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  1. #1
    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
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    Default How hot is too hot???

    With our first heat wave (3-4 days in a row of 90 + temps) hitting New England now.. I have gotten curious about hikers and heat.

    How hot and humid does it have to be before you decide to ditch a planned hike? Do you hang it up when the forcast temp hits 90? 100? What is the hottest weather you have day hiked in??

    Me, if it is over 90 and at all humid, then I don't wanna hike. I'll get a nice glass of ice tea and lounge in the shade or stay even stay in side with air conditioning or a good fan!


    For purposes of this post, I am not referring to AT thru hikers. They pretty much have to face what ever elements come their way!

    DavidNH

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    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    I'm older and old injuries swell like crazy in heat. Much above 85F and I'm not out there hiking. I also have lung problems that are aggravated by heat. In the interest of not having SAR come out unnecessarily, I don't hike when it is over 85F in the mountains.

  3. #3

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    I would probably not undertake any moderate to strenuous mountain hikes past 90*F. And that means 90*F in the mountains. I hiked this past weekend and it was just a tick over my limits. Past 90*F though I might consider a river or creek side hike, say the Chattoga River system of trails. If you get too hot, go just in the creek!

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    Acclimation. I was good to 100*F when I lived in CO. Yesterday was OK at 5PM. Today, as in right now, bites. From 59*F and foggy, to 85*F. Warm overnight. I will dayhike this afternoon, see if I can get an eylid sweat worked up. Serves me right, I did not speak well of the winter we had.

    We are having two of our three summer days here this week.

    The best part, is that the tomatoes might set some fruit.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNH View Post
    With our first heat wave (3-4 days in a row of 90 + temps) hitting New England now.. I have gotten curious about hikers and heat.

    How hot and humid does it have to be before you decide to ditch a planned hike? Do you hang it up when the forcast temp hits 90? 100? What is the hottest weather you have day hiked in??

    Me, if it is over 90 and at all humid, then I don't wanna hike. I'll get a nice glass of ice tea and lounge in the shade or stay even stay in side with air conditioning or a good fan!


    For purposes of this post, I am not referring to AT thru hikers. They pretty much have to face what ever elements come their way!

    DavidNH
    i did that so-called weenie roller coaster in no. virginia a couple of times in 100 degree heat. wasn't tough at all

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    i did that so-called weenie roller coaster in no. virginia a couple of times in 100 degree heat. wasn't tough at all
    That is because you are always so cool!

  7. #7
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    Ya'll would have a hard time here in FL. I was laughing at the natives in New England a few years back during a "heat wave". All the state highway workers were just leaning on their shovels and wiping their brows and the temps were way up in the mid 80's. Of course I love my AC. When I went to elementary school in Orlando and Clearwater, the schools were not ACed. Most of Clearwater High was not ACed. Somehow you do it.

    I think we ought to pass some gorical laws so there won't be any more heat waves and hurricanes and tidal waves or polar bears dying.
    I'm not really a hiker, I just play one on White Blaze.

  8. #8
    Teddy Bear in a hammock HikerRanky's Avatar
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    Good Morning David,

    Saturday I went hiking for 7 miles at a local park here in Middle Tennessee.

    The temp was 90, but there was a bit of a constant breeze in the forest that day. Pace was somewhere in the 2 mph range on average.. Stopped at several points and rehydrated my body and bandanas in an effort to cool down. I had a 2L Platy and that was sufficient.

    Later that day, I found out that the relative humidity was at 85%, making the heat index right at 117...

    While I had a good time, it was a bit too much in hindsight...

  9. #9

    Default It depends....

    Full sun vs. part sun vs. shade,
    Up vs. down vs. level
    Humidity level
    Pack weight
    Availability of water
    Breeze vs. still air

    Worst AT backpacking heat I experienced was NJ in June '04. Mid 90s with extreme humidity, mosquitos, mostly in full sun. On the other hand, the hiking terrain was easy but it didn't help. Nights were more oppressive than days. I was supposed to hike for 10 days but bailed after 3. A drenching thunderstorm helped some.

    But dry conditions can be unpleasant. On my JMT hike in '06, I experienced some stretches where full sun, dust & sand, clogged nostrils & chaffing thighs made conditions unpalatable, all on long downhill parts.

    Re hottest weather I've day-hiked in, probably 95 near where Wolf hiked - between Snickers Gap & Keys Gap in VA just north of the roller coaster.

  10. #10
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    Getting acclimated to the heat definately helps, to a point. What gets me isn't so much the heat though, it's humidity. I've been fine hiking in 95 deg heat in Utah, and even above 100 at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Put me on the AT in 95 degree heat with 90% humidity though and forget it, I don't feel like walking two feet like alone hike. Maybe it depends on what's motivating you to hike at the time?


  11. #11
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    I cut short my June 2005 section hike 'cuz it was too damned hot to hike. I remember downing about five bottles of cold juice at the garden center where the AT crosses Rte. 7 near Great Barrington. Scooting across the open summit of Race Mtn., looking for a spot of shade. Low to mid eighties I can deal with. Above that, not so much.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNH View Post
    . ....Me, if it is over 90 and at all humid, then I don't wanna hike. I'll get a nice glass of ice tea and lounge in the shade or stay even stay in side with air conditioning or a good fan!....DavidNH
    David, if you're talking about day-hiking, wouldn't you enjoy hiking from the 90+ valley up into the Presidentials, say to 5,000' or even to Mt. Washington which is rarely above 70? The first 2 miles or so would be miserable but eventually you'd hit the cooler temps and breezes. You'd likley appreciate it more on days like that.

  13. #13
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    Speaking of hiking in extreme heat, y'all might wanna check the other thread about David Horton's CDT speed-hike attempt. It seems extreme heat ended that effort. Don't be macho. Hiking without proper hydration can be physically harmful. Never mind sun stroke, without adequate water you can permanently damage your kidneys.

    Around this time last year I had a few bouts with kidney stones. Not fun. The doctors don't really know what causes them -- but one common refrain is "drink lots of water." They recommend three liters of water per day even for normal day-to-day city life. Think how much more you'd need for hiking hard on a 90-degree day.

  14. #14

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    It's the humidity that kills me. It's been 98 and h*ll holy humidity for the past couple of days, and I don't have a/c in my house. Yeah, I'm the last of the crazy people who doesn't have air conditioning in Philly. We do have a pool, though. When it's sticky, I just hate it. And I work from home, so no relief in an air conditioned office.

    A few years back, I was visiting friends in Dallas. It was 90-ish, but on those particular days, there was way lower humidity than I'm used to up here. The Texans kept asking me how I liked the heat down there. For some reason, they seemed to think that it doesn't get hot in Philly cuz it's "up north". I thought it was quite pleasant in Dallas at that particular moment.

    So for me, I will hike into the 90s if there is water on the trail and the humidity isn't making everything feel like a wet wool blanket. In fact, one of my fave hikes is an overnight trip to Ricketts Glen with a day hike along the Falls Trail. It's always cool there.

  15. #15

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    acclimation. I'm here in the N TX area. I walk 5 miles a day, more like evening in the summer. As long as the Temp-Humidity number is 100 or below, I head out, but the sun is setting. I'm also walking in exposed area, which has winds to help. But also beating down sun!
    For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away Bryan Adams....
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  16. #16
    jersey joe jersey joe's Avatar
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    90-100 degree weather isn't TOO hot. It just seems like it to a lot of the weenies that have a hard time leaving their air conditioning these days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNH View Post
    With our first heat wave (3-4 days in a row of 90 + temps) hitting New England now.. I have gotten curious about hikers and heat.

    How hot and humid does it have to be before you decide to ditch a planned hike? Do you hang it up when the forcast temp hits 90? 100? What is the hottest weather you have day hiked in??

    Me, if it is over 90 and at all humid, then I don't wanna hike. I'll get a nice glass of ice tea and lounge in the shade or stay even stay in side with air conditioning or a good fan!


    For purposes of this post, I am not referring to AT thru hikers. They pretty much have to face what ever elements come their way!

    DavidNH
    It's just never too hot for me. I've sectioned in July in 90+ and high humidity. I've day hiked here in 100+ and high humidity. I drink oceans of water the whole time and I'm quite happy. I hate the cold more than anything. I'd rather dress way down in the heat than bundle up in the cold. I may get warm as long as I'm moving in cold weather but the instant I stop I'm freezing again. I've also spent a few days in Death Valley in 120 degree dry heat in late June. We have a tent trailer but NO a/c unit on it, so there was no escape. And we soaked it up. Loved it. In my case it's genetic memory - my Nordic and German ancestors didn't go to Minnesota or North Dakota when they left the Old Country. They went straight to Hawaii. I'm just genetically programmed to love hot weather.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

  18. #18
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    The extreme heat/humidity is a hike-killer for me in the hottest part of the day. Say, anything with a heat index above 90.

    If you hike from the break of dawn (or earlier) until about 10-11am, and/or hike after about 6-7pm, it's usually not so bad. I'm not much of a morning person but this is one way—coupled with staying well-hydrated and keeping a cotton t-shirt wet while hiking—to survive the heat and not be too miserable.

  19. #19
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Hiking in the heat/humidity is hard enough. But what is WORSE for me is trying to sleep when it is still 80+ at 10pm with dew points near 70. I just can't sleep and am totally miserable.

    Day-hiking in such heat is not a deal-breaker, but if I have to sleep in the stuff......pass.

  20. #20
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    Good idea to take a long siesta on seriously hot days. Hike early AM, and late into the evening. But take a long break during the hottest part of the day.

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