Well, while I was noding away the wee hours of the morning, someone (possibly EDB) noted in the chatterbox that "icicle looks tasty." This triggered a memory for me, and 7 hours later, I'm finally getting back to node it.

So this past March I was on an Outward Bound course in Linville Gorge. A few days into the trip, with a few days to go, we waded across the Linville River. At this point, we filled up our personal water bottles (approx. 2 liters per person). Someone on our crew suggested that we fill our crew jugs (several gallon-sized jugs of water) while we were at the river. The instructors, however, demurred, saying that there were water sources near the top of the ridge we'd be traveling for the rest of the course. We, being but silly schmucks, believed them.

So towards the end of that day, it was getting dark and we were setting up our tarps for the night. Noting that our leaders had promised that water would be available early the next day, we used most of our supply to cook our dinner (which was macaroni and cheese, by the way). We were content.

The next morning, we broke camp, downed what remained of our water, and headed off down the trail to find the water source. It was nowhere to be found. To shorten a long story somewhat, we saw no more liquid water until we reached the base camp, 3 days later. We spent three days eating icicles to avoid dehydration. And while icicles are not all that tasty after all, well, it's better than dying.

My advice to the EDB, and anyone else who thinks icicles are tasty: well, they're not. I can't really recommend it.

Eating icicles or snow instead of drinking water is usually not encouraged in survival texts. It might quench your thirst, but the energy and heat lost melting the ice will eventually exhaust you. And here you are in an environment that's probably pretty exhausting already.

If you can afford to trade food and rest for water, and have no alternative, then eating ice might be ok. But it is almost always better to melt the ice somehow (fire, stove, sun, NOT by holding it in your hand) and then drink the resulting water.

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