eight beats per minute, and the volume of blood pumped by the heart per minute declines by 1 liter/min. The choices of which product you use will take some experimentation during your training period. Most are easy to carry and I put the powdered crystals in a double zip lock bag (to prevent loss) and add the product to my freshly treated water. I add about two tablespoons of powdered energy drink mix per quart. Since I carry two one-quart bottles, I try to keep a balance of one bottle of clear water and one bottle of energy drink.
“Drink before you’re thirsty” is a great guideline. Your practice hikes will show you how much water you need. The old sailor’s rule is that you should “pee clear.” If you’re voiding yellow, you perhaps are not drinking enough.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “The warden threw a party in the county jail. The prison band was there and they began to wail. The band was jumpin’ and the joint began to swing. You should’ve heard those knocked out jailbirds sing. ” – Jailhouse Rock. – Elvis
*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com