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To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

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Re: To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:47 pm

I dip, every day. But, I use very little sunscreen (only my face) and by the time I am ready to dip it is probably all gone. I rarely use insect repellant. I rather just cover up with long sleeves and head net. In the water quality business, there is a saying "dilution is the solution to pollution". I do not dip in tiny ponds where I may have undue impact. A nice big stream with a good current is great - find a nice pool where you will not get washed downstream! I am over the age where I have accidents in water! Pee before you go in! Life in the mountains would be terrible if I could not regularly dip. The colder the better. Places I do not dip - heavily used areas (Evolution Lake- actually dipped there once only to have a dead rat float up upon me UGH!!!).



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Re: To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby oldranger » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:43 am

Daisy,

Places I do not dip - heavily used areas (Evolution Lake- actually dipped there once only to have a dead rat float up upon me UGH!!!).


Probably better than drinking out of a creek then finding a dead horse in the creek a couple of hundred yards upstream! Luckily it was a short trip and we didn't get sick until we got home.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:22 pm

Everyone I backpack with jumps in lakes and rivers almost every day even when chilly because we dislike being grubby and sweaty plus how it draws mosquitoes. Most places we visit are remote with few or modest number of visitors each summer so in most waters we do not bother removing repellent or sunscreen because the volume of water is vastly greater than the pollutants of everyone that might visit such places each summer. Oh I have washed off up on the shore before jumping in some of the Little Lakes Valley bodies of water, however many of those lakes are small like some of the Gem Lakes with tiny seasonal streams coming in and numbers of visitors about all summer. But I doubt there would be an impact to most lakes in the Sierra especially those with rigorous stream inflows. Would I jump into Long Lake up in the South Fork of Bishop Creek drainage without bothering to remove repellent? Yep. Certainly a lot of visitors each summer but again the volume of water even in that modest sized lake is vastly more than what visitors might add.
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Re: To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby bheiser1 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:39 pm

Well this is all interesting feedback, and I can see I'm not alone in my concerns. But I guess I've been a little excessive in my "solution" (e.g. to skip the dips all together). It seems like a good happy medium is to wash/wipe off what I can with a wet cloth first, away from the water source.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts. I look forward to many a refreshing dip in trailside creeks & lakes this summer \:D/ .
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Re: To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby Cross Country » Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:23 pm

The answer is in terms of quantity. The amount of what could be on on person in comparison to the amount of water in even a small lake is less than miniscule in my opinion. I don't believe there is any chance that it could matter at all. I would like to hear from a physical scientist on this because I certainly am not an expert in this matter. I took a dip in the water 550+ days in 600+ days of backpacking. I really like going to bed relatively clean.
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Re: To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:32 pm

A dip is NOT a bath. Some idiots still are using soap directly in streams and lakes. NO,NO NO!!!
Be careful washing clothing- lots of washing machines do not get all the soap out. I like to double rinse my clothes before I take them out. I have heard that permethian treated clothing (treated yourself, instead of treated by the manufacturer) can bleed some toxics into water that some aquatic species are sensitve to. Not necessarily fish, but stuff fish eat. Again, it is all about dilution. Most lakes and streams quickly dilute all this, but be careful at end of season in those little trickles and puddles.

Many Sierra lakes have soap tasting water. Ugh!! Do not wash dishes directly in streams and lakes. Yes, critters may eat the food, but I really do not like coming after you and looking at your garbage.
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Re: To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby Cross Country » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:44 pm

I'm glad WD mentioned this. I hated seeing soap suds in the water. What inconsiderate clods. I never took soap in the water with me nor washed anything in the water. I always took a sponge bath first and after rinsing off the soap, jumped in. It wasn't perfect but I believe nearly so.
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Re: To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby Scouter9 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:16 am

I really like to dip/wade at the very least and to have the Scouts with us do the same, but have a strong personal/Troop policy that we carry water up and away from the lake(s) to wash ourselves of Bug Repellant and Sunscreen onto the dirt, before going into lakes. No prep for stream crossings. Of course, the *mandatory* sock/under washing is also done up and away, rather than in the lake. After that, I say "dip away" and do it before things cool off, eh? Great to get the grit and sweat out of one's hair (or even multiple hairs for you lucky types) and to ensure some clean feet.

Yes, it's an exercise in dedication sometimes and it can be frustrating to see other backpackers standing in the lake, washing their clothes or #$%@!! dishes. However, we have found that leaving a piece of jerky behind those guys' tents usually begets entertaining karma later. :whistle:
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To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby bheiser1 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:59 pm

It's hard to imaging using soap directly in a fresh water supply. But I believe it happens :(. Wandering Daisy, that's a great point about residual soap in our clothes. I guess the best bet would be to slosh the clothes around Ina plastic bag away from the water supply, eh?
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Re: To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:29 am

The people I have seen using soap in streams are using "biodegradable" soaps, however, it still causes suds and taste, and certainly does not biodegrade in time for the next person that comes along. As for residual soap in clothing, just wash your stuff twice - once with soap, and then once without. If you still see suds in the washing machine, do it even three times. Once the soap is out it is fine to wash clothes in streams. Two years I ran across ago two men who were actually brushing their teeth directly in the stream on Darwin Bench! How hard is it to brush in a cup and spit away from streams? I am not sure if these people are ignorant, stuipd or just lazy.

I am actually allergic to laundry soaps so have to be very careful with residual soap or I get a horrible rash. I use half the recommended laundry soap and then rinse 2-3 times. I do not think I would have realized how much soap stays in clothing if I did not have to deal with daily at home.
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Re: To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby Ska-T » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:36 am

As far as the laundry detergent concerns of Wandering Daisy, I've had great results with Atsko Sport Wash.
http://www.atsko.com/index.php?option=c ... Itemid=106
I use it for all my outdoor/performance clothing. For delicate clothing I use it in a front loading washing machine or the sink for hand washing. Disclaimer: I have no relationship with the company except as a customer. [Note: I use it back home, not in the mountains.]

Here are a few quotes from their web site:
"totally free of dyes, fragrance, phosphates, oxidizers, color, fluorescent whiteners, enzymes, and fillers"
"Wool, silk, cotton, and all delicate fabrics and colors can now be clean and odor free without damage."
"High-tech fibers with special wicking, breathing, or insulating properties can be maintained at peak performance"
"Sport-Wash eliminates the rash, redness, and irritation you've suffered through with other detergents."

It rinses out completely from clothing and leaves no residue, as shown by the experiment linked below. Repeated washing (8 times) in Sport Wash or water (control) resulted in no weight gain to the clothing showing that it rinsed off completely. By comparison, washing in a conventional laundry detergent, liquid Tide for this experiment, resulted in an increase in weight of the clothing after each wash, that is, the Tide left an accumulating residue.
http://www.atsko.com/index.php?option=c ... &Itemid=25
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Re: To Dip or Not to Dip; That is the Question

Postby Ska-T » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:52 am

As far as to dip or not, I used to dip every now and then without much thought. Now I usually wash up with a bandana away from the water source. Especially if I'm going to dip after the "sponge" bath.

At least two things jolted my awareness. One time when getting a permit in SEKI NP the ranger who went over the regulations stated not to swim/bathe in the lakes. Another time I was at Little Five Lakes out of Mineral King and watched several backpackers stand way out in the lake (and one in the middle of the outlet) and soap themselves up. Then they proceeded to apply shaving cream and gave themselves a shave right in the lake. Their rationalization? "It's biodegradable!" Yeah, it degrades slightly faster than conventional soap evaporated on the ground in direct sunlight, not in the water.

Not to be gross, but I also wonder if dippers leave BEHIND residue best left out of potential drinking water that is not sunscreen or mosquito repellant. I advocate some spring cleaning, perhaps with a wet wipe, before dipping.
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