Arizona is a gorgeous state with a plethora of bucket-list-worthy destinations. But it also has a dangerously hot summer. Read on, Grand Canyon Adventurer, to learn how to enjoy the former without experiencing the latter.
Just like at home, you want to keep hydrated while walking around outside. Hydration is even more essential in Flagstaff and the surrounding areas because of the high altitude. Flagstaff’s elevation is 7,000 feet above sea level. The air is a bit thinner here, which means you use more water, burn more calories, and require more rest than you may be used to. Always take your refillable water bottle everywhere you go and drink from it throughout the day. The Grand Canyon’s South Rim has many water bottle refill stations that reduce plastic water bottle waste and offer a convenient place for you to fill up. Just like the tank in your car, think about replenishing your water supply when you dwindle to 1/4 full.
Avoid Heat Stroke
You are well on your way to avoiding heat stroke if you follow our first tip, but there’s more. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is typically 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This is about 10 degrees cooler than Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ, both of which regularly experience blistering temperatures in excess of 100 degrees. Both destinations are plenty hot enough to put travelers at risk of heat stroke. Heat Stroke occurs when the body temperature increases to 104 degrees and can be deadly. Dehydration, sun exposure and lack of vital nutrients all contribute to your risk of heat stroke. If you feel faint, dizzy, nauseous, or have a dry mouth, you may be experiencing the early warning signs of heat stroke. Cool off by seeking shade, air conditioning, drinking water, and regulating your breathing. Heat stroke is easy to avoid if you plan ahead. Be sure to hydrate, use sun protection, rest often, and keep your energy up by eating and replenishing your electrolytes with salty foods.
Sunbathers beware! High-altitude air is pretty bad at filtering the sun’s UV radiation. It’s twice as easy to get a sun burn at 7,000 feet than at sea level. Bring a brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sun screen to protect yourself from getting burned. A thin, breathable long sleeve garment is excellent protection from the sun and can be more comfortable than a T-shirt. You will often lose less water through sweat using this strategy. Lastly, always check the forecast and look for that day’s UV index which indicates the risk of sun damage that day.
If you are driving in Arizona during the summertime be sure your vehicle has been properly maintained. Check that your vehicle’s coolant and tires are prepared for the journey. Pack extra water under the seats and in the trunk or storage space. It can also get quite chilly at nighttime so bring blankets in case you must stop at night. Northern Arizona experiences a monsoon season between July and September. If you are caught in the torrential rains pull you vehicle over and activate your hazard lights. The rains are intense but usually short-lived.