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#11607 - 03/15/11 06:16 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
catpappy Offline


Registered: 03/06/10
Posts: 120
Loc: acworth, ga
My 2 cents worth real quick.

Ever since I got my drivers license in 76 I think, I would at every chance head up into the mountains of North GA and NC and go on over night / multi-day hiking trips. Never filtered, never treated the water. Never got sick. In 79 I thru hiked the AT. Never filtered, never treated the water. Did this for 5 months. Never got sick. Continued putting the miles in into the 80's drinking lots of stream and spring water.

The Southern Appalachains are a biologically rich area. Here you have thousands of species of vertebrates and invertebrates pissing and pooping all over the land and in the water. Even the amoebas, flagellates and protozoas excrete waste. Still I gladly dipped my Sierra cup and drank and never got sick.

Then in the mid 80's the ads for water filters started showing up in Outside and Backpacker. The one with the girl coyote pissing in the stream got to me I guess, and I went out and bought a Sweetwater filter, convinced that the next sip of unfiltered mountain water would be my last. Now the romance was gone. The Sierra cup sat at home on a shelf and I now filtered into a Nalgene bottle.

I did this for a few years, and then it dawned on me - wait, Giardia has been around for millions of years most likely and I never got it before. So now I'm back to dipping and drinking on the go. Most liberating. Until a weapons grade strain of Giardia evolves I'll take my mountain water as is.

PS - I do run water with a lot of particulate in it through a paper coffee filter.

John

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#11609 - 03/15/11 07:23 PM Re: Water purification [Re: catpappy]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7228
Loc: Fresno, CA
catpappy wrote:
> I did this for a few years, and then...

I can relate to that. Ten years ago, my son and our friend and did a PCT section from Tuolumne Meadows to Sonora Pass, carrying a Sweetwater filter, and pumping every drop.  Then, the filter got a bit clogged, and the pump lever broke! We thought we were really in for it!

Somehow we got through that trip without dying. Amazing!

Then I started reading on these forums about how overblown the water filter business was. Made sense.

You sure described the sensation, catpappy: liberating.

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#11610 - 03/15/11 07:31 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Then I started reading on these forums about how overblown the water filter business was. Made sense.


Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
I am fearful of giardia (because I had it, so it isn't extremely unlikely to ingest those critters in the High Sierra).




Fish-Man! With testimonials galore assuring us of the Shan-gri-la status of Sierra Water, one is lead to wonder: Just what crime against the Mountain Gods did you commit???!?!? confused
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#11616 - 03/16/11 04:39 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Bee]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1025
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Bee
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Then I started reading on these forums about how overblown the water filter business was. Made sense.


Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
I am fearful of giardia (because I had it, so it isn't extremely unlikely to ingest those critters in the High Sierra).




Fish-Man! With testimonials galore assuring us of the Shan-gri-la status of Sierra Water, one is lead to wonder: Just what crime against the Mountain Gods did you commit???!?!? confused


I confess. I've been bad. I've made negative comments about horses not being native to the Sierra and having no business up there other than to make us sick and to force overbuilding of trails.

I paid my debt to the mountain gods by exploring the 3rd world health system in this country:

I'll never forget the runaround to find somebody to get me antibiotics in Manteca on a weekend, or the $276 at the urgent care (which my insurance never covered - "not an authorized provider") to tell the nurse what my problem was, but first being forced to watch a blasting TV with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the waiting room for several hours, so i could spent 10 minutes with a nurse telling her what I had. She sends me to the lab across town that had already closed for the weekend while I was in their waiting room, so I went back for another waiting room session to insist on the prescription without lab report. More ridiculous TV for 2 hours in the waiting room while being ignored. Eventually another brief chat with the nurse, and $15 later I left Walgreens with 15 pills of Metronidazole (gotta get that stuff prescribed pre-hike from now on). 2 more days of apparently unchanged symptoms followed - and those are some symptoms - before I could leave town. Spent enough on the hotel to buy me water filters for the rest of my hiking days.

It felt like I was somewhere in Honduras.
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#11619 - 03/16/11 06:55 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Fishmonger]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7228
Loc: Fresno, CA
We sure have a lousy health care system. Hospital emergency rooms are just as bad. Never get sick on a weekend!

So Fish-man... did you ever get it positively identified? If not, then it could have been any number of other bugs.

In my case, I had intermittent symptoms for ~two weeks before I went to the doctor. Got a positive id, then the medication. After the first pill, I never had a symptom again. Maybe mine was a light case -- I don't know for sure if there can be light or bad cases.

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#11620 - 03/16/11 07:28 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1025
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Steve C

So Fish-man... did you ever get it positively identified? If not, then it could have been any number of other bugs.

In my case, I had intermittent symptoms for ~two weeks before I went to the doctor. Got a positive id, then the medication. After the first pill, I never had a symptom again. Maybe mine was a light case -- I don't know for sure if there can be light or bad cases.


if it was another bug, and your experience is "normal," then there's an even bigger problem out there. No, I didn't find out what it was for sure - never had reason for the biopsy, since on the Monday when the lab opened, things were starting to show progress. I'd probably be out a few hundred dollars more if I had bothered to get that bipopsy.

My case was textbook giardia according to the nurse, and it wasn't a one pill recovery thing - in fact, things kept getting worse initially following the first two or three pills. It was at least a 5 day recovery. The whole experience was like a "body flush." Symptoms? You don't want the details, but let's just say you're not going to get a lot of sleep for a while, and you don't want to drink, even though you know you're getting dehydrated. It's the most insane thing I ever experienced and I am glad it was me and not one of my kids who got it.

what may have worsened my case was that I did have intermittent symptoms and used immodium to counteract them. I recall first having issues 2+ weeks before exiting the mountains. Learned later that immodium only helps these buggers to multiply by slowing the body's response to get rid of them. Once they are then established at a larger count, things get extreme.

Bascially, use immodium with extreme caution - it may be a brief relief, but if there is a chance you are dealing with giardia, you may just be compounding the problem by giving these critters time to multiply exponentially.
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#11621 - 03/16/11 07:43 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Fishmonger]
Mike Condron Offline


Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 215
Loc: Now Manteca, CA
It may not be 100% effective but I filter because I hope to filter out all the human bits that may be in the water. Upstream bathing, crapping in waterways, too close to the waters edge, etc. A bit of shit in a barrel of wine makes it a barrel of shit.
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#11622 - 03/16/11 07:46 AM Re: Water purification [Re: Mike Condron]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2211
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
I'm getting symptoms just reading this thread!
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#11624 - 03/16/11 08:33 AM Re: Water purification [Re: wagga]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1025
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: wagga
I'm getting symptoms just reading this thread!


that's just the radiation coming in from the west...
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#11705 - 03/18/11 01:52 PM Re: Water purification [Re: Steve C]
CaT Offline


Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 694
Loc: Blacklick, OH (formerly SoCal)
Quote:
We sure have a lousy health care system.

While I do understand what you are saying (Cynthia and I have done more than one ER visit in the past year or two), try living in Cambodia, where I spent two weeks this summer. It will quickly realign your perspective.

CaT
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