Episode-1805- Luciano Nisi on Ten Essentials for Every Hike — 7 Comments

  1. Jack,

    Good closing song. Makes me think of carefree times hiking, hunting and camping in Colorado.

  2. I’m only a short way into this one, but I know it is going to be great. I’ve been lost twice. Once while hunting a 350 acre farm that I knew like the back of my hand until I got to an odd corner of it in low light and snow. The other time, my wife and I were hiking a well traveled section of the AT in MD. The trail blazes started to look the same (we were supposed to follow white and ended up on blue) and suddenly we realized we weren’t getting back to our starting point as quickly as we thought we should. We ended up going four miles and several hours out of our way on a 90 degree plus day as night closed in. We were very short on water by the time we got back to the truck. That was when we started taking our hiking preparedness more seriously even when, “we’re just going a few miles in well traveled country”. I plan to buy the book and share it. Anxious to hear the rest of the podcast.

  3. Hydration: Don’t over do it. Humans are uniquely designed to tolerate a certain amount of dehydration. Push it the opposite direction and you could end up dead. Don’t drink unless you are thirsty. One of the most notorious instances of hyponatraemia occurred in the 2002 Boston marathon when Cynthia Lucero collapsed and died in the emergency room. They thought she was dehydrated until her brain started expanding out of her skull.

    If you want to learn something about hydration in endurance sports here is a link I strongly recommend Noakes’ book which is referenced in the link. He spent 20 years exposing the crap coming out of Gatorade which unfortunately resulted in the deaths of a number of endurance athletes. Note that prior to the 1970’s endurance athletes were coached to eat and drink as little as possible because it was thought to hinder their performance. Gatorade changed all of that, and it was all to sell product. It had nothing to do with performance or any health benefits. Gatorade is the last thing I would ever carry on a hike. If you really want to learn about how your brain and hormones regulate your electrolytes and hydration read Noakes’ book,

  4. Samuel,

    Hydration during hiking and competition sports are not the same thing at all. During extreme competitions there is full medical support and hydration stations. – I have done medical support on many civilian and military competitions both as a Combat medic and civilian Paramedic. Your example of the runner Cynthia Lucero also does not explain how she prepared for the competition, if she had any underlying medical problems and if she was dehydrated before the race; simply saying she was not dehydrated when they thought she was does not validate anything, it is a unique situation.

    Your comments about waiting until you are thirsty are not valid. And humans are not designed to support dehydration; we are not camels. To suggest that a person waits until thirsty is asking for trouble and they will already be in a state of dehydration. Thirst is a latent sign of dehydration the others are fully covered in my blog on hydration. The body needs water to function, along with a balance of electrolytes. A person can continue with an off balance of electrolytes for a short time but without the essential water they will begin to decline rapidly.

    Getting water logged as you suggest is very difficult as your kidneys will ensure that your body excretes the fluids that are in excess. Water restriction should only be used for persons with medical issues that warrant that and those persons should not be hiking extended distances anyway. I was a combat airborne medic and supported 120 soldiers on dismounted ops with full packs and fighting gear, often in humid temperatures. Our only support was what we hand and helo medic-vac if required. During marches we would have forced water breaks where the soldier would have to drink, thirsty or not.

    You must be cautious when making claims to suggest that people do not drink water often when doing exercise. I have responded to residences as a city Paramedic from people who were dehydrated from one day at the lake and most did not consume any alcohol at all. Children are also more susceptible as their compensation fail very quickly and suddenly if they become dehydrated. Prior to climbing mountains I pre-hydrate my body beginning the evening before to ensure the cells are fully hydrated before the climb. High altitude also has an effect on hydration levels.

    Your comment on Gatorade is also not valid. Gatorade is a useful electrolyte but people should buy G2 as it has lower sugar that reduces the water absorption. Also water should be the primary hydration not Gatorade. On extended hikes water and ORS (Oral hydration salts) should be used or you can suffer heat cramps, and or heat exhaustion.

    Please refer to my blog on hydration for further information on how to stay hydrated. I will assume you have not read it prior to your post.!Staying-Hydrated-while-Hiking/c9u3/555bd6280cf298b2d3cd55f3

  5. Your recent mention of this episode when talking to Doc Bones jogged my memory that I intended to comment here. You mentioned a volunteer SAR operation took 4 hours for a 1.5 mile evac. I can say that’s about right.

    I was with a group of about 20 hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains on a crappy winter day. We were all hard core and were toughing out the drizzle that morning. We were just sick and tired of being limited and cooped up all week. So we went out and it was as pleasant as it could be in drizzling rain. Until one of our companions slipped and fell. She tried and tried but was unable to bear any weight on one of her legs.

    We were on the side of a mountain on a trail with maybe a 12-18″ footpath and about 1.5 – 2 miles from the road. We had sent some ahead to contact the park service. We rigged up a sling she sat in and put a man on each corner of her and walked her out about 1/2 of the way back. We rotated frequently. I’m not sure how long it took, but when you’re on a corner, it’s a long time.

    A backcountry EMT met us just as we were nearing a dangerous creek crossing. We managed to get her across. A backcountry gurney showed up with some more folks (basically a cage on a single mountain bike wheel with brakes). They put her into a burrito of sleeping bags, etc and strapped her in. At that point, rain changed to snow.

    Once she was snug, I left and I think it took me another 30 minutes downhill to get the road. She arrived about another 30-45 minutes later.

    She’d broken her tibia. She’s recovered and is perfectly fine now. Backcountry rescue is definitely something you want to avoid if at all possible. We were lucky we had that many to help.

  6. Hi Bryan,

    Thanks so much for adding your story for the readers and listeners of this podcast. True life stories are the best way to reinforce the reality of how important it is to be prepared for the unexpected. Fortunately, it had a positive outcome and glad to hear she has fully recovered. Had events been different, and you were not able to assist her back, you may have had to spend the night in the back country; or, the rescue could have gone on much longer.

    This is where being prepared for that situation can be crucial. I have only used band-aids and blister kit from my First Aid Kit, I always carry a compact; yet, fully stocked one, just in case.

    Thanks for sharing your story.