After I strapped the elk quarter to the packframe, I rinsed my hands and knife with the last contents from my water bottle. Big mistake.
Half way back to the truck, I was thirsty. It just went downhill from there. My head throbbed and my muscles ached. When I finally closed the tail gate on the job, my thigh muscles locked up in cramps.
Lesson learned. Dehydration can cripple a public-land hunt or it can make you miserable when you fish all day in the sun. Top endurance athletes have dropped from cardiac arrest triggered by dehydration. Even relatively mild dehydration will reduce your physical strength and your mental sharpness. That’s not what you want to happen in the backcountry.
Here are some tips for staying hydrated on long treks through public lands:
Pack plenty. At eight pounds a gallon, water is heavy. It’s tempting to save weight by scrimping on water. That’s generally a bad investment. Count on a minimum of two quarts – four pounds…