Water Consumption In Yellowstone National Park

In today’s America, water is almost out of fashion. Go into any convenience store and you find a mind boggling array of excuses to drink anything but water. Soft drinks, booze and beer, coffee, fruit juices, high caffeine energy drinks, Gatorade and more have all replaced the healthiest liquid of all, good old water. Water has no calories, is free from the tap (and in some areas from the creek), and is more quickly absorbed into the system than anything that the drink industry produces. And our bodies are 70% water, not Coca Cola!

Which is important to remember for backpacking in Yellowstone or, for that matter, backpacking anywhere. Water is the best way to hydrate! Cold water is most quickly absorbed by your body. Leave the powdered flavoring mix at home. Minimize coffee consumption, especially in hot weather. And drink heartily when you stop for a break at a water source. Most folks, either on the trail or at home, don’t drink enough water. A good rule of thumb is for an average-sized man to drink a gallon/day while backpacking, and for an average-sized woman to down at least 3 quarts. More for both in hot weather. A bit less for the kids. But remember this: your sense of thirst does not adequately indicate your water needs. You need more. So drink. Carry it in your belly, not on your back. And keep an eye on the color of your urine. It should be light yellow to clear. If it is dark, then you are dehydrated. Dehydration will rob you of energy and you’ll feel bad. In severe cases it is life-threatening. And there’s just one good cure: drink up! A well-hydrated hiker will simply out-perform she/he who is on the dry side. And the cold high elevation waters of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are some of the purest on Earth!


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