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SUMMER HIKING: NO MORE A TROUBLE


By: Salwat Hamrah June 19, 2014
The spirit of going outdoors is too blind to judge the weather never, a care free attitude towards the the sun, for it is fun. The astonishing view glimpsed from the top of the peaks you climbed holding your breath for a moment is never the regular walk. Beauty needs struggle, if it was an easy walk than everyone could have been a hiker. Trekking in summers opens new horizon for the eyes, everything is so clear, the whole existence is green, symmetry is pure. We do remember summer camps but summer hiking  can be unforgiving if not taken dealt properly. Sun will no more be a blessing, the painful heat right on those innocent eyes, if there is a chance for mercy against the heat it can save the poor from dehydration. Dehydration is the depletion of the liquid in our body. The body fluids loss effects the efficiency of the brain. The more dehydrated the body becomes the less efficient is the body at cooling itself. But here can be a way out for everything. I figured out some tips based on my experience and my experience is a parody of mistakes i committed.

DRINK
Make it a target to keep yourself hydrated. Carry water in adequate amount. There is a way to drink water when each drop matters for survival. Our body cannot absorb at sudden, take small sips of water after every interval. During hikes a 15-20 minutes frequency to sip water will do good. Listen to your body. Do not wait till you feel thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. The body signposts you later. Don't make her call. The color of urine is a good indicator of dehydration. If it is pale yellow or straw color than it is time to take rest and drink water.

ELECTROLYTE
Trekking or any other outdoor activity in hot or humid conditions depletes our body of the essential fluids. It is very important to replace the loss fluids. The classic technique is to carry plenty of water, mixing 2 pinches of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar in one liter of water, sip it while going in the sun. Some even prefer ORS or Glucose. In any case don't take too much of electrolyte, the body will need more water to clear off the extra salt and it will make you dehydrated again. Moreover the rise of salts in the body can give rise to Blood Pressure. It is just an advisory measure in extreme heat not on regular basis.

EAT OFTEN
Food is the main source of energy and also a source for salts in our body. In a typical summer trek the food should have water content. Avoid eating food that requires water for digestion like fried food, chips, non-vegetarian food or biscuits. Instead keep some space for fresh fruits and vegetables like apple, orange, melon, cucumber in your bag pack. As a rule divide your meals in small quantities for balanced energy deliveries to the body. Avoid caffeine drinks, soda or cold drinks and alcohol as they promote dehydration.

CLOTHING
Wear light colored clothes as it tends to reflect the heat away from the body, I remember wearing black T-Shirts on treks and it was never a good idea. The moisture picking clothes made of polypropylene or polyester to pull moisture out of your skin. This cloth is commonly  used in workout clothing or sports wear. The fabric draws sweat and perspiration off the skin and out to the exterior of fabric. Polyester holds to about 0.4 percent of moisture while cotton 7 percent. It keeps you dryer, cooler and comfortable than being a sweat-pulp. 

A cap in summer treks is mandatory, it covers your head from direct sunlight. It is advised to cover neck as well as face with a scarf or handkerchief to avoid the sun. A sun burned skin makes you feel irritable hot and damages the skin too. Apply sunscreen as per your doctor over the time of trek.

WAIT FOR THE SHADE
Avoid hiking between the peak hours, the peak hours depend form place to place. In a typical trek the peak hours start from 12 noon to 3 pm.  Even of you are drinking and eating healthy you still need to walk in shade. Plan your day in such a manner that you don't have to trek in the peak hours. The experienced trekkers know that the timing of their hike is the most important factor in avoiding hazards. This can be a reason why they say sleep early rise early.

STAY COOL
If you get a chance to soak yourself in water don't miss it. This will make lower your core body temperature. It will make you feel good. A wet scarf on the head or face will make a wonderful difference. Keep yourself cool.

A happy summer trek is what we all want, at the same time it is very important to understand that ignorance proves fatal. The result of dehydration due to intense sweating can cause Heat Exhaustion. In this the victim gets a pale face, nausea, vomiting, headache, cramps, cool and moist skin can be referred as symptoms The only treatment is to drink water with electrolytes and high energy foods. Rest in shade and cool the body. If the body looses the ability to cool itself it can be life threatening. It could be a  Heat-Stroke if there is confusion or poor judgement followed by weak or rapid pulse rate, high core body temperature, dry skin and a flushed face. The victim must be cooled immediately by pouring water continuously on the victim's head and torso. Create fan for cooling effect and  move the victim to shade. Remove excess clothes if any and evacuate to the nearest hospital.


Nobody is immune to sun, the precautions that we take define our ability. For those who stay mostly indoors should slowly start spending time outdoors in the morning and evening initially. The body takes its own time to acclimatize with the heat. For the beginners avoid sun between 12 pm to 3 pm, keep yourself hydrated and don't miss this summer trek. Can you afford to miss the existence. Pack your bags, wear your cap, drink and eat often, that's all you need to do.

Tags: summer , hiking

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