EverWalk began 2020 with this announcement: We will no longer be providing single-use plastics at our events — and we encourage our Ambassadors not to provide them on their peer-led EverWalks.

We’ve all known that single-use plastics have been (as Pope John Paul II said almost two decades ago) a “ticking time bomb for the environment” But sometimes it takes a call to action for us to do what we’ve all known we have to do: Stop. Using. Plastic.

But how? Plastics are everywhere. (Literally— including in the sea salt we eat and the glaciers in Antarctica.) Well, as Anne Marie Bonneau, also known as the Zero Waste Chef, has said, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” 

So EverWalk adds its numbers to the imperfect millions trying to eliminate plastic waste — with the majority of our EverWalk community having committed to reducing or eliminating single-use plastics in their own homes and daily lives.

And yet. . .walkers need water. That’s why this blog post (written by EverWalkers for EverWalkers) is all about water — how to drink it without single-use plastics, how to enjoy it on your walks, as well as EverWalkers favorite walks near (or even on) water.

This is the first in a series of our new EverWalk blogs sharing the words, wisdom and wanderings of the awe-inspiring members of our EverWalk Nation.

Drink Water!

Our bodies are 60% water — and we lose a lot of that when we sweat, when we sleep, when we live in dry climates or at high altitudes.
Studies show that we should drink half our body weight in ounces every day. In other words, if you weigh 100 pounds, you should be drinking 50 ounces of water every day.

If you weight 200 pounds, that’s 100 ounces of water every day. That’s a lot of water! And that number goes up the more you exercise and sweat!

One EverWalker suggests: Drink eight ounces of water as soon as you wake up. It has a cleansing effect and starts you on your way to daily hydration right away. Leave a full cup next to your bed or sink so it’s right there when you get going.

Water Containers

Every EverWalker uses some kind of water container — especially on longer walks. Their favorites vary according to the weather and the type of walk they’re doing. For walks over five miles, some use packs with bladders, with Osprey packs and Nathan vests being the favorites.

But the majority of EverWalkers prefer bottles of some kind.

To keep water cold, some use ice — and all prefer stainless steel, with Hydroflask being the favorite brand to keep water either hot or cold.

When iced water isn’t called for, Nalgene is the preferred non-BPA brand of plastic bottle. Like Hydroflask, Nalgene bottles come in a wide range of colors and sizes are also lighter and easier to carry.

Many carry their bottles in a pack, but at least one — Laura Petersen — carries her 32-ounce Hydroflast by its handles when she walks.

And for those folks who find themselves needed to by a pre-packaged water from time to time, Ann Marie Rakovic reminds us that “boxed water is a thing”. Indeed it is — and very handy to buy if you’re traveling and don’t have access to filtered water on the road. Other companies are creating fully recycled and recyclable canned water bottles with the mission of saving the oceans. Check out drinkopenwater.com.

Container Care

As we all know, our water containers can get a bit grody from time to time. Here are some of the top cleaning suggestions recommended by EverWalkers:

  • Wash it every day!
  • Put citric acid in it and fill it with warm water and let sit.
  • Clean out the lid with a wet tissue. (It’s totally gross how much black grime comes out!)
  • Dish detergent and vinegar and store in freezer where little germies cannot grow…

Flavoring Your Water

Some folks like to flavor their waters and add electrolytes for the sodium potassium exchange. Popular electrolyte brands include Nuun. But one intrepid EverWalker creates her own homemade electrolyte mix of salt and lemon juice in water with a dash of olive oil.

Water has many other uses for our EverWalk Nation. On particularly hot walks, some EverWalkers wear bandanas soaked in ice water. And after a 20-plus mile walk, many soak their feet in buckets of ice water to reduce the swelling and pain. Hot baths with epsom salts are also a popular post-walk remedy — as is icing injuries.

Water Water Everywhere

Water also makes up 71 percent of the earth’s surface.

Water isn’t just for consuming: EverWalkers love to walk near water. Water, of course, acts as a natural air conditioner, which makes it a wonderful place to walk. And it’s always beautiful, as witnessed by some of the photos contributed by our EverWalk community on our Facebook EverWalk Nation Group Page.

Some favorite places to walk near water include: The Hudson River Valley in New York, all along the Mississippi River in the Midwest, the Thames River in London. The Great Lakes region has some wonderful lake walks. And the Bayous in the South are spectacular. Walking along both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are popular EverWalks. People who live in the Mountain West view water a bit differently and are grateful for creek walks — especially with their four-legged companions. All agree that walking along, near, or in water makes for a very special walk!

In winter, many EverWalkers encounter water every day in the form of ice and snow. Here are the top suggestions for walking on that slippery stuff:

The most popular ice cleats are Yaktraks. And for longer walks, people always bring poles or walking sticks for balance.

Saving Our World and Our World’s Water

Last but not least, because EverWalkers love to walk through our world, they are really committed to keeping our world a beautiful place. Here are some of their fantastic suggestions for reducing or eliminating plastic in your life:

  • Order less to-go food and ask for cardboard.
  • Try not to buy vegetables or other foods packaged in plastic.
  • Drink filtered fridge water instead of buying plastic bottles.
  • Bring your own cloth bags and containers to the store.
  • If you do have to use plastic wrappers, reuse them for dog poop bags!
  • Turn off running water when washing dishes in your sink.
  • Wash clothes in cold water to conserve energy.

As always, EverWalk Nation takes its lead and inspiration from its founders: Diana Nyad and Bonnie Stoll.
As Diana says: “I represent millions of us lone citizens who care deeply about our blue planet but fear it’s too late. Many of us feel helpless and hopeless, that the plastics pollution done to our oceans is too egregious for us to now take any meaningful action. But if each one of us does just a little something, we can become a mass movement making a significant impact.”

So just like walking — we have to put one foot in front of another and, one step at a time, we can reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastics and keep the world’s water usable and beautiful for future generations!

Thank you to EverWalkers David Ascher, Jade Mortimer, Beth Brooks, Ann Marie Rakovic, Karen Osit, Rachel Hollander, Joe Thornton, Laura Petersen, Lois Ann Porter, Barbara Wells, Nancy Hanauer, Kiril Kundurazief, Bonnie Schulman for co-creating this first EverWalk Nation Blog!