Summer Hiking Tips

Turkey Buzzard

Extreme Heat Advisory

Know the Dangers or Pay the Price

Exposure to full sun when temperatures are 90F or more can be dangerous leading to heat exhaustion and possibly heat stroke. Hiking to the bluff or windmill locations will take an hour or longer round trip with little to no shade available.

So You Think You're Tough...

Heat exhaustion is a daily occurrence in the summer. One of the most common victims are young men in their twenties. Just because you are young, healthy and strong does not make you immune from the consequences of exposure to extreme heat. Your best defense is to use your head, not your brawn.

Plan your trip in advance. Do not hike in the hottest part of the day. Know the symptoms of heat-related illness and what to do about it. Better yet, know what to do to avoid getting into trouble.

Don't Just Drink ... Drink and Eat Frequently

Did you know that for each hour that you hike in the heat, you lose 1/2 to 1 quart of water and electrolytes through sweat? This can increase to 2 quarts per hour if you hike in direct sunlight in extreme heat. The dry air evaporates the sweat almost as soon as it appears, so you may not even realize that this is happening to you.

Drink frequently, even if you are not thirsty. Thirst is a sign of dehydration, so you don't want to wait until you have a problem before you start doing something about it. Also, don't just drink plain water. We recommend sports drinks that will replenish the electrolytes you lose through sweating.

The key to remaining hydrated and balanced chemically is to drink small amounts almost continuously and eat often. Stop often and eat a salty snack or energy bar to keep up your stamina.

The Shade is Your Friend

Eating and drinking frequently is not enough to avoid problems from extreme heat. Avoid hiking in direct sunlight when possible. Plan ahead so you are not hiking during the hottest part of the day (11am to about 6:00 pm). You will lose more water and electrolytes hiking in direct sun. Cover your head and upper body from sun exposure. Do not rely on sunblock, wear long sleeves and a wide brimmed hat instead. Clothing helps to wick away sweat and aids in the cooling process.

Soak Down to Stay Cool

One of the most refreshing things you can do is to douse yourself thoroughly with water, when it is available. If you are carrying extra water, occasionally pour some over the top of you head (as long as you don't need it for drinking later). Another good tip is to soak a bandana and wear it on the back of your neck.

Should you run out of water for soaking you are permitted to use water from the stock tank on West Amarillo Creek. Be aware however that the water is not proven safe for human consumption and could possibly make you ill.