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Filter your water or not?

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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby copeg » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:04 am

Never had Giardia...not that that is any indication that I'm doing things right. I treat or not based upon where the water is coming from. If I'm unsure, I treat. If I'm sure, I don't. I usually take into consideration the popularity of upstream locations by both people and horses. On most occassions this usually amounts to me hauling the extra weight and using it a few times max on a trip - one of the reasons I often opt towards chemical treatments rather than the heavier alternatives. Of course these decisions come down to familiarity with the area...I think if I were thrown into an area I'm unfamiliar with, say if I were backpacking the Cascades or the Wind Rivers, I will most likely treat just to be on the safe side.



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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby gdurkee » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:38 pm

Mokulmnekid is right. We do tend to concentrate on Yosemite & Sequoia kings. You're pretty safe there. But anywhere cattle have been -- even if off the range for over a year -- there's giardia cysts and you definitely want to filter for both giardia and chryptosporidium (hmmm. spelling -- another nasty stomach bug).

I'm not at all a fan of filters and almost never carry one but a lot of people are more susceptible to giardia and should definitely carry one. There's no question there's been cases from Sierra drinking water -- though as above, most of the cases are from poor hygiene.

g.
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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby ERIC » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:07 pm

Hells Bells, I posted a long response to this topic when it was first posted, but accidentally deleted it when using my post to test out a new bbcode. :retard:

So to answer the question (albeit, less eloquently than I did originally), no, I rarely if ever use a filter. And in my 20+ years of backcountry exploration, I have never caught 'the bug'. Like others have posted, I feel most so-called giardia cases are due to 'other' sanitary issues. And in agreement with another point already posted, I choose wisely the spots I dip my Nalgene straight from the drink. I do carry tablets in case I have no alternative, but to me, drinking unfiltered from the source is a top priority in fulfilling my personal perception of the "wilderness experience". Most times I plan my trips around water sources that potentially fit that goal.

I do have a retro PUR Hiker water filter up for grabs (pay shipping only), if anyone's interested. You can still find replacement filters online for this antique, believe it or not. :)
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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby ndwoods » Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:10 am

I haven't filtered my water in over 15 years and have not been sick. I carry iodine and have used it 2 times in those years. I hike about 20-30 days a year....
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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby markorr » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:27 pm

ndwoods wrote:Pack or Burn your TP and leave the soap at home!.


I couldn't help but notice ndwoods' sig file. What's the consensus on burning TP? I used to do it in WA when the ground seemed saturated, but my wife's convinced me to always pack it out, especially in the Sierras. I'd hate to be responsible for starting a fire somewhere I love. Am I being overly paranoid?
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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby rlown » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:37 pm

In Yose above 9600', you are asked during the permitting process to pack out your TP. Below that where fires are permitted, we burn it.

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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby Mike McGuire » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:47 pm

rlown wrote:In Yose above 9600', you are asked during the permitting process to pack out your TP. Below that where fires are permitted, we burn it.

Russ


Seems like a dumb request to me. As I recall the reason for no fires over 9600' was to keep the sparse but beautiful timberline trees from being burnt for firewood. What possible harm can come from burning TP in situ where it was used--certainly not a fire hazard at that elevation. Sounds like the bureaucrats have forgotten the original reason and retreated to their default "Everything not forbidden is compulsory" attitude.

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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby Buck Forester » Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:36 am

That's why, no matter high I am, I always descend below 9600' to poop. Then I hike back up and continue on. :^o Or, if I'm at 10,600' and there's a 1,000' cliff, I can fire-up my used toilet paper and toss it off the cliff and it will land at the required elevation. :moon:

I'm not sure those two emoticons are visually compatible. :Þ
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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby Hetchy » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:09 pm

Buckforester wrote: " I can fire-up my used toilet paper and toss it off the cliff and it will land at the required elevation. "
Reminds me of when I was a kid, they used to have "Fire Falls" from glacier point in Yosemite. They built a big bonfire and everyone would yell down to camp curry.. awaiting the reply: "Let the Fire Fall!" after which the bonfire was pushed from the edge and spilled out into the abyss.. quite a sight. HA! :D

I too, thought that there must be some confusion about the campfire restrictions (above 9600') and the burning of TP or using a wood burning stove (Zip stove.. provided the wood was gathered below 9600'). I believed the restriction was to protect the remaining wood above timberline.
Could pack out the TP, of course. Could also resort to what one lady hiker I met years ago did: When she laughed at seeing my roll of TP.
I asked "What's so funny?" :retard:
She replied, "You STILL use Toilet paper!" :lol:
I thought for a moment and asked, "So what else is there to use besides a pine cone?".. :retard:
She pulls a plastic bottle with a squirter nozzle.. (you know the kind the old time football players used to drink with) and she smiled proudly and says: "I use this!"
I presume she also had soap along in her posession but I ain't to sure! :moon:
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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby ndwoods » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:06 pm

Good thread. I guess I don't really care as long as it isn't stuffed under a rock! There are some places in the Sierra that are just plain disgusting to walk thru...that's what prompted my sig...
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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby quentinc » Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:43 pm

I did get giardiasis from drinking unfiltered water, but it was my own stupidity. What I thought was fresh-melting snow was down slope from an area that a lot of climbers camped at. It takes about 2 weeks to incubate. It wasn't really all that bad, but the worst part is that it (and/or the medication they give you) screws up your digestion for a long time afterwards.

Still, I only treat (iodine + Vitamin C is a lot lighter and easier than a filter) in crowded areas, which means most of the time I don't bother.
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Re: Filter your water or not?

Postby rlown » Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:29 pm

Did your doctor diagnose you with giardiasis? downstream from a non-infected human would point to something else.. like e.coli. From what i read, someone has to have it to pass it on.


Just curious,

Russ
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