As the summer overtakes the Valley, the heat comes and we retreat indoors. But for those still eager to get outside, walk some trails, and climb some mountains, summer can be beautiful -- if you're prepared. Here are eight basic tips for hitting the trails in these triple-digit days. Despite the "duh" quality of some of these tips, these are crucial things to keep in mind for hikes in summer, when it can prove fatal if a "duh" turns into an "oops."
Wear Appropriate Clothing With so many people walking up the trails in jeans and flip-flops, we question whether or not this is so obvious. We're not saying that anyone needs to go on an REI shopping spree -- but flip-flops? You can do better than that. Grab some clothes that you're comfortable moving in and some sneakers to keep your feet happy on that walk. Blisters and chafing do not a happy hiker make.
Bring Water! Bring more than you think. It may be heavy, but truth is you'd rather have too much than too little.
Time It Right The heat hits heavy and it hits early, so what do you do? Go earlier. It is an unfortunate truth, but to have a more pleasant hike you have to wake up early and beat the heat. Bonus for you early birds: There's nothing quite like seeing the sunrise from the top of a mountain.
Know Your Body It's always a thrill to push yourself while exercising, but be cautious in the heat and know that even the most fit can (and do) suffer in the summer. Listen to your body and take a break whenever you need one. And remember, shade is your friend -- find a tree or a ledge with shade that can shield you from the sun while you take a breather. Sunscreen (always a necessity) can only go so far.
Bring Water! No joke. Don't drink it all at once. Hydration starts far before physical activity, so make sure that you're drinking up the night before to prepare your body. Drinking too much too fast can make you sick, so sip and prepare.
Hike with a friend Bring along a friend or (at least) tell someone where you are going and when you think you'll return. The buddy system is not only motivational, but a safer way to hike.
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Do your homework Never underestimate the power of knowledge. Make sure to research before going on your hike -- weather, terrain, directions, and whatever else you need to feel most confident and comfortable. Arizona has hikes of all types, so shop around for the hike that is just right for you. Whether you like water hikes, hikes for the view, or flower hikes, you can find it in AZ if you do some digging.
Bring Water! Seriously. Do it. No excuses.
Whether you are a regular hiker or a newbie to the hiking game, be cautious, watch your step, and don't take the heat lightly this summer.