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Friday, October 28, 2011

Alcohol & Soaking

This past week we again had to assist an group of soakers get safely off the hot springs property due to irresponsible use of alcohol.  Two young men and a woman went up to the springs (without permission).  When they were encountered up there it became not so much a matter of asking them to leave . . . but a recognition that once again people are under-estimating their ability to deal with alcohol, hot spring waters, and the wilderness conditions up at Scenic.

When encountered, the girl was seriously dehydrated, vomiting over the side of the pool . . . and obviously drunk.  None of them had brought any water up with them and none of them had any form of light to get back down the trail despite the oncoming darkness of evening.  The girl had to be carefully assisted (halfway carried) back down the trail in vanishing daylight and then driven down to the FS gate.  Their unpreparedness and irresponsibility could have become a recipe for disaster.

Rick on his soapbox . . .
I don't drink.  Nor do I do 'recreational' drugs.  Not that I begrudge anyone else enjoying a drink or a toke . . . alcohol and drugs are simply not for me.  Have your drink . . . or a bowl; but please do so responsibly.  Misuse or overuse of alcohol and drugs have been one of the primary excuses put forth by the county to put draconian requirements on access to Scenic Hot Springs.  Every young group carrying up cases of beer to the hot springs . . . despite our continued random patrols . . . is putting access to Scenic in jeopardy for everyone.  Drink responsibly . . . please.  Better yet, get your high out of simply being out in nature!
Rick off his soapbox

Now, what did this young trio do wrong?  One, they trespassed and did not have permission to be up there. Two, they brought no water with them . . . but had plenty of booze.  And three, no headlamps or flashlights.

Water is an essential when you are soaking . . . and alcohol is not a substitute for water!  The springs run 105F to 115F and quickly produce dehydration and heat exhaustion that depletes water by sweating.  Only by drinking plenty of water or a fluid-replenishment drink can you keep your electrolytes in balance.

Alcohol masks a lot of symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration and also hastens progress.  No one should ever drink so much alcohol that they lose common sense about what is going on . . . especially in the wilderness near quickly-approaching nightfall.

Guys . . . Gals . . . we care about you!  Please remember that you are several miles into the wilderness.  If something goes wrong you are a long way from help.  Drink responsibly and be prepared for the conditions, terrain, and nightfall that comes very suddenly on the mountainside.  Read the Conditions of Access instead of just saying you agree to them.  We wrote them for a reason and none of us need to give the county any more reasons to further limit access to Scenic Hot Springs.

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