Water treatment reflections. Have you gotten sick?

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Re: Water treatment reflections. Have you gotten sick?

Post by creekfeet » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:34 pm

I never filter my water, as I consider drinking water right from the source as a major thrill of backpacking. In theory I try to be smart about where I take water from, but due to desperation and more often sheer laziness, I've pulled water from plenty of places I really shouldn't have. It's always a joy to take a relative newcomer to the Sierra backcountry and see their reaction when you don't filter. In my personal experiences, these folks usually give up on their filters/iodine tablets pretty early on the trip.

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Re: Water treatment reflections. Have you gotten sick?

Post by sekihiker » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:46 am

In my life, I have had only one bout of severe intestinal disturbance which was upon return to California from a tour of military duty in SE Asia.

Several years later, I drank water and ate local food in Baja for a few months and lomotil quickly cured any intestinal disturbances.

Filters didn't exist in the late 50's when I started hiking. Some people boiled their water or used iodine but I never did. Our Boy Scout troop spent many weekends along side a creek with cattle upstream and no one got sick.

I first heard of water filters after returning to California in the late 80's. I used them for a few years until I read that UV purifies the upper few inches of lake water at higher elevations. I haven't treated water since then. I do carry a small filter just in case the water looks nasty. So far I haven't used it.

For the last several years, I spend most of my time in the southwestern part of the John Muir Wilderness where a lot of cattle are run. So far so good.

I understand why some of us faithfully treat all of our water. If I returned from a trip to the Sierras and had a bout of diarrhea like the one I had when I came back from SE Asia, I'd probably start treating my water.

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Re: Water treatment reflections. Have you gotten sick?

Post by SSSdave » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:16 am

Example of some map locations I recall drinking from without any filtering on the 9-day trip we returned from a week ago over Piute Pass.
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