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River water safe to drink?


Alpo

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Regarding boiling water at higher elevations, l used to camp at 8600 feet in San Bernardino National Forest. I remember deciding to make pasta and stewed tomatoes one evening for my dinner. I got the water boiling and put the noodles in the water. Once they got to boiling again I timed them for 12 minutes then spooned a noodle out to test it. It was crunchy. That’s when I remembered that I would have to boil it longer at elevation. I think I boiled them for around 20-22 minutes before they were the way I like them. 

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When I was a youth we lived in Creede, Colorado and the water for the town came from Willow Creek, north of town. In the spring during run off the water was often the color of chocolate milk and throughout the year it was never clear as there was no filtration or chlorination plant for the Creede water system at the time. Between Creede and Wagon Wheel Gap there was a spring with a parking area and the people of Creede would fill up containers for their drinking water. The spring water wasn’t gushing out of the pipe so it took awhile to fill up numerous 5 gallon jugs. I kind of enjoyed the trips to the spring but my sisters found it boring so it was usually just my step dad and I and we visited with a lot of people waiting our turn to fill up.

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I still do some backpacking and we always boil or filter the creek water. Most of it where we go is probably fine but it's unwise to assume it.

 

After dinner we'll boil a couple pans of water, cover to cool and refill the water bottles in the morning.

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You mentioned they were stuck in a snow storm,  I would opt to melt fresh snow for coffee water rather than hike down to the creek.

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I have been told, by scientific people that should know, that snow takes up 10 times the amount of space as water. If you get 10 inches of snow, if it had been raining you would have only gotten one inch of rain.

 

So if I were to take my standard 10-cup coffee pot and fill it up with snow and put it on the fire, by the time the snow melted I would only have one cup of water.

 

Now if I happen to have a couple of gallon pots, I can see filling them up with snow and putting them on the fire, and eventually I would probably get five or six cups of water, and could make coffee.

 

Having no experience of my own with that cold wet white stuff, I'm having to rely on the scientific information. I would go to the creek.

 

After thinking a moment, I remembered that a half a gallon is 8 cups. So a gallon would be 16 and 2 gallons would be 32. And melting down the 32 cups of snow you would end up with three and a quarter cups of water. Still not enough to make a pot of coffee.

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On 2/23/2024 at 11:06 PM, Alpo said:

Do you suppose there is any water out there in the wilds, these days, that is safe to drink?

 

The book I'm reading was written in the 50s. It starts off with the guy going hunting. He camped out the night before the season opened, and the next morning he goes down to the creek to get water to make coffee. I'm about 2/3 of the way through it right now and they're holed up in this cabin in a snowstorm, and the next morning he went down to get water from the creek.

 

And it was probably safe to drink most water out in the woods in the 50s.

 

But nowadays. Would you?

 

I mean if the choice was drinking water that maybe not so good or dying of thirst, well yeah I drink the unknown water.

 

But when I go off road I not only have several gallons of drinking water in the truck, but I've got a life straw (which truthfully I hope I never use).

 im going to give you the proven response that did not result in me having any ill health , 

 

im not going to comment on today , but 15-20 years ago we used to visit the boundary canoe waters on the US /CANADIAN boarder regularly with our children , and we drank the water from the middle of those pristine lakes after we boiled it , 

we did not use the fancy filter systems available today - we had those of the time 'just in case' but we boiled our water because the "beaver fever" was nothing anyone wanted - not just montezuma's revenge you get from the southern boarder , bt an organism that lives inside you that grows and reproduces , you dont get rid of it easily , best not to get it , but then if your dying anyway you might just say XXX - id build a fire if it were me today , 

 

in the 50s i mght have thought different yet even then the boy scouts taugfht us to boil it first 

 

would love to think in the 50s that northern MN and Wi was that clean , but there were always critters and diseass - some transferavle 

Edited by watab kid
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5 hours ago, Alpo said:

I have been told, by scientific people that should know, that snow takes up 10 times the amount of space as water. If you get 10 inches of snow, if it had been raining you would have only gotten one inch of rain.

 

So if I were to take my standard 10-cup coffee pot and fill it up with snow and put it on the fire, by the time the snow melted I would only have one cup of water.

 

Now if I happen to have a couple of gallon pots, I can see filling them up with snow and putting them on the fire, and eventually I would probably get five or six cups of water, and could make coffee.

 

Having no experience of my own with that cold wet white stuff, I'm having to rely on the scientific information. I would go to the creek.

 

After thinking a moment, I remembered that a half a gallon is 8 cups. So a gallon would be 16 and 2 gallons would be 32. And melting down the 32 cups of snow you would end up with three and a quarter cups of water. Still not enough to make a pot of coffee.

The snow to water ratio is highly variable.

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