At home, you can quench your thirst with anything: tea and yogurt, beer and stewed fruit, which is most often done. On the road (and the hunter is always on the move) the question often arises as to how to moisten dry lips. When your mouth is dry, you don’t think of anything else, like a sip of cold spring water, which is the hardest to find.
Previously, before global reclamation, the vast network of which is still draining and taking away the remains of fresh water into the salt sea, in the middle lane the hunter almost always ran into a stream, a river, a lake during his campaigns. For tea, such water is indispensable, but they drank it boldly and not boiled, as Father Bunin did, as the writer told about in an autobiographical story.
“… He went up to the pond, laying down his gun, sat down on his legs and began to drink in handfuls … The water in the pond was clear, transparent, special forest water, as there is generally something special in these lonely forest ponds, almost never by anyone birds and animals not visited … ”
Of course, I always wanted and often managed to find a spring somewhere near the source of the stream or its tiny tributary. Most often, the path showed the path to it, and several stones around ennobled a source of valuable liquid. The water in it, crystal clear and unusually cold, with a white playing fountain, tirelessly stirred sand grains in the center, making its way from the depths of the earth.
It was a sin not to drink this, not even thirsty, although experienced hunter-traders usually do not recommend drinking raw water, and especially there is snow when walking for a long time. They prefer to spend time, but drink hot tea. True, to a greater extent this applies to surface water with a low salt content. I remember how sometimes in Chukotka I really wanted not tea, but just cold water from the snow. The other was not there. You scoop up a mug and take just a few sips: the tasteless liquid even seems to dry in your mouth.
And yet we, and even experienced travelers, drank raw water. Przhevalsky wrote: “Our inability to eat with chopsticks, especially drinking cold water at dinner, was greatly amused by the Chinese, who are known to never use raw water.”
True, unlike the Chinese, Nikolai Mikhailovich at that time was thousands of miles from his homeland and, to get home, he had to cross mountains and deserts, where very often it was impossible to find fuel to warm water, and sometimes it was necessary to share between the satellites almost drop by drop. In this position, you will drink “from the hoofed footprint.”
The famous zoologist Alfred Brem during his trip to North-East Africa most often drank the silt Nile water and could not boast about it. In order to somehow cool her in the heat of the desert, she was stored in special jugs of porous clay, evaporating through the walls of which, the water was cooled. In the most difficult passages, it was possible to quench an unbearable thirst only with water from the wineskins soaked in special tar, which made the water “become bitter and cause colic”. But that was salvation. Many camel drivers and merchants died, because the hot Samum wind dried up the last moisture reserves in the same wineskins long before the caravan arrived at the next source.
The great French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who nearly died in the desert from thirst, left the most poetic, most soulful words about water.
“You have no taste, no color, no smell, you can’t describe, you enjoy, not understanding what you are. You are not just necessary for life, you are life … ”
He was probably the first person in practice to realize the ephemerality of pure water, which is very simple to pollute and make unsuitable for humans.
“You are the greatest wealth in the world, but also the most fragile – you are so pure in the bowels of the earth. You can die near the source if it contains an admixture of magnesium. You can die a stone’s throw from the salt marsh lake. You can die, although there are two liters of dew, if any salts get into it. You do not tolerate impurities, you cannot stand anything alien, you are a deity who is so easy to frighten off … ”
So it’s quite possible to rehabilitate clean cold water. Moreover, even in the book “Shulchan Aruch” of one of the most ancient peoples – the Jews – it says: “The best and healthiest drink is pure cold water.”
Probably the quality of the water served a different attitude to it. It is one thing to immediately drink at least crystal clear spring water or even snowy water from a handful, and it’s quite another to think about how to defend and how to ennoble a muddy liquid from a river that carries many good and bad impurities.
Now on regular hunts we drink most often what we bring with us from the city. I’m not talking about alcoholic beverages: they do not quench thirst. It is not worth mentioning the “colored” liquids of factory production. Surely, it’s better to do it yourself, for example, by squeezing lemon with pure water and adding a little sugar. If desired, for the color, you can crush several berries of at least black mountain ash – chokeberry.