Summer time is a great time to get out in the Red River Gorge, it is also a very hot time of year. So how do you enjoy a day of hiking through the Kentucky wilderness without falling victim to heat exhaustion? Here are 6 of our tips:
Wearing clothes that wick sweat and dry quickly are a must in the humid Kentucky summer heat. Your body will be able to regulate it's core body temperature better and you'll be much more comfortable with drier clothes. Your hiking buddies would really appreciate it if you wear antimicrobial clothing as well. A wide brimmed hat is also a must. While you might not be dressed for prom, you'll keep the sun off of your head and face.
Plan Hiking Around the Heat
Know when the hottest part of the day is and plan accordingly. Usually this falls between 10am and 3pm. We like waking up super early and getting on the trail right at or before sunrise. There isn't anything more refreshing than watching the sun peak out over the beautiful Red River Gorge landscape while hiking to your destination.
It may seem self explanatory, we run into SEVERAL hikers that aren't adequately prepared for the day. In humid 90 degree plus weather you run of the mill 20oz Dasani isn't going to cut it. Your body sweats tremendous amounts in humid conditions, trying to stay cool. The least you can do is give it a fighting chance and bring plenty of water. While it's tempting to have a few adult beverages to "cool off" you'll want to avoid alcohol. Alcohol can leave the body severely dehydrated for 24-48 hours after consumption.
Know the Trails
While we love the Auxier Ridge Loop, it can be miserable on a hot, sunny day. With little shade, and the heat from the rocky terrain, it's easy to get overheated on this seemingly easy hike. Opt for trails with plenty of cover to shade you from direct sunlight. We enjoy hiking trails along Swift Camp Creek during the hot months for several reasons. Not only does it provide outstanding shade, there are several places you can jump in the creek to cool off. Soaking in cool creek water adds to the experience while lowering your core temperature and even refreshing the mind.
It's already hot, no need in adding to the discomfort. The more weight you carry the more energy it will take to move it around. This energy/effort will mean more heat is created. We all know you want to show off that fancy new portable cooking setup, but is it really needed? Probably not! Well unless you are meeting us on the trail somewhere to serve us lunch while we relax under a tree. In that case I'm sure we can work something out.
Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion
When hiking you can lose one or two quarts of water per hour. Without proper hydration it becomes easy to fall victim to heat exhaustion and even worse heat stroke. The most common signs of heat exhaustion are a pale face, nausea, vomiting, cool and moist skin, headache and cramps. These can start out mild and may only be one symptom such as a headache or cramps. You'll want to immediately get to the shade and rest. A good 30 to 45 minute break will do wonders. While resting drink some water with electrolytes and eat a high energy food with plenty of fats and sugar. Even better, take a dip in some cool water out of the sun.
Disclaimer (to keep the insurance company happy happy happy): We feel the above is solid advice. Mainly because we took the time to write it. This information is merely an opinion and nothing more. Hiking Red River Gorge and it's associates are not Doctors, Lawyers, Divorce Counselors nor Car Salesmen. Please do not print this page and carry it with you in case of an emergency. If you do however, you MUST laminate it, then sell it on eBay with our hashtag #HikingRRG.