It is 117 degrees out there, and the countless excessive heat warnings along with the sad news of its victims bring thought of personal encounters with those foreign to our area. Besides the expected gambling and casino talk recently there is much more of ‘how can anyone survive there?’ conversations.
Much like the great northwest with their ability to cope with profuse amounts of rain and scarcely seeing the sun or the aptly named frozen tundra of Wisconsin and neighboring states that actually enjoy being out in the cold, blizzard conditions, the American southwest takes repose in its broiling heat.
For longtime locals the heat can merely be an inconvenience, with desert mirages along the roadways and the sidewalk kitchenry of cooking eggs on the street being commonplace long before the actual teeth of summer sink in. Those familiar with the clime, the palpable difference between the manageable 100 degree heat and the searing 115 degrees that threatens to scorch your skin off if you venture out unprotected.
People often ask how I hike in temperatures like this and my response is simple: I don’t.
Once the heat of summer sets in I immediately adjust my hiking routine. If hiking during the summer in southern Nevada, hitting the trailhead before sunrise bodes well for the accommodating morning temperatures. The length of the hike should also be shorter than usual, calculated to be completed before noon would be best. Hugging the shade on the final stretch as well as bringing and consuming enough water are keys.
As temperatures rise clothes begin to appear scant on most people; however, when hiking in the summer I wear more clothes than some may expect.
Hat – the big floppy broad brimmed hats are best to keep the sun off your scalp, face, and neck
Bandana – can wrap around defrosting water bottles to apply cool water to the back of the neck
Sun protective clothing – with the advancement in technology outdoor apparel has come to provide an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) with great ventilation in lightweight material. A long sleeved shirt and pants that provide this can actually offer some insulation from the heat and more protection from sunburn.
Sunglasses – protect your eyes, too much sun exposure can result in irritated or burned corneas.
An easy way to avoid running into the extremes of 115 degree heat during a hike most locals take their outdoor pursuits to Mount Charleston.
The heat wave for this coming week promises not to exclude the mountain’s high elevations. Temperatures are forecasted to be in the hundreds up to 110, even up on the mountain retreat – so stay consistent with summer hiking precautions.