Monday, September 22, 2008

Hiking in the Grand Canyon

If your are spending time in the southwest this winter, you might want to consider a hike into the "Big Ditch." If you do, here a a few things to consider:


• Temperatures in the SUN are normally 120 to 140 Degrees Fahrenheit (40 to 50 Degrees Celsius) inside the canyon. The lower you go the hotter it gets.

•Plan to start your hike before 6 a.m. If you will not finish your hike before noon, then plan on resting in a comfortable area with food, water and shade until 4 p.m. Finish your hike in the evening when there is shade along the trail.

• Almost all of the people who need emergency medical help in the canyon due to heat illness are people who are hiking between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

• If you are hiking uphill in the sun, you will sweat 1 to 2 liters of water and electrolytes per hour. It is virtually impossible to replace this amount of loss. Hiking in the shade will allow you to hike more efficiently and more safely.

• If you hike with a soaking wet shirt, you will significantly reduce how much you sweat, how dehydrated you will become and your total electrolyte loss.

• If you do not replace your electrolytes, mainly salt, by eating more food than usual, you can significantly alter you brain’s chemistry and your ability to think clearly. It is called Water Intoxication and causes scores of hikers to go to the hospital every summer.

• Hikers in the canyon need to eat twice as many calories as usual to meet their energy and electrolyte requirements. (CARBOHYDRATES AND SODIUM)

• Everyone who hikes in the canyon for the first time reports that it was more difficult than they expected. Be conservative in planning your hikes!