“As I sat there on the rock I realized that, in spite of the closeness of civilization and the changes that hemmed it in, this remnant of the old wilderness would speak to me of silence and solitude, of belonging and wonder and beauty. Though the point was only a small part of the vastness reaching far to the arctic, from it I could survey the whole. While it would be mine for only a short time, this glaciated shore with its twisted trees and caribou moss would grow into my life and into the lives of all who shared it with me. I named this place Listening Point because only when one comes to listen, only when one is aware and still, can things be seen and heard. Everyone has a listening point somewhere. It does not have to be in the north or close to the wilderness, but some place of quiet where the universe can be contemplated with awe.”
-- Sigurd Olson (1899-1982)
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"As evening approached, I came down from the heights of the island, and I liked then to go and sit on the shingle in some secluded spot by the lake; there the noise of the waves and the movement of the water, taking hold of my senses and driving all other agitation from my soul, would plunge me into delicious reverie in which night often stole upon me unawares."
-- Jean-Jacques Rosseau (1712-1778)
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Drinking sufficient water is important throughout the year, but never more so than in summer, when heat and humidity can make it especially hard to stay hydrated.
The negative consequences of dehydration shouldn’t be taken lightly. Symptoms may include dizziness, extreme fatigue, nausea, and simply not feeling well.
Summer headaches are often due to inadequate water intake. If you get a headache while hiking or elsewhere, keep sipping water and see if it goes away.
Occasionally someone on a hike suddenly wants to sit or lie down, and dehydration is frequently the cause. Becoming badly dehydrated can potentially be dangerous.
As you may know, thirst doesn’t usually sufficiently inform us of when and how often to drink. By the time we feel thirsty, we may already be semi-dehydrated.
The best way to take in water, on a hike or at home or work, is to regularly sip or drink slowly. Chugging down water is never wise, especially while exercising.
Contrary to some media scare stories, there’s little risk in drinking too much water unless you go way overboard. “Too much” is usually preferable to not enough.
It’s also important to take in ample salt and electrolytes on warm or hot days when we’re exercising, sweating, and drinking lots of water. Don’t avoid salty foods at this time of year, and for electrolytes consider bringing juice or a sports drink.
Whereas one liter may be adequate on hikes in cool or cold weather, in warm-to-hot weather it’s sensible to bring 2 liters of water on easy hikes and at least 2-3 liters on moderate and strenuous hikes (4 liters during a heat wave). Drink or sip often. Fill your bottles or hydration system before leaving home.
After a hike it’s wise to continue drinking water through the evening (until you have to go to the bathroom frequently) to assure that you’re properly rehydrated.
For the extra refreshment of imbibing cold water during a hike, put at least one plastic bottle in the freezer the evening before the hike. Be sure to leave space for air at the top, since water expands when it freezes (a full container can shatter).
Also, it’s wise to drink plenty of water during the day and evening BEFORE a hike, plus early that morning, so you’re not starting a hike with a water deficit.
Few substances are more essential to life than water, which is easy to take for granted. It’s never more refreshing, thirst-quenching, and delicious (especially in the form of spring water) than when we “drink heartily” on a warm-weather hike.
-- Charlie Cook