If You Can’t Take the Heat, Stay off the Trails! – at Garden of the Gods; Scotsman Trail

Oh, those Colorado summers! Those sizzling days over 90 degrees. But is that gonna stop me from enjoying the fruits of Mother Nature’s glorious labor? Nah! I may be a wimp when it comes to the cold, but I can take the heat (in more ways than one). As long as it’s not soupy humidity like what I’m used to from East coast living, I’m good! Ahhhh, the beauty of dry heat- take it in! It’s nice to be in the sunshine without my clothes soaking wet and sticking to me because of that high dew point. The sky is bright blue, not a cloud in the sky, the temps are high- so let’s go for a hike! Just fill up the water jug and let’s go on an adventure! A high heat, adventure and also my own little PSA about the importance of being prepared for hiking in the heat (hydration safety, everyone).

Where are we going this time? Well, Garden of the Gods. One of the premiere hiking areas of the Springs. But this time, we’re going to trek a new trail! Today, we are going to tackle the Scotsman Trail. I’m ready to take on this trail and take on this heat- we are feeling good today! Why, may you ask? I just nailed a really awesome interview for a new job I’m uber excited about! I deserve to treat myself to Mother Nature’s gifts. I’m feeling on top of the world right now so let’s literally get a top-of-the-world view! As I pull into the parking lot near my trail destination, it’s not crowded. Awesome! But, that’s only because it’s hot as hell and crazy people don’t willing go hiking in these extremes. Oh, and of course there is a red flag warning (for fires) but that’s pretty standard here in summer so we’ll just be careful. I didn’t plan on bringing any matches anyway. I got my sunscreen lathered on, my boots, sunglasses and tons of water to keep me company. Let’s tackle this heat and take on this trail!

As I’m hiking, I’m not running into anybody. I’m alone in the wilderness. Nice, the way I like it. The only person I ran into was someone riding a horse. They do have guided horse tours on certain trails at Garden of the Gods so this isn’t abnormal, and it wasn’t like a mirage. The guy riding even gave me that cowboy nod to say hello behind his mask. My imagination runs free wondering if I will cross paths with Billy the Kid or some other notorious and nefarious outlaw of the wild west. There’s something about a cowboy though… I take another long chug of water. Phew, it’s hot! This dainty blonde doesn’t take cute sips on her hikes. We continue on our imaginary wild west adventure. Taking in the scenes, the views, the beauty. Avoiding the little cacti strewn about and watching for the awful creature I don’t want to run into… again (he who shall not be named!). I’ve been meandering around for only 45 minutes at this point. Once again, I’m parched, so I go for another chug of water and… uh oh! Empty! OK that’s good, no water in 95-degree dry heat and I’m quite a ways away from my car. Alright, let’s try heading back.

Luckily, I actually was very aware of where I was and which way I needed to take to get back to my car. I’m still amazed that I went through THAT much water in only 45 minutes. Seriously, I brought a jug. I’m a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t conserve better and had to give up so easily. I definitely am going to invest in a hydration pack. As I’m heading back, I’m dodging horse pies from my friendly trail companion I had passed before. Nice! Especially in the heat, real great! The sun continues to stream down and I’m really glad I wore a shirt with sleeves otherwise my poor shoulders would be baking. At least I made one wise decision today. Damn, I’m thirsty! I just want to soak in my bath tub in cool water when I get back home. I notice; besides the horse, I haven’t seen any other creatures, not even birds. They know it’s too hot. And guaranteed they’re all relaxing in the shade of the brush looking at me thinking, look at this chick walking around in that heat, is she crazy? Hope she at least has plenty of water. No, little bird or rabbit, I don’t. Even the cacti are looking at me like, you seriously didn’t bring more water?

Finally, I make it back to my car. And wow, opening that front door I feel a burst of hot air smacking me in my face. Oooh, just what I want, to sit in a nice hot car after just hiking in that big, bold sun. Put that AC on FULL BLAST! The AC is so loud, I can’t even hear the music playing in my car. To the man who invented AC, Willis Carrier, THANK YOU! It’s times like these I constantly wonder, what did people do back before AC? And those women wearing petticoats and long sleeves, oh thank goodness we aren’t subjected to that! But I digress, I’m finally back home and I’ve already chugged 3 glasses of water and took a cool shower. Lessons learned from this hike: 1) Don’t hike if it’s 95-degrees outside unless absolutely necessary, 2) If I must hike in the high heat, bring multiple water jugs, or just get that hydration backpack, 3) Conserve. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, 4) Crack open the windows of the car so it doesn’t end up a furnace in there, and finally 5) Be grateful for having AC and clean running water, never take it for granted!

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