[pct-l] Food for the trail/and protecting it from critters/UV water purification

Edward Anderson mendoridered at yahoo.com
Mon May 17 16:20:54 CDT 2010

Hello Sherrry,
Ultra Violet radiation is a component of solar radiation.  UV can be used effectively as a means of purifying water on the trail.  I did sometimes use this method during my PCT journey. It worked well for me for several reasons:  Since I traveled by horse I was always seeking places to camp that would have graze, water, and trees to highline my horse.  In some cases the trail distance to the next place like that (revealed by my research) may be only 8 or 10 miles - while the next good place beyond there might be another 20 miles.  If I passed on the first it would become a longer day than I would want - since I was not in a hurry. So, arriving early - and if it was also a nice sunny day, I would take the opportunity to take a solar shower - and at the same time purify some water.  Also, I often took my "0" days on or near (I often "stelth" camped) the PCT rather than hitching into towns as most of the hikers do. Then I would have plenty
 of time to shower and purify water. And enjoy the wilderness - - -
I want to be more specific in describing my approach.  I needed a nice clear sunny day.  I would spread out my multiple-use, medium-weight black plastic garbage bag, preferably on a slope to favor a near right angle to the sun.  On it I would place my 2.5 gallon solor water heater and my four 20 oz. plastic water bottles containing water that is already clear.  I always allowed at least two hours to purify the water. The shower water usually would take less time.  Of course I also brought a filter - the sun does not always shine!
A man who was testing water at the various springs said that you can also get safe water directly from clear, still, ponds or small lakes if it is a sunny day with little wind.  He said "just scoop it from the top 4 or 5 inches. It will have been purified by the UV from the sun.
There is a product on the market that I noticed a couple hikers using that does not require the sun - it uses batterys and a special bulb.  It is called a SteriPEN and you can find it on the web.  Check out UV water purification on the web.


From: Sherry Smith <sherry_s1954 at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Food for the trail/and protecting it from critters
To: "Edward Anderson" <mendoridered at yahoo.com>
Date: Monday, May 17, 2010, 4:37 PM

Hi.  Do I understand correctly that if you let water stand in a clear container in the sun for at least two hours the water is then safe to drink?  No chemicals, filters, etc.?

From: Edward Anderson <mendoridered at yahoo.com>
To: sherry_s1954 at yahoo.com
Cc: pct-l at backcountry.net
Sent: Mon, May 17, 2010 5:23:04 AM
Subject: FW: Food for the trail/and protecting it from critters

--- On Sun, 5/16/10, Edward Anderson <mendoridered at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Edward Anderson <mendoridered at yahoo.com>
Subject: FW: Food for the trail/and protecting it from critters
To: pct-l at backcountry.net
Cc: sherry_s1954 at yahoo.com
Date: Sunday, May 16, 2010, 11:34 PM

#yiv1695859483 #yiv902599469 #yiv1203569104 #yiv639977233 p.MsoNormal

 Hi Folks, 
 I didn’t hike the PCT, I rode it on one horse, virtually unsupported, during 2008 and 2009.   My approach was to leave my horse in safe hands and drive my rig north, caching as I went, park the rig (always pre-arranged), and then often hitch back to my horse. Sometimes I was very lucky and was offered a much-appreciated ride by an angel.   I bought all of my trail food before leaving home – about four months prior in 2008 and three months prior in 2009.  I Packed it in large Rubbermaid plastic containers and stored it in my camper and in the horse trailer. I would pack my resupply caches for the next section to be ridden, and then cache them (very well camouflaged – I was careful to leave no trace when caching or after recovering my caches)  near road crossings and trail heads as I drove the rig north. Then I could resupply myself as I rode north towards where I had parked my rig. ( I learned that, in caching and in camp the OPSAKS were
 absolutely odor-proof – they let no smells out. Bears and rodents can’t smell food inside these special plastic bags. You can get them at REI or order them on the net. In those areas where canisters are required hikers ought to put their food in Opsaks and then put the Opsaks in the canisters. If you DON’T do that (use the odor- proof Opsaks inside the canisters)  bears will, of course, be attracted to the food smells coming from inside the canisters and you will have bears around your camps. Needless to say, you must be very careful that you don’t deposit food smells outside the Opsak bags, or, for that matter, anywhere else around your camp, on your clothes, or in your tent. I also used mothballs (in cotton tobacco sacks) in my caches and around camps since the smell of mothballs is very unappealing to bears. (always recover the mothballs for reuse). 
 Most of the food that I brought is available from Super Markets or from Costco at quantity prices. I  started out from the Mexican border carrying 2 pounds/day of my food (I also carried 6 pounds/day of horse food). Since I was soon losing weight on the 2 pounds, I  had to up it to 2.5 pounds for each trail day. Since I mostly lived on the PCT and rarely visited towns, I rarely ate in restaurants as most hikers do. By the time I reached Washington, I was eating two lunches instead of one. Whether you are thru-riding ( I did not always ride – I sometimes hiked. And I always carried a knapsack weighing nearly 20 pounds - a survival strategy in case I was ever seperated from my horse overnight.) or thru-hiking everyone seems to lose weight on the trail – and we are all different as to our calorie requirements  I would like to point out that none of that food spoiled – except – I sometimes had a little mold on the Baby-Bel  cheeses only in
 those cases when I had crushed them while packing.  They were still edible – I would just trim off the mold from the cheese where there had been cracks in the wax covering.  The following is a list of the food that I brought: 
BREAKFAST:  Instant oatmeal in several flavors. Nuts to add to oatmeal – walnuts and pecans. Dehydrated fruits to add to oatmeal – raisins, blueberries, cranberries. Bars – Nature Valley Crunch Bars – I would break them up and add them to my oatmeal. To drink - Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate Sensation (160 calories). Nestles “Nido” powdered instant whole milk – to add to oatmeal and to the hot chocolate. 
LUNCH: Energy bars – Nature Valley Trail Mix, Clif Bars, Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Nut, Snickers with Almonds. Cheese – Baby-Bel in the three flavors. Drink – Tang. Nuts – in the small 2 ounce packages. Dehydrated fruit – a variety. These lunch foods could all be eaten while I was riding if I wanted to. 
DINNER: Knorr Pasta Sides in all flavors. Macaroni and Cheese. Idahoan instant flavored mashed potatoes in several flavors. Gravy mixes in different flavors. Ralphs Rice and Sauce in different flavors. BabyBel cheese in the three different flavors ( I would add the cheese and the Nido whole milk to the Pasta Sides and to the Macaroni and Cheese for flavor and for the extra calories.  Drink – Swiss Miss Chocolate with the Nido powdered whole milk.  I also sometimes made salads from some wild plants that I knew of.  You can buy powdered salad dressings in different flavors. 
VITAMINS: Centrum Silver. Citra-Cal 
WATER: I filtered any water that would be questionable due to its source – lakes, rivers, large streams and creeks. I usually got my water from running springs and from very small creeks if they were clear and running fast and I was not in cattle country and could see by my map that there was nothing higher up that would be likely to contaminate.  I could carry up to 130 ounces (Four 20 0z bottles plus a canteen) of water and usually topped up whenever I found a good source. This amount of water could last me up to two days without refilling if I was careful. Another method of purification that I sometimes used was UV (ultra violet). If I got to camp early on a sunny day and was heating water anyway for my solar shower, I would also place my water bottles, containing clear water, in the full sun.  I used the clear plastic Gator-Aid 20 ounce bottles with the labels removed. If you allow two hours or more in the full sun your water will be safe to


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