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Many of us do still drink from high mountain springs, when you can get the water as it emerges from the ground. There’s little chance that such a source could be contaminatedas long as you’re far from roads and development, at a higher elevation than surrounding areas, and sure there’s no possibility of stagnant water or pollution feeding into the spring.

Streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes must always be considered suspect, even though some of these waters undoubtedly remain pure. Remarkably clear and clean-looking water can still harbor parasites. These have been spreading in recent years, as has bacterial contamination.

The chances of getting sick from drinking the water are now much higher than just a decade or two ago. While a parasite won’t kill you, it can make life slightly miserable for days, weeks, or longer. Unless a ranger, local resident, or other reliable person can vouch for a water’s cleanliness and safety, it’s best to purify it before drinking.

Boiling water is the oldest, most tried-and-true method of assuring its potability. This is trustworthy as long as there isn’t chemical pollution, which shouldn’t be a problem in most wilderness areas. Boiling will kill any possible bacteria or parasites and leave the water completely safe to drink. Contrary to earlier beliefs that it should be boiled for at least several minutes, bringing the water to a full boil will be sufficient.

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St. Augustine at its founding was supposed to be an important part of the Spanish empire, but its value had diminished by the end of the sixteenth century. Chicago Metro Map The Spanish decision to establish St. Augustine came as a direct result of attempts by other European nations to build colonies in North Country, particularly the French, who had built a small Huguenot town in northern Florida in 1564. After eliminating the French presence, Avil©s planted the St. Augustine colony in an extremely advantageous position. A massive stone fortress built in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1672, Castillo San Marcos (later renamed Fort Marion) guarded that early Spanish settlement from English aggression and protected the sea route for treasure ships returning to Spain. (Library of Congress, LC-D4-13354) Situated on a peninsula that jutted out into Matanzas Bay, the rectangular walled town was surrounded by a series of palisades on one side and water on the others. With only one exposed land approach, Avil©s set up three parallel lines of defense to protect the city walls. As a last-ditch protection for the city gate, the Spanish consecutively built nine wooden forts; these were all destroyed by invading forces, until they were finally replaced in 1672 by the stone ramparts of the Castillo de San Marcos.

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