Beating the heat at Palo Duro Canyon

Beating the heat at Palo Duro Canyon
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

Palo Duro Canyon (KFDA) - The Palo Duro Canyon will see an estimated 175,000 visitors this summer, but there's a few things park rangers want you to know before you hit the trail.

With the Panhandle's rising temperatures, officials at Palo Duro Canyon are urging visitors to come prepared. Park Resource Manager and Safety Officer Mark Hassell said it's important to consider how intense the heat can be in the canyon.

"A lot of people think air temperature, but they don't think trail temperature," said Hassell. "The trail will get a good 20 degrees warmer than the air temperature sometimes. We've actually measured it at about 150 degrees down there."

Hassell went on to say they've already had emergency situations this year, and even this week due to dehydration. However, there's a few things you can do to beat the heat.

"Don't hike alone, if you can always have a buddy with you," said Hassell. "Start hydrating the day before, don't wait till the day of to start drinking. Wear some light-colored loose clothing."

Hassell also says it's important to have good hiking shoes.

"The trails have gotten warm enough before, we've had people melt the soles off their hiking boots," said Hassell.

He also said it's important to wear sunscreen, hike at your own pace, and never outdo yourself. Park officials said a 16 oz. bottle of water is nowhere near enough to keep you hydrated this weekend, and especially not this summer.

"I would drink at least a quart of water a mile," said Hassell. "People think that's a lot, but when it's in the heat, you don't realize how fast you're losing moisture."

Local doctor at ER Now Partrick Kirkland also said it's important to replenish your body.

"The body cools itself by evaporating water through sweat," said Kirkland. "You can consume at least 10 to 12 ounces of water per hour somewhere like Palo Duro Canyon."

Dr. Kirkland also said there are some symptoms to look out for when you've reached your limit.

"Cramps, you could start having nausea, you could event start vomiting in later phases of that," said Kirkland. "You could also feel a little light-headed as well as your skin could feel a little cold and clammy."

Park rangers will be available this weekend to bring water to those in emergency situations. Due to lack of service, they said it's important to not rely on your cell phone if you need help.

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