Things to keep in mind when hiking in the Arizona heat
By Kenny Darr,2023-06-08
Summers in southern Arizona can be unforgiving, whether engaging in activities like hiking, camping, or simply spending time outdoors. It’s crucial to take necessary precautions for personal safety.
Hiking specifically, a popular activity in Tucson, can be dangerous due to the sweltering Arizona heat , especially during the summer months when triple-digit temperatures are common.
Amy Dimceli with the Southern Arizona Rescue Association said “those are very dangerous times to be out hiking or doing any sort of outdoor activity.”
According to Dimiceli, a rescuer of five years with SARA, planning is essential.
It is advisable to hike early in the morning and always be accompanied by another person. If you are hiking alone, let a friend or family member know your itinerary, including your location and the time you plan on returning.
She also advises having key items with you on your trip.
“Hikers should ensure they are prepared with essentials,” she said. “Such as water, snacks, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts.”
When it comes to water, she says bring more than you think you will need. You'll also want to turn around once you've gone through half of your water.
Additionally, a map, fully charged cellphone and a flashlight are highly recommended.
Dimiceli also said to always check the weather forcast for the entire region.
While speaking with hikers at Sabino Canyon to find out how they deal with the heat, one teen who was hiking with her parents said “we brought sunscreen, water, a backpack with some snacks and our cellphones just in case.”
Another woman said she doesn’t hike in the summer, but always “take lots of water” and don’t “be out there very long.”
Regardless of one's level of preparedness, recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion is critical.
Symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and muscle cramping should not be ignored.
In such cases, Dimiceli said “take a break in the shade, drink lots of water and do consider that perhaps it’s time to turn around and head back.”
She said in the event you cannot return to your starting point, always call 911 and request search and rescue.