On the Trail
One of the joys of living in southern California is the ability to start your day at the beach, enjoy lunch in the desert, and finish it off at a campfire in the mountains.
Whether I was biking on trails throughout Orange County or hiking in the San Bernandino mountains, you’d always find the Sport Berkey as part of my gear. I’d include it in my day-pack just-in-case I needed to use a nearby lake, river, or stream for water. There were several times where I had exhausted the water carried in my bladder-backpack and I needed hydration on-the-spot.
One afternoon, I found myself on a difficult stretch of trail, separated from my group and lost. We were biking a particular trail whose fast downhill curves were lined with cactus. We had only planned on staying for a couple of hours but ended up going longer because of the fun we were having.
In the excitement of exploring and pushing beyond my skill-level (I was new to clip-ins at the time), I wiped-out and nearly embedded myself in some cactus beds. Scraped up, bruised, and humbled, I found myself having to change one of my tubes. Second to quenching my thirst, I needed water to wash off the abrasions and scrapes on my forearms and sides of my legs…but I was out of water.
After changing my tube, I was able to ride over to a nearby pond and fill up my Sport Berkey. Squeezing the bottle with one hand, I poured the filtered water into my other cupped-hand. I washed my hands and repeated the same thing over my wounds. Once cleaned, I resumed riding and eventually rejoined my group. This group of friends included co-workers from a hospital’s emergency department I worked at during that time. We had a doctor, a physician-assistant, and nurses there. When we finished for the day, my PA friend hooked me up with minor wound care from a trail-kit he kept in his car.
In Emergency Response
After working in the hospital, I decided to work with an ambulance company as an EMT. It was exciting and fun, but the pay sucked! I preferred working 24-hour shifts over the 12-hour shifts because it felt like less work, especially if I could pick up three shifts to make my week.
At the time, the biggest downside to working on an ambulance really was the pay. I had a young family and my plan was to become an RN. Working in EMS (Emergency Medical Services) allowed me to gain experience outside of the controlled medical setting of a hospital, in pre-hospital care. Usually, people begin working in the field (as ambulance-based EMTs) and then upgrade to the hospital setting, but I did it backwards.
Because the pay sucked, I had to limit eating out. Thankfully, companies like Chic-fil-A and similar fast-food spots hook up EMS/First-Responders with discounts and/or free food during our shifts and that totally helps! In any event, I certainly could not afford my favorite brand of bottled water, Fiji, so I carried my Sport Berkey with my gear on every shift. I’d fill up when we were in between calls or after arriving to an ER, clinic, or at a gas-station, literally anywhere I could. Though I’d prefer to enjoy the cold FREE water from the soda fountain at Chic-fil-A, I was grateful to be able save money and enjoy reliably clean water through my Berkey. One of my partners even ended up purchasing one for himself so he could save money on bottled water too!
Out & About with Family
Visiting amusement parks and professional sports venues can prove expensive if you don’t budget right. I’ve paid as much as $10 for a bottle of water at those places because either I forgot my Sport Berkey or didn’t plan on getting thirsty. Nowadays, most places allow you to travel with a translucent water filter bottle like the Sport Berkey, but it often needs to be empty at the time of entry (think TSA @ the airport or security requirements at amusement park/concert venues).
Here in Houston, Texas at the time of this writing, public water drinking fixtures are still turned-off due to concerns from our recent pandemic. Because of this, filling a portable water filter bottle at a drinking fountain is not possible. BUT, a great way to practice your situational awareness PRIOR-TO a disaster or major catastrophic event is to search for water spigots that provide potable (safe for human consumption) water.
If a spigot or water bib at a public facility contains water that is not potable, local laws often require signage that indicates such. It is common to find such signs when dealing with lot or turf irrigation.
Today, for example, I found over twenty drinking fountains that are turned-off in and around the Hermann Park area, but I found one potable water-bib outside the Houston Zoo that is accessible to the public but is “hidden” behind plants and shrubs (see adjacent image). It helps to be able to recognize plumbing features in architecture!
I highly recommend adding a reliable & portable on-demand filtration system, whether you choose the Sport Berkey Water Filter Bottle or something similar. Carry one with you and keep one in the trunk of your vehicle, another in your family’s “Go-Bags”, and one in your office or place of work. Take care of your tools and your tools will take care of you when you need them.