I would like to discuss another aspect of preparing for Paddle Georgia that does not involve equipment. This is the art of trying to disengage yourself from the world as you know it. I think this is the hardest part of the preparation. In a world that’s going extremely fast you will have to step into the slow lane. Your job will go from what it is today to waking up with one basic objective, to get on the river and paddle until you get to the takeout. I recognize that not everyone reading this will be employed so your perspective will no doubt be different than mine. I am fortunate to have a means to support my family that has so far weathered the storm of our turbulent economy. This is not to say I have not been impacted by downsizing, consolidation and cost containment, I surely have. Companies continuously strive to do more with less human resources and for those in this situation there is an endless stream of new tasks and responsibilities with little end in sight. My way of dealing with this is to ensure that I never stop striving for balance between work, family and leisure time. This is never achieved completely but I think one must always be mindful of this. When I sent my boys off to college my last discussion with each of them was my infamous “balance” talk. In their case we talked about the balance between getting an education and being on your own for the first time in your life and everything that comes along with that….. nuff said.. I think I got through to them, I was pleased to see the following on my son Will’s Facebook page recently:
Time to talk about one of the other important aspects of being out on a river for a week, Hydration:
From the Paddlers Info Packet for Paddle Georgia:
“Sun and Heat—Hats and appropriate sun screen are recommended. If you get too hot, the river comes with built in air conditioning – get in and cool off. You should carry at least three quarts of water each day to avoid dehydration. Sports drinks with electrolytes are also recommended. The first two days are usually the most difficult as we acclimate from spending lots of time in air conditioned buildings to spending all day in 80-90-degree heat. Prepare by drinking lots of fluids in the days leading up to the trip.”
As my awareness of where our drinking water comes from has grown over the past ten years (that is how long I have been kayaking give or take 6 months) so has my understanding of the importance of hydration. I also discovered that many headaches I would get were probably a direct result of being dehydrated. Dr.org website sums it up:
“Why is it so important to stay hydrated?
Your body depends on water for survival. Did you know that water
makes up more than half of your body weight? Every cell, tissue and
organ in your body needs water to function correctly. For example, your
body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste and lubricate
joints. Water is essential for good health.”
It seems from my research that the average time a person could survive without food is three weeks, survival without water is a mere three days. This is a striking contrast to me and serves to reinforce why we must all seek to protect this resource. We tend to take the availability of clean potable water for granted but according to water.org a staggering 884 million people around the globe lack access to clean water.
So today I add to the list of “must take items”:
5 Kleen Kanteens which I fill up each morning before heading to the river. Most of them are filled with water, one will be filled with a sport drink of some type for electrolyte replacement. This more water than I probably need for the day however on more than one occasion I have run into someone who needs some and it is always nice to be able to offer it. I have come across folks who were bordering on severe dehydration and it is not pleasant. I love Kleen Kanteens, yes they are generally more expensive than other water bottles but they are made for food quality stainless steel, take a beating and keep coming back for more. They do not “color” the taste of the contents and I have yet to have to replace one. Don’t bother getting anything but unpainted silver as any color will quickly get worn off off. This is definitely a case of you get what you pay for. There are imitators and aluminum bottles that look similar but for me it’s Kleen Kanteen all the way based on field testing.
So also started a regime of ensuring proper hydration leading up to the paddle which means I am drinking a lot of water regularly throughout the day.