The other day I was quite busy working with kids, staying active outside most of the day. The afternoon rolled around and I started feeling lightheaded and a little off. Then I realized I hadn’t had anything to drink in awhile. It’s a continual challenge while being active in our dry mountain climate to keep yourself hydrated. What makes it confusing, is that unlike a humid climate, you really don’t sweat much, or when you do sweat, it evaporates quite quickly, so it’s easy to forget about drinking often. But I’ve had several instances since we moved to Colorado of getting dehydrated where I simply didn’t drink often enough. If you haven’t gone to the bathroom in several hours, you’re probably not drinking enough.
One of the things that seems to help a lot while day hiking or backpacking is that many of the newer packs come with a hydration system, or at least a spot to store a water bladder in. When I have water easily accessible, I am more likely to take sips while hiking or biking, which helps a lot. It’s recommended that you take frequent sips of water throughout the day, rather than waiting and gulping down a bunch of water at lunch. I also find that have a lot more energy throughout the day if I stay hydrated by drinking often.
Staying hydrated become even more crucial at higher altitudes, where dehydration can combine with altitude sickness to really affect someone in the worst possible way with headaches and nausea combined. It’s also important when you are engaged in a challenging activity where you are sweating to replace electrolytes. Something I have found to be very handy is powdered Gatorade. I just keep some in a little Zip-loc baggy in my day pack or backpack, and it’s easy enough to mix with water. I really seems to pick me up when I feel like I am in the early stages of “bonking.”