The National Park Service has issued an excessive heat warning and is urging hikers in Grand Canyon National Park to practice “special caution” during the summer months due to the scorching temperatures.
“Every year, scores of unprepared hikers, lured by initially easy downhill hiking, experience severe illness, injury, or death from hiking in the canyon,” the warning describes. “Rangers respond to heat exhausted hikers every day during the summer — don’t let yourself become one of them.”
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For further emphasis, the service posted a tweet with an accompanying photo of a hiking boot that has come apart due to the excessively high temperatures.
“Grand Canyon is an unforgiving environment,” it reads. “The heat inside the canyon can cause shoes to come apart, and heavy hiking boots can trap sweat and lead to painful blisters. Before setting off on a hike, understand the limitations of yourself and your gear.”
Grand Canyon is an unforgiving environment. The heat inside the canyon can cause shoes to come apart, and heavy hiking boots can trap sweat and lead to painful blisters. Before setting off on a hike, understand the limitations of yourself and your gear. https://t.co/PLebJv4uTz pic.twitter.com/fvB4DgHcl2
— Grand Canyon NPS (@GrandCanyonNPS) June 22, 2020
Hikers are urged not to rely solely on physical strength but to instead “hike smart” and bring the necessary supplies, which the National Park Service calls the 10 Summer Hiking Essentials:
- Water – normal and some with electrolyte replacements
- Food – particularly salty foods and visitors are urged to eat twice as much as they usually would
- First Aid Kit – an obvious one, it should include items such as bandaids, antiseptic, and ace wrap
- Map – trails are clearly marked, but even if you think you are the Magellan of your group, maps are always helpful
- Pack – to carry any essential items you may need
- Flashlight with spare batteries – allows you to hike when temperatures drop in the evening.
- Spray bottle – fill up with water to cool yourself off
- Hat and sunscreen – the sun is hot, protect your skin
- Whistle and/or Signal Mirror – to call attention to yourself in case of an emergency
- Waterproof clothing – for example, a jacket or poncho, these are particularly handy during the monsoon season from mid-July to early September
Average temperatures in the summer months can reach very high temperatures, the service explains, with highs in June of 101°F, 106°F in July, and 103°F in August. Hikers are urged to watch out for the “Hazardous H’s”: heat exhaustion, heatstroke, hyponatremia (which mimics symptoms of heat exhaustion and is a result of low sodium by drinking too much water or losing too much salt through sweating), and hypothermia.
For more information regarding how to “hike smart” this summer, visit the National Park Service website.