TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As Tucson slowly moves towards its first 100 degree day, which should come this weekend, a little common sense is in order.
KOLD News 13 went to the Sweetwater Trail Head at noon on Friday, as temperatures increased, to see if anyone might be hiking and if so, what precautions they might be taking.
We found one hiker, a young man by the name of Eric Gilkey, a 22-year-old student from Michigan. He was prepared with sunscreen, hiking shoes and water but he was not prepared for the Tucson heat.
He thought he’d hike the trails for a couple of hours in the midday heat but his hike lasted less than 40 minutes.
“Maybe I just came at the wrong time,” he said.
Anytime the temperatures exceed 100, it’s not the time to think about a hike, especially without experience and knowledge.
Gilkey had neither. He’d never hiked Sweetwater nor had he hiked in Tucson in the summer.
Asked if he thought he’d be okay, “I think so but maybe I’m being unrealistic,” he said.
At least he realized that he’d maybe made a mistake and cut his hike short.
A lesson learned safely today, but one that others more used to southern Arizona heat already know.
Mike Robert sells eggs at the corner of Silverbell and Camino del Cerro.
“I’m here eight to ten hours a day,” he said. “Even when it’s 110 degrees.” But after a few years, he’s learned how to handle the heat.
“I guess it all starts before you get out into the heat,” he said. “You got to start hydrating yourself four to six hours before you get out here.”
He says by the time he sits down in the sun, he’s already had a gallon water. He brings another three.
Another experienced Arizonan, Bonnie Lee Meadows, who’s selling honey a few feet away agrees.
“We hydrate,” she said. “They have to hydrate.”
She says hydration and finding a bit of shade are the keys to making it out in the sun.