Hiking in Hot Weather
The current climate in Arizona is perfect for hitting the trails whether it’s a day trip through Sabino Canyon to Seven Falls, hiking up Pinnacle Peak Trail in Scottsdale, or burrowing your way down south through Madera Canyon in Santa Cruz County. To make sure you’re ready for both spring and summer hikes it’s essential to properly plan, outfit yourself with the appropriate gear, and watch out for any health warning signs to keep your day of fun from becoming a potentially disastrous one.
“Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit.” – Edward Abbey
When trekking in the desert hikers should thoughtfully schedule their hikes around the hottest parts of the day, which usually occur between noon to 3 pm. Getting out on the trail early or late in the evening can help you best avoid health hazards that become exasperated by heat. Night hikes are also an alternative option to explore if you are comfortable with the challenges it brings. Finally, try to choose hiking sports that keep you close to shade such as canyon walls to stay out of direct sunlight.
The proper attire is equally important to ensure your hiking trip brings joy. Blazing heat calls for light-colored clothing as it better reflects the sun’s rays rather than absorb them as dark colors can do. Many outdoor clothing companies offer clothing with built-in UPF protection and make for a good choice. Accessories are also important to your comfort level on the trails, make sure to wear a hat to protect your face, and a bandana soaked in water can help cool your neck as the water dissipates.
A successful warm weather hike first and foremost needs water. Dehydration can lead to cramps, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. Some signs of heat exhaustion can include heavy sweating, rapid pulse, faintness, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms its best to get out of the heat, rehydrate and cool off. A general recommendation for water intake is about a half liter of water per hour in moderate temps and activity. A hydration pack is a great way to carry a couple of liters of water on the trail and take sips along the way.
While the weather seems picture perfect now, it’s important to prepare for the climate that lies ahead properly. Nature is meant to be enjoyed and help us reconnect with ourselves, friends, and family. Make sure you’re ready to get the most out of your hikes.