We've often written about dehydration in the Sierra. The air is so dry up in these mountains that you can get dehydrated pretty darn quickly--and hikers often do. And that leads to all sorts of bad effects on the hikers--effects that are not just physical, but also mental.
P managed to add to this story over the past weekend. He was working on our cabin, at about 4,000 in the Sierra, on one of the hottest days of the year, covering the lower section of the cabin with plywood sheathing. It was a hot, dry job, and he was trying to get it done in one day.
Somewhere near the end of the day, he began to conclude that it was getting cooler, because he wasn't sweating quite so much as he had been earlier in the day. The fact that he considered this a good thing is an indication that his brain was now working with an entirely new set of synapses created by a lack of water in his system.
There was a tiny voice in his brain that said "maybe you aren't sweating because you are completely dehydrated" but he didn't listen to that voice.
After all, he only had one more sheet to install. He measured the wall, and then he marked the plywood. Then he measured the wall a second time, just to make sure. And he checked that measurement again on the plywood. Yep, it looked like it would fit perfectly.
So he carried the plywood over to the wall, and held it in place. It was six inches too long.
What the heck? He measured the wall again---yep, got that right.
Then he measured the plywood.
Ah. He had forgotten to CUT the plywood.
That's when he realized that he really was very dehydrated. Two large glasses of water later, he put on the final sheet of plywood and called it a day. Whew!
And if this had happened on a trail, and he had made a simple mistake like taking the wrong fork in the trail?
That's why it's important to stay hydrated.