Water is the great vehicle of life, within our bodies transporting food, energy and waste, cleaning and purifying in its path… Wherever there is water there are the foundations for life to exist, and it always finds its way back and comes full circle. If we stop taking care of water the cycle stops, and then it will cease to flow from our taps. We must treat it well so it makes it back!
You cannot walk the caminho without water. Pilgrims who have walked without water have a traumatic memory of it. Walking long distances without water will mark you for life and can, in the most extreme cases, lead to death.
Moderate problems caused by lack of water on the caminho:
• Psychological discomfort, caused by the anxiety of not knowing when you’ll drink again;
• Dark urine, with a strong odour, less than 4 times a day;
• Dry mouth, lips and eyes;
• Mental confusion and disorientation;
• Visual hallucinations or blurred vision;
Serious problems caused by lack of water on the caminho:
• Marked weight loss;
In winter it is easy to get dehydrated without noticing. In fact, due to the cold, you may not be thirsty, but the cold air dries exposed parts of the body whilst walking layered up in cold-weather clothes will make you sweat more.
WEIGHT OF WATER
A litre of water weighs approximately one kilogram. It's heavy. But when you think about the many ways the body loses water (urine, feces, sweating, breathing...) you start seeing it as something to be replaced to keep the body functioning as opposed to a weight to carry.
A FLASK FOR THE NIGHT
When it’s very hot, your body loses a lot of water and you might wake up in the middle of the night feeling thirsty. Sleep with your water bottle close by for a more peaceful night.
One of the main functions of water is to transfer minerals, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride and bicarbonate to the blood. These elements perform numerous functions in the human body. One of the most important of these is to send electrical impulses. Without minerals the body cannot function. In addition to drinking water, consider drinking isotonic drinks and supplementing water with electrolytes to replace lost salts.
HOW TO NOT RUN OUT OF WATER
To avoid getting thirsty, you should consider the outside temperature, fill up before you start walking, keep track of what you drink, carry some reserve water, find out where to refill and don’t leave it down to luck. Remember that you can knock on the door of a private home and ask for water if you need. Let them know that you are a pilgrim, say where you are going, that you have run out of water and that you are thirsty.
This has been a popular item for pilgrims for centuries. See our collection of canteens in the library.
(Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery