Summer's in full force, and for many of us that means temperatures that belong on a beach, not in the backcountry. Heading uphill with 40 pounds on your back when the temperature is climbing into the high 80s or 90s can start to feel like pain, not pleasure.
Does that mean you should cancel that long-planned weekend? Or are there ways to overcome the tyranny of temperature? Read on. . .
First, be sensible. In general, you don't have to abandon your plans, but if it's 100 degrees and 100-percent humidity, you may seriously wish you had. Consider your overall fitness level before venturing out in this kind of weather. It can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure or a heart condition.
Assuming you do go, pick the place carefully. Exposed rocky ridges might be at higher elevations (which can mean cooler temperatures), but if the sun is beating down and the rocks are radiating heat, they may actually be miniature infernos. Instead, opt for shade and pick a trail that crosses lots of streamsor better yet, a trail that runs along a stream.
Climb high. Not to contradict myself, but. . . if you're lucky enough to live near a major mountain range where you can access trails say four or five thousand feet above the sweltering lowlands, then by all means, go uphill.
Take plenty of water. Many hikers find that electrolyte replacement drinks help them replenish salts and potassium, which are lost when you sweat. Drink them in diluted quantities of about half strengththey'll do the job and last longer.
Immerse yourself. Take opportunities to cool down by jumping into whatever body of water is handy. Periodically dampen a bandanna and wipe your face, neck, and arms.
Go easy on the mileage and don't plan huge elevation gains.
Bring some sort of treatment for blisters. Heat causes feet to swell, and sweat, both of which contribute to blistering.
Wear clothing that wicks sweat from your skina polyester T-shirt, not cotton. Be sure than if you're prone to chafing, you wear shorts that are long enough to prevent it.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication