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Hello My name is Thad and Im addicted to flyfishin
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Yesterday me and a pal hiked way into eagle fern forest over off the Clackamas in Oregon to do some fishin. Stupidly, I forgot to bring my water bottle. So I was drinking from mountain run off. One spot the water was falling off moss stuck to a cliff wall. I also was getting the water from eagle creek. I mostly would spit it out just to wet my whistle. I always thought it was safe to drink run off as long as it's cold and running quickly. My buddy although says I could get sick. So whats the reel skinny? Can I get sick if I swallow huge gulps, or would I be alright. Seems like I 've been doing it since I was a kid and never got sick.
 

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Unfortunately there are bactria and acid in all the water that is untreated. You could get a good case of the runs or maybe nothing. It depends on the amount and the source. If you're lucky, you won't have any side effects.
 

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Just an Old Man
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I can still remember drinking water from running creeks and stream's when I was a kid. I don't think that I would do it now a days because off all the shit that is floating around in the air. Plus all animals shit in those places now.
 

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Still truckless now farther away
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My wife and I used to hike and backpack all of that area around Mt Hood.and never were sick frome using the water . BUT, you need to know what and where it's coming from. I always read the maps of the area we intended to be in to know where the various streams started and what was above the springs that started the streams. If we could find a spring that was high on a ridge then it was usually safe, If there was a trail or road above you we took no chances. We never used purification tablets but quite often boiled our water especially where others had camped before us. I usually could find a spring in most of the fairly wet areas just by walking around a ridge on a level on the side and listening for the trickle of the water. The worst thing we would find was that people on horse back would ride right into the flow and let the horses drink and mess it up for others while the riders would be able to bring canteens for them selves. We often hiked the Salmon River trail, and enjoyed the various views etc. Do you know that the first flows of the Salmon River on Mt, Hood start in the snow and rocks near the seweage treatment area for Timberline Lodge and go past some of the camp grounds and crossed highways 26 and 35 before it gets down in the good hiking areas. We got by when we used some very small side streams coming into the river from along a ridge. If you have to use water from streams I would watch it but I certainlly wouldn't use just a little I would get hydrated well and watch for symtoms later. In the meen time Good Luck
 

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Still truckless now farther away
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I can still remember drinking water from running creeks and stream's when I was a kid. I don't think that I would do it now a days because off all the shit that is floating around in the air. Plus all animals shit in those places now.
The animals back then were better trained Jim
 

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Make my day
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Giardia lamblia is a protozoal parasite that can infect humans who drink unfiltered water from a well or natural source and causes nausea, gassy foul-smelling diarrhea and eventually weight loss. It is usually treated with the oral medication

You can get this from ANY untreated water. It doesn't matter if it came from a fast stream or dripping off of a moss covered wall. This stuff can live just about anywhere. Birds can spread it.

Climbers have gotten it by melting snow and not treating it.

This wasn't a problem when I was growing up. So drinking right out of a clear running stream was fine. Hell, we carried folding cups on our packs and just scooped up a drink every time we crossed a stream.

Now guardia has spread all the way up to AK. No more free drinks:beer1:

Treat your water. Boil for a few minutes then let set. Or use the pills, taste like shit but you can do it in your canteen. Or filter, fast and the water tastes good.

It takes like 10 days to see symptoms of Guardia.

To bad you can't just kill it with some really hot/spicy food after exposure.

Jeff
 

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Swinger
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One of my girlfriends back in the day got giardia (SP?) from drinking out of high mountain streams we used to hike into in Colorado. She was absolutely miserable for months and damn near died. Ever sence I've been an advocate of purification pumps or Iodine tabs. It just never seemed to be worth the risk after watching her go through that.
 

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Still truckless now farther away
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"Maybe repeated drinking untreated water builds immunities? "
Not to this.
No not to this the last extended trip I took we carried the meds to treat Giardia anf a few other things. we also boiled our water.
 

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I plan to buy a filtration kit for just that reason.
There are dozens of ways to get sick.
Maybe repeated drinking untreated water builds immunities?
I've heard that theory. Guardia is not something new, and an arguement was presented that man had developed a tolerance, or immunity, which became less with the advancement of technology, and the delivery of cleaner drinking water. Not sure of the amount of truth in what was said. Honestly I'm pretty sure I don't want to test the theory either. Growing up I drank water from lots of areas, to include rivers with beavers in them. Never got hit with the unpleasantries.

Now that I am thinking about it, I wonder if anyone has tried to put a spin on it and a new natural way to simply lose weight. Get a former star to speak on an informercial, play it on QVC around 3:00 am and bang! the money starts rolling in...

Guardia Cleanse, a weight loss supplement for those too busy to get their fat a$$ off the couch.
 

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:rofl:just do what I do when I go to mexico. Drink lots of tequila:rofl: After seeing my brother get Giardia, I bought a water filter and a nalgene bottle and i carry it with me in my pack when i am hiking.
 

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Happy to be home in the NW
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Polar Pure iodine crystals are the easiest, cheapest and safest method I have used. You get used to the taste. After a couple weeks in the backcountry tap water tastes funny with out the iodine taste. Cost $13 a bottle - treats 2000 quarts

I have and use a Sweet Water filter when on canoe trips where space and weight are not as much of an issue. On top of the problem of taking up a lot of room/weight in your pack is that they are expensive to replace the filters. Filters need to be replaced after a number of uses or after a period of time regardless of the amount of use. So if you are not going to use your filter to its capacity in a year or two, they are not worth it. Filtering silty water ( 'S' Rivers ) will greatly reduce the lifespan. Filters do not kill viruses either, unless you purchase an additional iodine filter attachment. Not all companies offer this option for their filters.
 

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You can get Giardia from almost any water source. I read it's spread by mammals, not birds, so maybe check on that.

I got Giardia in 1980 from drinking untreated river water. Not fun. I carry and use a water filter when hiking, backpacking, extended river float trips, etc. Sometimes I'll take the calculated risk and drink untreated water based on what I think the likelihood is that any mammal may have crapped in it anywhere upstream. That eliminates most water sources.

Sg
 

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Story. I spent 3 seasons working trail crew in the Bitterroot Mts in Idaho. The water supply for a crew of 4, for the entire summer season, was supplied by going down to the nearest stream and dipping a bucket. None of us ever got sick. The paranoia over mountain water these days is way over blown. Would I drink from Snow Lake on Snoqualmie pass? Considering the level of human traffic, no way. Would I drink from a spring or other running water coming off a ridge as I hike into Snow Lake? Yep. Would and have and will never taste better water. Last summer was fishing the Selway River which happens to be in the Bitterroots and got grief from my partner for drinking from springs, runoff, etc. (if you are reading this "L", you will remember). To me the pleasure of drinking the purest, freshest and most delicious water in the world is well worth the remote chance I'll get a bug.

Trevor. Thanks for the .pdf. Good article. Sounds like infection is fairly widespread around the world and symptoms range from nothing to months of misery. Also sounds like licking a toy at your local daycare is far more likely to give you giardia than drinking untreated mountain water. Ewwww.
 

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Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working
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Working in the woods for 40 years I did not filter water for the first 20 years of so. Later started filtering sometimes and drinking out of streams at other times. Granted after the first ten years I was spending more time behind a desk than out in the woods.

I hate filtered water. So I did a little survey of other Foresters. Half filter, half do not. Almost seems like an age thing. The older Foresters always drank from streams and continue to do so.

Some Foresters said that their drinking was watershed specific. They would drink from some watersheds and not others due primarily to wildlife exposure.

There was one study in the Sierra Nevada's where the author tested stream water and suggested that personal hygiene had more to do with it than water quality. Quite frankly, most people did not wash their hands. He drinks stream water.

That said, those people I know that had (have) Giardia have said they would do anything to avoid going through that experience again. They also mentioned that they have remained sensitive to bacteria in their water. Life is just not the same afterwards.

So there you go. Drinking stream water will probably NOT make you sick. But if it does you will live to regret it.
 

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Wow, surprising level of ignorance on this topic here.

Polar Pure iodine crystals are the easiest, cheapest and safest method I have used. You get used to the taste. After a couple weeks in the backcountry tap water tastes funny with out the iodine taste. Cost $13 a bottle - treats 2000 quarts
Iodine does not kill cryptosporidium, which is another cyst you need to watch out for in the backcountry. Neither does bleach.

In order to be safe, you need to treat your water 100% of the time. Giardia can be VERY hard to diagnose, and VERY hard to get rid of.

Here are two articles I wrote about water safety.

http://www.wta.org/magazine/1044.pdf/at_download/file
http://www.wta.org/magazine/WA-TRAILS-10-08-GEAR.pdf/at_download/file
 
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