Last weekend I hiked to the summit of Silver Star Mountain, an awesome Lord of the Rings-esque peak that gave me and my buddies a shining view of five (FIVE!) mountains in the area–Mt. Rainier, Mt. St Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and tiny little Mt. Jefferson. It was only about three miles up to the top, but the 4000+ ft. elevation gain coupled with the 85 degree heat made the trip something to brag about.
As a future RD, I’m obligated to promote water and electrolytes on excursions like these. We were all sweating like water faucets and most of us ran out of water by the end. (Note to self: buy a camelback.) Water will usually do the trick for anything under an hour. But….
Gonna be out for longer? Braving exceptional heat? Pack some salty snacks! Sodium is the most-needed electrolyte for endurance events, but potassium, chloride, and magnesium are important too. Salty trail mix, bananas, dried fruits, and peanut butter (magnesium fights fatigue!) are great snack choices when you’re out on the trail. I’m not necessarily opposed to things like Gatorade and Gu gels, but it is possible to get what you need from whole foods without some of the added sugar and non-nutritive sweeteners that come with commercial electrolyte-replacement products.
The most important rule? Drink more water than you think you need. Make a conscious effort to take a swig of water every fifteen minutes. Believe me, you don’t want anything holding you back from that summit view!