As the days heat up, you might be tempted to cool it on your hiking habit. But, actually, you can hike all summer long — the secret lies in the when and where. Here are a few tips to keep you on the trail.
=&0=&. Evening is good. So is early morning: Hit the trail at 7 a.m., be done by 11 and you can get in a decent hike before the temperature gets much above 80.
=&1=&. One concession you might make is the length of your hikes. If you love a good 10-miler in winter, maybe a 5- to 7-mile hike is more appropriate in hot weather.
=&2=&. Select trails with high canopies: leaf cover can trim about 10 degrees from the heat. Also look for trails with minimal understory to allow better access to whatever breeze may be available.
=&3=&. Trails that are wide, preferably double track, provide superior air flow. And on early morning hikes, you’ll be less likely to Swiffer up a raft of spider webs.
=&4=&. Especially at lower elevations, hike along water. If you start to heat up, shed the hiking shoes and wade in, and splash a little over your head and neck.
=&5=&. In summer, cotton can be your friend (for the very reason it is your enemy in winter): Cotton absorbs sweat and keeps it close to your skin; on hot days, this works as a personal air conditioning system
=&6=& Of course you’re carrying water; make sure your water is cold. If you use a hydration pack, fill the bladder with ice, then water. If you use bottles: the night before, fill them 3/4 full and put them in the freezer, then top off before heading out. If you’re going for 5 miles or more, take an electrolyte drink (or water stir-in) to replenish your body with vital minerals including sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
=&7=&. Stop, drop, and rest if you have any of these symptoms: you sweat more than usual, you have muscle pain or spasms, you feel nauseous or dizzy or get a headache, or have any of the heat-released illness symptoms you’ll find listed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention link below. Take further action as noted at the CDC site.
=&8=&. Things that fly and bite and spread rashes are a few of our least favorite things about summer hiking. But if you plan ahead and prepare, you can make them a little less pesky. See our handy link below.
=&9=&. Hike in the mountains! They’re cool in more ways than one. We have several trips planned this summer. Come join us:
Our cool summer hikes
Here’s where we’ll be keeping our cool on the trail this summer:
Peaks of Otter (basecamp hiking)
Standing Indian (basecamp hiking)
Linville Gorge (base camp hiking)
Linville Gorge (backpacking)
South Mountains State Park