Summer is in full swing and things are heating up everywhere. The Pacific Northwest is no exception, with three-digit days in the future. It's important to be mindful of this as you plan your adventures so here are a few things to consider:
1. The early bird gets the worm. I know, I know, that's a terrible cliche but it's true. Hit the trail early when cooler morning temps will keep you comfortable. Watch the sunrise on your way up, make some mountain coffee and set up shop early if you're on a multi-day trip or head back down for milkshakes and a post-hike dip in a local lake or stream!
2. Watch for signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. Nothing will ruin your day like a trip to the ER so make sure you're drinking plenty of fluids (I also make good use of electrolyte supplements when the temps ramp up) and checking your core temp. Make good use of patches of snow or bodies of water--a dip will feel refreshing and help keep your core temps low! Symptoms to watch for include:
- throbbing headache
- dizziness and light-headedness
- lack of sweating, despite heat and water consumption
- red, hot and dry skin
- muscle weakness or cramps
- nausea or vomiting
- rapid heartbeat
- rapid, shallow breathing
- behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
Seek medical attention if you or your partner experience the symptoms above.
3. Remember that your fluffy friends are prone to heat stroke too! Keep them hydrated and cool and watch out for their paws on hot rocks, asphalt, and sand. Check out this great piece from REI for other tips on backpacking with your pup(s)!
4. Have a water treatment plan! I carry a Katadyn pump on longer trips because it's a fast, easy way to pump water and I always have a Sawyer mini in my pack, just in case! There are tons of different ways to treat your water, each with their own pros and cons. Check out these other options and choose a method that's right for your trip and destination.
5. Pay attention to seasonal fluctuations in trail conditions. A trail that crosses tarns and streams in the spring may be dry by the end of summer. Check trip reports and see what the situation is, then bring extra water if necessary!
6. Repeat after me: sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. Slather it on and reapply often. Don't forget your ears, hands and underneath your nose to avoid that lizard look My current favorite brand is Bare Republic, SPF 50!
7. Last but not least, consider a super fun floatie! Nothing says summer like a quality float session in an alpine lake with friends!
Have fun and stay safe out there, friends!