Thursday, August 14, 2014

Keep Hydrated When Hiking/Geocaching

A little over a week before I was one of many friends worried about a fellow geocacher on a good length hike (8.1 miles).   Just eight days later it was me, Papa SNAP!!!, that ran into trouble on a geocaching hike through a local park here in Hampton Roads Virginia.

Although this park had been on our “to do” list for quite some time, I had not planned out the day as I usually do.  We gathered up the supplies and off to the park we went.  I did some quick calculations in the parking lot and decided that two 16 ounce bottles of water should be more than enough to keep me going.  I knew the hike would be somewhere around the 6 – 6.5 mile length and really didn’t want to carry the backpack.  I easily fit 2 bottles of water into the waist bag and off we went.

 Almost 4 hours later I hit a wall.  I really don’t know who placed that wall there but there was no getting over it.  The last half mile had been a task.  Walk a short ways, rest a bit, walk a little more, rest.  Then the wall appeared and I knew I would not make it.  I still had a sip of water left but I had rationed it as far as I could.  Nana was a real trooper as I told her to leave me there and to go get help.  I was actually beginning to feel a little better when the Park Ranger pulled up to check me out but he insisted on calling the EMTs before he gave me a lift back to the parking lot.  The EMTs ended up being my saving grace because as they hooked me up to the monitoring equipment things were not good.  Long story short, I ended up in a hospital for two days recovering from my kidneys shutting down from severe dehydration and my heart had experienced a bad interaction between my blood pressure medication and the dehydration I was experiencing.

Now that I am back at home recovering and getting my strength back, I “googled” “How much water should you take on a hike?”  Most of the websites I looked at said 64 ounces of water for a day-long hike.  Granted, everyone is different, and I for one sweat more than anyone else I know sho I would guess I should take more.   One site I looked at said a half litter (~16 ounces) of water for every mile you hike.  Guess I was off by quite a few bottles.  The hike I had planned was supposed to be about 6 miles but my fit-bit said I walked over 10 miles that day.  Guess I spent more time looking for caches than I had planned!

Yes, I am home now and Yes, I am OK (or at least as OK as I used to be).  Bottom line is pre-planning and, of course, drinking plenty of water.  Please do not go through what I just did - - take plenty of water on your hikes!!!

Special Thanks goes out to my lovely wife (Suffolk Nana or the "SN" of SNAP!!!) of 35 plus years (36 is coming up really fast).  I know it was really hard for her to leave me sitting there and go get help but I do not honestly know where I would be today if she had not left me there to go get help!

Please – Stay Safe (drink plenty of da water) and Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! – Suffolk Nana & Papa


  1. Wow - that is a really scary story. We are glad you are OK and will certainly heed your advice. Thank goodness you weren't alone out there.

  2. Glad to hear you are ok. I went out like that the other day. When I realized how thirsty I was I cut my hike short. At least you had taken water along. I had left mine in the car. I have always heard that when you are thirsty it's too late. Good advice, drink water even if you don't think you need it. Be safe out there my friend.

  3. Glad you are OK. That happened to me once when I got lost cycling one hot July day in NC. Ran out of water with no stores or homes around. Just barely made it to a fire department that had a working hose outside. Lesson learned: Always bring more water than you think that you will need. Plus, I always bring a water filter with me just in case. Happy trials!