There’s more than one way to cleanse your body in the outdoors.
For one Hagerman church, that means fasting while hiking.
Yes, when the three-day Hike ‘n Fast begins Tuesday, participants can drink fruit juices and broth. But they’re not to have any food during the duration of the hike.
“It’s a really good way to detox the body,” said Jim Gallagher, a member of the Sabbath Rest Advent Church, which is sponsoring the hike. “It gives your organs a really good rest, the opportunity to regroup. It helps clear your mind, and it’s good for the soul.”
Those who participate in the hike — at Malad Gorge, Box Canyon and Thousand Springs — will walk between eight and 12 miles a day.
The church held a similar hike last year for church members but this year has invited the public. Gallagher expects 20 to 25 people to participate.
“We pretty much are a church group that is engaged in keeping all three — mind, body and soul — in tip-top shape,”he said.
Organizers will bring snacks along for those who might need an extra energy boost, but for the most part participants will do without food for three days. They’ll go home for the night to rest, then regroup the following day. People could cheat at home by having a meal, but Gallagher said it’s not recommended.
Are there side effects that participants should worry about?
Besides lower efficiency as a hiker, there shouldn’t be, said Dr. David Martin Spritzer, a family practice physician with St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center.
“They won’t be able to hike as fast as if they were eating normally,” he said.
The important thing is to stay properly hydrated. “It depends on the air temperature and humidity,” Spritzer said. “But in regular 80-degree weather they should do roughly a quart of water for every hour to hour and a half of hiking.”
Broth and juices are good because they add sugar to the body, he said, but don’t neglect to drink straight water.
“The first or second day you might have a headache,” Gallagher said. “And blisters on the feet from hiking so much.”