(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.