As Chris and I get ready to head to Arizona tomorrow, our travel plans are slightly dampened by the news that 19 firefighters died in Arizona on Sunday while fighting a fierce fire outside of Yarnell. As the NY Times reported, the loss of these heroic men was the greatest for firefighters in a single disaster since September 11.
It’s so sad.
Fire is a fact of life in dry, arid climates like Arizona, as Chris and I are coming to learn in the days leading up to our trip. If I wasn’t already slightly worried about the fact that we’re heading to Arizona in what may very well be one of the hottest weeks they’ve seen in a long time (yikes excessive heat warning and 100 degree + temps!!!), a text from my friend who we’ll be visiting put me ever-so-slightly-more on edge:
“They’ve closed fossil creek due to extreme fire hazards. It’s hot and hasn’t rained in a while. I’m going to look into a couple of other hiking areas in the Sedona area.”
She followed up quickly with a note that we’ll try heading to Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock, but I’m already on full alert. I’m still looking forward to the trip, don’t get me wrong, but I just thought it wise to perhaps do a bit of research ahead of time regarding staying hydrated and healthy while exercising (aka hiking) in 100 degree + heat. Here’s some of what I’ve found:
- For starters, it’s important to know and be able to recognize signs of heat exhaustion, which include general fatigue, weakness, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps and an increase in body temps. As WebMD reports, temps above 104, combined with an inability to sweat, acute respiratory distress and loss of consciousness can be signs of heat stroke, which is much more serious than heat exhaustion.
- Experts suggest drinking 20 ounces of water two hours before exercising, at least 8 ounces of water shortly before going outside in the heat, and gulping water every 15 to 20 minutes during the exercise. You should also be sure to drink fluids throughout the day as a precaution.
- Perhaps most importantly (and something I will continue to convey to Chris) is it’s important to be okay with being slower when temps get this high.
- Wear lightweight fabrics that wick away sweat, and wear light colors that reflect the sun, not attract it. If you’ll be wearing a helmet (or in our case, a hat), remove it during times of rest to allow your head to breathe and cool off.
My friend’s already told us she’s taken care of the sunscreen and the bladders, and she’s a seasoned hiker in the Arizona heat who I trust to keep us safe while we’re en route.
But trust me, I’ll be on guard the whole time we’re at it … it only makes sense to be as smart as possible when it comes to heat and your health.
Okay friends–wish us luck! It’ll be an adventure (and quite interesting!) for sure! I’ll be back next week with what I’m sure will be amazing photos.