(Feature image courtesy of https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1135962)

One of the things I have not seen on anyone’s list of items to take on thru-hikes is salt pills.

This came to the forefront of my attention today in a most excruciatingly painful way.

I worked outside all day yesterday.  It was dry and cool so I wasn’t soaked with sweat, but I know I was perspiring.  I had been drinking water, so that was OK.   I also know that when I perspire I lose salt (NaCl).  And apparently I lose massive amounts of the stuff.

Over the years Jodi has decreased the amount of salt that she cooks with.  Hence my salt intake has declined.

At dinner last night, I was liberally salting my food as I felt that unique soreness that I have come to associate with a sodium deficiency.  I was salting the heck out of it.  Almost to the point that I was thinking I might be overdoing it.

I went to bed and all was good.

Got up this morning and all was good.

Got to work and good heavens I was hit with an absolute sudden onset of muscle cramps:  left hand at my pinky finger, both hamstrings and both calves.

I have learned over time that when this happens grab some salt and down half a teaspoon.  The cramps will usually subside within minutes.  Unfortunately, there was no salt to be had.  I did my best to relax and allow them to abate, but I had to suffer through cramps for several hours.  Agony.

I had Jodi bring me some when she could so that I could alleviate the cramping.  Once I essentially “overdosed” on salt, the cramps went away.

It was at this point that I had an epiphany:  I better pack a freaking salt lick (or at least some pills) to take with me.

I wonder why no one else has mentioned this.


Published On: 2018 April 20

leave a comment

share this post