Summer is always hot here in the southwest, but with recent heat waves, daily temperatures in my high desert/mountain town of Durango, Colorado have been nearing the hundreds. I had this lengthy bucket list of things to do outside this summer, with tons of hikes and peaks and trying out some climbing; instead of all these fun adventures, though, I’ve found myself holed up in my dark room with all the blinds down napping my summer days away to avoid the heat. Depressing right? But do not fear! Even if a nap midday is in order every once in awhile, there are some other ways to beat the heat this summer and do all those fun things outside you want to do.
1. Do things super early in the day. I’ve been getting up quite early to do some climbing recently, and let me tell you, it’s fantastic. One, the temperature is cool enough that sometimes I even need a sweatshirt at the beginning. Two, the lighting is always phenomenal, especially if you make it somewhere early enough for the sunrise. And three, you finish whatever cool adventure you did, and you still have an entire day ahead of you to do other things! Win-win-win. Also, doing things early can be a great tip in beating the thunderstorms as well.
2. Or do things super late in the day. If you aren’t a morning person and slept through your cool morning activity time, summer is the time to try some night adventures. Skip a party every once in awhile and opt for a night hike to the top of a hill or mountain to stargaze with friends, or get creative with some light set-ups to do some night bouldering. We all have headlamps for a reason people, now go use them.
3. Get in the high country. I realize this is easier for people like me who live fifteen minutes from the high country, but for the rest of you, now’s the time to plan that trip to the mountains you’ve always been wanting to do! It can be cheap and easy and so worth it. It’s always significantly cooler up high (who would’ve thought), plus it’s absolutely gorgeous. Climb a fourteener; picnic in a meadow of wildflowers; go for a bikeride above treeline. The possibilities are endless.
4. Find water. Whether this means you go frolic in a river or a lake, or just dump a water bottle over your head every three seconds, being around water is a failsafe way to stay cool. Go for a hike by a stream and constantly dip your clothes in it. Or if by some miracle it rains take the opportunity to go for a run (just don’t get struck by lightning). Go boating! If the heat still has you feeling too lazy to even leave your home, set up a sprinkler in your backyard and run through it like you’re five years old again. You’ll be in heaven.
5. Find shade. Try to plan hikes or runs that are mostly in the trees. Or go slacklining or hammocking, activities that require the close presence of trees. If all else fails, constantly carry around an umbrella or walk near a tall person so you have your own personal shade with you at all times.
6. Take a trip somewhere cooler. Temperature cooler. You may be in the dopest place on earth for adventures, but sometimes when the weather won’t agree with you, you have to pack up and head somewhere a little less scalding. Like I said earlier, head for a camping trip in the mountains, or go as far north as your car can get you. Maybe research the coldest places in America, or even the world if you’re feeling extra ambitious. Another path you could take here is finding somewhere you can embrace the heat. Like road tripping to the beach and jumping in the ocean all day long!
And some final tips to stay safe while you’re out there having a blast in the summer sun:
- Listen to your mom, wear sunscreen. And a hat and sunglasses while you’re at it.
- Drink a lot of water! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend drinking 2 to 4 cups of cool fluids every hour when being active in hot environments.
- Don’t sit in hot cars too long! Or leave anyone or any pet in a car too long!
- Take breaks if you need it. We college kids aren’t quite as invincible as we like to think.
- Don’t get too in over your head. Heat exhaustion is real people, treat it as such.