Ear to the ground

“When you ride hard on a mountain bike, sometimes you fall. Otherwise you’re not riding hard.”

– President George W. Bush after losing control of his state-of-the-art full-suspension Trek on a stretch of pavement and running into a Scottish police officer last month.

Something in the water

“Drink up” seems to be the new message for desperate backcountry travelers. Conventional wisdom has always held that drinking from backcountry streams and ponds results in serious gastrointestinal suffering. New findings are pointing in the other direction.

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati found that giardiasis caused by consumption of high mountain water is an “an extraordinarily rare event,” one they liken to a shark attack among beach-goers.

A study found that of the 41 backpackers studied, six were stricken with cramping diarrhea, nausea and bloating. Yet lab tests revealed that none of them were infected with giardia. Instead, E. coli, salmonella or other culprits were suspected.

Poor personal hygiene, not contaminated water, may explain the frequent complaints of those returning from the backcountry, say the scientists.  

“We are so dependent on convenient sanitation that when people go out in the wilderness, they fall apart, and their habits drop to Third World standards,” said Dr. Howard Backer, a water purification expert.

A 20-year study currently under way in the Sierra Nevada aims to further document the quality of wilderness water. Bob Derlet, an emergency room physician and medical professor, hikes about 2,000 miles each summer, stopping at 100 sites to collect samples of water. Based on his findings, he treats only that water located below sheep and cattle pastures, in slow-moving and warm streams, and immediately downstream from heavily used campsites.

Best beer in the show

Speaking of drinking up, local suds took top honors on the Front Range last weekend. Carver Brewing Co. claimed three awards, including “Best in Show,” at last weekend’s Manitou Craft Lagerfest, held outside Colorado Springs.

Carvers’ X-Rock Bock was recognized in the bock beer-style category with a third place finish. The brewery’s La Plata Pilsner took home “Best in Show” as well as the gold medal in the Bohemian-style Pilsner category.  

“It’s nice to be getting consistent recognition for our beer” said Erik Maxson, head brewer (see pg. 28). “The La Plata Pilsner is a clean and smooth beer. With its subtle characteristics, there’s no room for mistakes – nothing to hide behind.”

The awards brings Carver Brewing’s total haul to eight in the past year.  


In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows