Hot Fun in the Summertime

I don’t know what your neck of the woods is like today, but in Toronto it is H-O-T!  With the humidity it is hitting 43C.  I spent some time in the back yard earlier, but now I’m hiding in a dark room in the center of my house.  The fans are blasting, the popsicles are melting, and the cold bath is running.  Ahhhhh.

luke getting a refill

What if you’re in the woods though?  How do you deal with the heat when there is no a/c?  In extreme heat, you need to avoid heat stroke and stay comfortable.   Here are some tips:

  • High output activities (like hiking and paddling) should be reserved for the morning or the evening.  Save the middle of the day for quiet activities in the shade or swimming!
  • Drink, drink, drink.  You should be drinking regularly and more often than usual.  You’re not going to want to wait until you’re thirsty (this is a sign of dehydration) but rather hydrate BEFORE your body needs it, avoiding too much sugar , caffeine and alcohol.
  • Although you’ll probably be dying to strip down to bare essentials, loose-fitting, light coloured and breezy clothing that covers up your skin will help a lot.
  • Do you remember grade 9 science class?  I do.  The process of evaporation draws heat away from the surface (evaporative cooling).   What this means  is if something is wet, as it dries, the surface gets cooler.  In other words, get wet!

That last point reminds me of a trip that a friend and I took to Mexico.  We were backpacking and ended up in a small inland town.  We checked into the hostel in the middle of the night to 40C+ temperatures!  Everything was sweating.  We couldn’t sleep, heck we could barely breathe.  A couple of Australian girls down the hall gave us the tip that saved us from the suffering.  Get wet.  My companion and I took turns jumping into the shower fully clothed and lying on our beds until we dried off.  The cotton held the water and so the cooling effect lasted longer than if we’d gone au naturel .  The next day involved climbing pyramids in the middle of the hottest day I have ever experienced.  We survived, and so will you.

Just grab your water bottle and your sunscreen and plan your days accordingly.  Most of all, enjoy the heat.  It lasts for such a short time.

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