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Beat the heat on these hikes

Posted by Lauren Braden at Jul 08, 2010 01:30 PM |
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Unusually high temperatures in Washington state have hikers running for shade! Here are some ideas for beating the heat.

Washington state is in for some of the highest temps in the country today and tomorrow. 98 in Winthrop. 91 in Seattle.  96 in Trout Lake. 

What are you doing to beat the heat?

If you can get up high, alpine lakes and snow-fringed meadows will provide a respite. Drive to Paradise at Mount Rainier where the current midday temp is 71. It's also 71 at Rainy Pass.

Stuck down low? Cool your heels on lower elevation hikes by choosing routes with plenty of shade along glacial-fed streams to periodically dip your feet in.

By the weekend, things will be cooling down a bit. Norway Pass at Mount St. Helens will provide low seventies temps, great views and a cool breeze. Mount Townsend in the Olympics is a great bet for blooming rhododendrons and spectacular summit views.

When hiking in high temps, it is crucial to hydrate yourself before, during and after your hike. Keep drinking from your hydration pack or water bottle periodically, even if you do not feel thirsty. (By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.) If you don't usually carry a water filter on a dayhike, be sure to bring along some iodine just in case you run out of the water you brought along with you - you don't want to be in a situation where you are rationing your remaining water. Be aware of common symptoms of dehydration or heat exhaustion, such as nausea, dizziness, headache, confusion, or feeling faint. Take it slow and take frequent breaks in the shade.

Remember to use extra caution when crossing streams and rivers this weekend. Stream levels can rise dramatically within a few hours from rapid snowmelt.