Five Tips to Avoid Heat Exhaustion

Flagstaff, Arizona, is probably one of a handful of desert destinations that is green.  Every other place I’ve been to in Arizona, from Sedona to Tombstone is dry and hot like the desert I’ve always known. It’s easy to remember the basic principles of being in the heat when the sun is beating down on you and there’s no shade for miles, but in a place like Flagstaff, it’s easy to forget that the rules of the desert still apply.

The last time I drove through Flagstaff I found myself pulling over into a random apartment complex, and throwing up in the parking lot. I’ve never had major issues with heat illness so it was a scary moment for me. I had a four hour drive home alone to make, and no one around near by to help me.

Heat exhaustion can take a big toll on you, whether you’re getting ready to enjoy the night at hand or you’re getting ready to hit the road. In some cases, it can even put you in the hospital. Here are a few tips to make sure that you avoid the same situation:

  1. Water. Water is by far the most important thing that will keep you from passing out or going to the hospital. It’s generally recommended to try and drink your weight in ounces under normal circumstances, so you’ll want to aim even higher. This feels unreasonable to most people, but if it’s hot enough, you’ll chug through it like nothing. Just be sure to keep plenty available, and you will avoid dehydration.
  2. Loose fitting clothes. Only crazy people and firemen wear heavy thick layers in the desert heat. Keep it simple, and mostly cotton. Make sure your skin can breathe, and you’ll cut down on any extraneous sweating.
  3. If you’re going to be mostly outdoors, take plenty of breaks. If you’re hiking or camping, find places with plenty of shade to cool down. Taking the time to relax and catch your breath will not only help you avoid overexertion, but will also force you to stop and enjoy the scenery.
  4. Keep snacks on hand. Fruit, protein bars and trail mix will ensure that you do not succumb to a dip in blood sugar in your time in the heat. Finding yourself without sufficient food and water can lead to dehydration, which is also one of the first signs of heat exhaustion. If you keep plenty of each on hand will ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
  5. Plan your time outside right. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, and sometimes you want to be out in the heat of the day. If you don’t though, try to organize your activities to either the early morning or late afternoon hours. You’ll avoid the hottest temperatures of the day and still have plenty of sunlight to enjoy the day.

Have you ever experienced heat exhaustion? What happened?

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Travel Questions No. 1 – Does the Weather Affect How You Enjoy Vacation?

My Visit to Jerome, Arizona

Jerome has been on my travel to-do list for quite a while. I’ve always been intrigued by ghosts, and after I saw the movie 1408 I decided I wanted to be a haunted hotspot traveler, not necessarily to debunk ghost stories but to experience these places and things for myself. When I started researching places to go throughout the United States, I noticed Jerome popped up on multiple lists.

Jerome, Arizona is a former mining town, nestled right above Cleopatra Hill on Mingus Mountain. It was founded in 1876, and quickly became known as the “Wickedest Town in the West”. With a name like that, who wouldn’t want to there, right? Once the copper and gold started to dwindle, Jerome went from being a wicked little mining town to a veritable ghost town. These days it’s home to a lot of artisans and writers, and due to the unstable nature that comes with mountainside construction, the aesthetic of the town hasn’t changed much.

I originally planned on staying in Jerome for a night, but due to an unforeseen family complication, I ended up just passing through Jerome on my way to Flagstaff. I didn’t get to venture inside the community center or the Jerome Grand Hotel, which are the two popular spots for spook sightings. However, I don’t feel I really needed to. The moment I realized I was pulling into the Jerome city limits, I felt like I had been transported to a Stephen King movie. Jerome is surrounded by trees, which sets it apart from many other nearby Arizona destinations, and I don’t think any building I saw had been renovated…ever. Ghosts or not, I think the overall experience of Jerome lends itself to the fantastical. I pulled over at the first opportunity I got and walked around for a bit, taking in the buildings and the people and the incredible view from Jerome’s Historic State Park.

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The view from outside Jerome.

Another thing I noticed about Jerome is how quiet it is. Even with the people walking through the streets, it just wasn’t quite as noisy as I was used to. Jerome reminds me of Sedona in many ways, but I think its location and size doesn’t allow for nearly as many visitors. In many ways, Jerome still lives up to the name of “ghost town”. I’d like to go back one day, and spend a night in the famous Grand Hotel or see if I spot a former lady of the night at the Inn. If I see twins roaming the hallways though, I’m not staying.