Safety tips for summer hikes

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) – With the first official day of summer fast approaching, the West Rim has already seen warm to hot temperatures. However, since many people are already into summer outdoor activities, one outdoor recreational activity can be hiking, and there are some tips before hitting the next trail.

The most important event for summer hiking is that hikers are not sufficiently prepared for the heat. When you’re ready for your gear and supplies, the number one item is water. You want to make sure you have plenty of water, especially if the trail you are on can be strenuous, extended, or both. Something in your backpack is a hydration reservoir or bladder that can hold two or three liters of water.

Besides water, the second most crucial element is snacks. Salty snacks like potato chips can help replenish some of the salt your body loses during sweating. However, you also want to bring protein bars to help provide the energy your body needs to keep going. Snacks are not only a great way to lift your spirits, but they are also essential for the energy lost during the hike.

However, you should include other items in your backpack: a compass, a map, a backup battery charger and a first aid kit. While these items are also essential in your backpack, your clothes are essential for hot summer days. You want to wear light, breathable and reflective clothing. Loose and breathable specific garments in polyester or nylon. These can help regulate your body temperature when sweating. Long-sleeved shirts, as crazy as it sounds, are also an essential because they help protect you from the UV rays of the sun.

Finally, before hitting the trail, you want to know the conditions of where you are going. Check the forecast and avoid going to areas prone to thunderstorms. Be prepared for rapid weather changes, especially in mountainous regions like Colorado.

Once you’re out, the next factor to consider is your health. With temperatures reaching triple digits, hiking in the heat can be dangerous if not taken seriously. The best time of day to hike is in the morning or at night when the temperatures are coolest. If you’re hiking during the day, focus on more shady trails, like trees or canyons. If you have to hike in the plain, in the open air, exposed to the sun, limit your distances. The main heat-related health problems are dehydration and heat exhaustion.

If you are dehydrated, some signs to look out for include feeling thirsty, dark yellow urine, lightheadedness or lightheadedness, dry mouth, lips, and eyes, and daily weak urination. In heat exhaustion, signs may include headache, dizziness and confusion, loss of appetite, excessive sweating, pale and clammy skin, rapid breathing or pulse, thirst or/and temperatures of 100 degrees or more.

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