The summer months, with their long, warm and sunny days are an opportune time for exploring the more than 40 miles of trails the Conservancy’s preserves have to offer. However, hiking in the summer can present its own challenges, from the abundance of bugs to some extreme heat and weather events. We asked members of our Stewardship team, who with their time in the field are experts on spending time outside in all conditions, what their favorite tips are for staying safe and cool outdoors during the summer months.
“I like to fill my water jug about halfway then throw it in the freezer for the night. In the morning I fill it the rest of the way. It keeps my water much cooler for much longer. It’s 11:00 am as I write this, on a hot day in the field, and I still have ice in my water bottle!”
Travis Lyle, Land Steward
“Avoid the heat: Seek out shade! The cool, shady ravines along the river are usually a few degrees cooler than the surrounding hills. If part of your hike is in a meadow or other unshaded area- do that part early in the day.
Cool Down: Take the time to take off your shoes and dip your bare feet in a creek for a couple of minutes – it will make your whole day better. (A special note here that while we encourage you to take a dip in the creek to cool off mid-hike, please refrain from building any rock dams, as that can disrupt the natural flow of both water and life down the stream!)”
Stephen L. Mohr, Jr., Preserves Manger
“Wear light-colored clothing, Geranium oil (a natural tick repellant) and khaki pants tucked into boots, along with a daily tick check. Also – get out there early, so you can nap the heat away in the afternoon!”
Sean Roberts, Land Steward
“My number one piece of advice for enjoying our preserves during these hot summer months is timing. Get out early. Not only is this a great way to beat the heat and get your outdoors fix, but it also provides a whole new perspective on our preserves. They are less busy with people, but still teeming with activity as the natural world awakens as well. Or get out late for a sunset hike and enjoy a different perspective as wildlife begins to wind down in the early evening glow.”
Eric Roper, Forester
“Seems opposite of what to do in summer heat, but for hiking I like to wear long-sleeved button-up shirts from thrift stores. Second-hand shirts are typically worn a little thin which allows for better breathability while also providing additional protection from the sun (I hate wearing sunscreen), ticks, and poison ivy. And after the hike, when I’ve sweated through all my clothes, a button-up shirt is much easier and pleasant to change out of then wrestling with a clingy, wet t-shirt over my arms and head.”
Brandon Tennis, Senior Vice President of Stewardship
As always, we encourage you to consider the American Hiking Society’s 10 essentials of hiking. Maps of the Conservancy’s preserves can be found on each preserve webpage. Be safe, stay cool, and enjoy your time out in nature!