So far, water has not proved to be a problem. There are at least six springs on the property. All are lower than the cabin site, but two of them are quite close. These two are close together, in a small valley about 30 feet lower than the cabin site and off to the south by a hundred feet or so. Each seeps from a small basin in the side of the valley. Although neither flows especially strong, they join together and form a small stream that has been running every time I’ve been there. I imagine it may dry down occasionally, but so far I have not seen this.
Because the seeps are so shallow, I actually take my water from the stream itself a hundred or so feet downstream from the seeps, and not far from the confluence of the two streams. To make water collection easier, I inserted into the bank a 24″ length of copper pipe that I had drilled holes into (photo at the top of this post). This makes a kind of faucet as shown in this video.
It typically takes less than a minute to fill a quart-size water bottle at this tap. The pipe is inserted about 14 inches into the stream bed. Still, it probably produces a blend of ground and surface water, so I always either filter or treat with iodine tablets. Perhaps I will try and develop some more permanent solutions in the future, but for now, this system seems to be working fine.
One other small improvement I have made, a basin for washing, is just downstream from the water source. The issue is that, during summer and early fall, the shortest path to the site has a few sections that are extremely thick with poison ivy, Toxicodendron radicans, to which I am quite allergic.
Side bar. I hike in long pants and a long-sleeve shirt. I also carry a small towel in my pocket to wipe perspiration from my face — Georgia is humid and carrying a pack that weighs 50+ pounds works up a sweat. This way, even if my hands somehow become tainted with urushiol (the resin of genus Toxicodendron), I don’t spread it to my face, which is most sensitive to the substance. The towel stays folded in my pocket and I have developed the habit of handling the “outside” of the towel while wiping my face with the “inside”. Now, I do it even without thinking.
Back to water, I’ve made it my practice to wash my hands, face, neck and arms after every hike in. To make this easier, I excavated a small basin about 14 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 5 inches deep using a shovel. I used the stones and sediment to make a small dam. The basin holds about 6″ of clear water and fills quickly. There are stepping stones on both sides of the stream so I can stand without getting my feet in the water and bend down to wash. A tree growing horizontal from the bank serves as a towel rack. A sprig of Heartleaf foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) grows by a step in the bank that I use as a soap dish.
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