A hot, balmy summer can be pure bliss for outdoor enthusiasts, but it's worth knowing that hot summers in Arizona are just a little hotter and drier than many other places. While this doesn't mean you can't enjoy the great outdoors, it does mean being a little more careful.
At LifeStream at Sun City Retirement Community, our residents have access to many local amenities such as hikes, golfing, parks and swimming. In order to enjoy these amenities safely, there are a few precautions to consider.
Arizona summers might compel you to go outdoors more often, but it's not the best time to push your physical abilities to the max. This is because heat exhaustion is quite common in these warmer months. If you do want to take up a slightly more taxing activity, perhaps try it out in the early hours of the morning before the sun reaches its zenith. Be sure to have shelter during the hottest parts of the day, especially when you hit the trails or go for a long run.
While Arizona is known for its intense, dry heat, late afternoon storms can seem to come out of nowhere. Be sure to check the weather to avoid getting stuck on hiking trails or during excursions where there's little to no shelter. Some of the dangers during storms are losing your footing, getting swept up in flash floods or getting stranded outdoors at night.
Be sure to let a loved one know when you head out for an adventure. Let them know which trails or routes you're following and when you expect to return home. If the information is available, try to give them coordinates, especially if you're planning a camping trip or staying in an area that doesn't have network coverage.
For Arizonans, carrying an extra bottle of water even if you're just heading to the store is a must. The dry, semiarid climate can quickly dehydrate you. When planning an outdoor excursion, be sure to plan the water situation too. There are several hydration options for those who lead active lifestyles, such as water bottles that have built-in straps, attach to your bicycle or even integrate with your backpack for easy carrying. Check the route to see if there are stores or safe water sources to replenish your supplies.
Whether you're deciding to camp or go hiking, it's important to take note of the rules and restrictions of the area. For instance, some camping areas are located in the backcountry, which allows campers to have a wild and primitive camping experience. However, this could also mean easily getting lost or encountering dangerous wildlife. Be sure to follow the rules and know the dangers that may be present in that area. Another potentially dangerous situation can occur when you stray off trails and get lost or injured. Keep to the safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable excursion.
Many activities are more enjoyable when you include a friend or two. A quick jog in the morning before your day starts may still be safe enough to do alone, but when you're venturing out into the great outdoors, you'll want to have a friend there with you. This is helpful in terms of navigation, carrying enough supplies and getting help in case someone gets hurt.
There's a German idiom that says "There's no bad weather, only bad clothing." In Arizona, you have to account for the sweltering hot days and strangely cold nights, especially if you're deciding to camp out in the desert. During the day, try to wear clothing that encourages a cooler body temperature. At night, have a warm jacket handy to ward off the chill, especially right at the beginning and toward the end of summer. This also means wearing the right shoes. Strappy sandals just won't cut it on hikes or long walks. Instead, invest in a pair of good hiking or running shoes. These will also come in handy in areas known for snakes and scorpions, as they provide an extra layer of protection.
While water should be the first item you pack for any trip outdoors, several other things may make an outdoor experience more pleasurable. Sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen are all good places to start. Other supplies worth taking along include protein snacks such as bars or jerky, a thermal blanket, disinfectant cream, a bandage, a flashlight and a safety whistle. The number of supplies you take with you depends on where you're going, what you'll be doing and how long you intend to do it.