by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Guadalupe Mountains Guide


brochure Guadalupe Mountains Guide - 2020
Guadalupe Mountains National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Visitor Guide 2015 summer/fall Find Your A Sky FullAdventure of Wonder and a Mosaic of Biodiversity Through the Seasons, The Beauty of the Guadalupes Remains Spring By Michael Haynie The interplay of light and shadow and their changing proportions through the seasons act as the warp and weft of the beautifully complex landscape of the Guadalupes. Nature, the master weaver who stitches it all together, has saved her most valued yarn to make sure it does not unravel. The silver thread of water hidden in remote canyons, running through scattered springs, and saved for a seasonal flourish when many would assume the desert would be at its hottest and driest, the summer, becomes the strength and support of a delicate fabric that we must handle with care. Easily torn, and time-consuming to mend, the varied environments of Guadalupe Mountains National Park are part and parcel of a precious heirloom that we bequeath to future generations. Such variety offers delightful surprises throughout the year as the seasons turn, some because they contradict what we would expect for a desert, and others because they do not mesh with the archetypal division of the year into four NPS Photos/M. Haynie On the Guadalupe Ridge Trail Summer Fall Winter seasons. Spring temperatures can be mild or extremely variable, accompanied by high winds. April showers are sporadic and often are measured only in the hundreths of an inch. Summer with increased light and heat, splits in two…before the monsoon rains, and after. Adding a little water this way has a transformative effect, bringing dormant seeds into their fullness. Fall brings welcome respite from the heat, and one of the greatest surprises of all…a beautiful display the sunset’s palette of colors held gently for a few weeks in the leaves of maples, ash, walnut, and sumacs. Bright orange, yellow, and scarlet deepen to amber, gold, and crimson from mid-October to mid-November. Winter’s shorter days range from cool to cold, but the nights are often freezing. Snow is rare, and high winds are again common. While the night sky here is always dazzling, the longer nights and clearer air of winter make for excellent viewing of the ancient light of stars and galaxies. For those with telescopes, this time of year offers excellent views of the Orion and Crab nebulas. For those without, extra gear is not needed to enjoy the seasonal highlight of the Geminid meteor shower in mid-December. cooler. Most nights will have freezing temperatures. Visibility is often better, so hikes to the highcountry offer distant vistas and viewing the night sky is often at its best. Before you visit, be sure to check out our safety information regarding the weather (page 5) and bring everything you need. With adequate preparation, Guadalupe Mountains National Park can be enjoyably visited all year long. Spring and fall are the busiest seasons. Visiting during these times allows you to avoid the more extreme temperatures of the summer and winter and to see some spectacular seasonal phenomena, whether its the bursting forth of new life in mid- to late-spring (April May), to the winding down of the year with one last hurrah of color in the fall. The first part of summer is the hottest, with afternoon and evening rains (usually short-lived thunderstorms) common in the latter part of summer. Flowers are more abundant, and as the monsoon rains become more reliable, a renewed burst of growth occurs, greening the grasses and freshening the air. In winter, temperatures may be mild during the day (50s or 40s), but winds can make them feel much The park has limited driving opportunities, but if you are willing to explore some of our trails, which range from accessible nature trails, to moderate canyon hikes and strenuous mountain hikes, you can discover one of the most biologically diverse areas in West Texas and experience a wilderness landscape preserved in perpetuity. Inside Got a Wild Question About the Park? Ask Lupe the Ringtail! The Other Side of the Mountain Hiking Information Prepare for Changeable Weather Wildlife & You Wildland Caving & Sitting Bull Falls (Lincoln National Forest) Nearby Attractions 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 The National Park Service was created in the Organic Act of 1916. The new agency’s mission as managers of national parks and monuments was clearly stated. “ conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” To support that mission, the collecting of natural and historic objects is prohibited. Telephone and Web Directory Greetings Welcome to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Guadalupe Mountains National Park protects one of the world’s best examples of a fossil reef, diverse ecosystems, and a cultural heritage that spans thousands of years. Our park staff are here to help make your visit a truly memorable event and will be happy to help you plan your visit in the park and surrounding areas. Guadalupe Mountains National Park has over 80 miles of hiking trails to explore, ranging from wheelchair accessible paths to strenuous mountain hikes, including an 8.4 mile roundtrip hike to Texas’ highest mountain, Guadalupe Peak (8,751'). Eric Brunnemann Superintendent is close to the Central Time Zone, your phone will display the wrong time unless you set it to Mountain Time. Both Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks are in the Mountain Time Zone. Ask Lupe! Road Conditions New Mexico: 800-432-4269 Texas: 800-452-9292 Hola Lupe! What’s the best way I can help your friends that live in the park? And, do you know any jokes? Hasta luego, Maya the Magnificent My Magnificent Maya, One of the best things you could do for me, is to tell all your human friends to Emergency: Call 911 slow down on that road they drive on with their big noisy cars! Unfortunately, all the Guadalupe Mountains NP Visitor Center (Nature Trail) Coordinate System: Lat/Long Datum: WGS 1984 Latitude: 31.89370° N Longitude: 104.82214° W time I nearly get attacked by those big metal monsters because speed racers just Lupe, go zooming by. Can’t they see I’m walking When I arrived at the park my car said one time and my phone said another. The internet said sunset was at one time, but the sun set a whole hour earlier! What is happening?! Sincerely, Lost in the Twilight Zone here?! Dearest Lost in the Twilight Zone, Well, let me tell you! There are two big towers on either side of the highway that As a nonprofit education partner of the National Park Service, WNPA supports 71 national park partners across the West, developing products, services, and programs that enrich the visitor experience. runs through the park. One tower says Mountain Time but the tower on the other side says Central Time. Depending on where you stand, your phones and glitchedy gadgets will spout all manners of nonsense. Not to fear, I’ll help you! Ha-hum. As we are surrounded by mountaineously mountainous mountains, we are obviously in Mountain Time! Your cantankerous In partnership with the National Park Service since 1938, contraptions just aren’t as smart as a clever little ringtail like me (; WNPA advances education, interpretation, research, and community engagement to ensure national parks are increasingly valued by all. Many groups have used El Capitan as a landmark to guide them through or to the mountains. They include American Indians, Spanish explorers, emigrants moving west, settlers, and modern-day travelers. Because Guadalupe Mountains National Park Food, Lodging, and Camping Van Horn Texas Visitors Bureau 432-283-2682 We wish you a rewarding experience in every way. What time is it?! Guadalupe Mountains National Park 400 Pine Canyon Drive Salt Flat, TX 79847 915-828-3251 ext. 2124 Facebook Twitter @GuadalupeMtnsNP Instagram guadalupemountainsnps Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce 575-887-6516 As you travel and spend time in the area please remember to keep safety in mind. Deer and other wildlife are plentiful— enjoy watching wildlife, but remember they often move across roads, especially in the evenings; be vigilant while driving during twilight hours. Hikers should be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions. Hikers can become dehydrated in our dry climate, so carry plenty of water (one gallon per person per day is recommended). Always check with a ranger before venturing into the backcountry. From the brilliant genius of the devilishly handsome, Lupe Mateo, That is probably the hardest question I have ever been asked in my entire life. ‘Cept when someone asked me where the bathrooms were, I mean…. Aren’t they everywhere? Anyways! Let me see, there are maintenance rangers to keep everything neat and tidy in the human areas, just so I can run around and make a mess again! They sure are swell! Mmm, I also like the Law Enforcement rangers, they make sure bad guys don’t hurt me, my buddies and our favorite trees. Whenever I need help, I call them right away! The interpretive rangers who talk to people all the time are probably the most fun! They tell all sorts of If you could also help keep the area clean of weird trash and plastic things, that would be nice. Sometimes, my foot gets caught in them, and the other day, I almost had a hard time getting away from a mean ol’ coyote! As for a joke, here’s my best one! What did the big flower say to the little flower?? What’s up, Bud? ROFL, cool stories about different adventures in the park; I like to sit and listen to their evening programs when the sun sets to fade— they’re the best bedtime stories ever! There are administrative folks in the back offices who are always doing paperwork. We have this ongoing joke where I run up to the window and wave, and this one lady always screams! She gets sooo happy to see me. The science folks are awesome too. Sometimes they do cool experiments in the wild—like catching bats and digging up holes for stuff. I like to dig too, so we pretty much have a lot in common. I think my favorite rangers Lupe though, have to be the Junior Rangers! They carry all these sparkly badges and come Hey Lupe, After we visited your park, my brother and I were wondering about how many different kinds of park rangers there are, and who’s the most important. I told him the most important ones are the rangers that talk to a lot of people and help kids get their junior ranger books and badges. He said he thinks that it’s the ones that do cool science stuff in the park. What do you think? to visit me from far away!! <3 That’s what Just askin’, Mateo Email makes them the absolute best! Wishing I had a sparkly badge too *-* Lupe Have a wild question you want answered? Ask Lupe! and we’ll get your questions to our park’s mascot asap. 2 Visitor Guide The Other Side of the Mountain By DW Vitt We have all done it, looked up at a son mention memories of prior hikes we mountain and wondered what’s up there. had taken here at the park and how, now Metaphorically we have all done that with that he was becoming a father himself, he our careers too. No matter where you start wanted to continue the family tradition of at work, we all wonder what it would be climbing Guadalupe Peak as a milestone and like at the next level; and all of us eventually a celebration. Even challenging me to keep reach our career summits. And just like real myself in shape so I to could participate, mountains, after years of “climbing”, we at least by manning the family Base Camp, need to find our way back home. That’s the while the next generation heads up its first hard part. “side of the mountain”. And that’s where an interesting choice At the end of that day hike I was greeted by happens later in one’s life; similar to the a member of Volunteers-in-Parks (VIP), choice we all made when we started our who informed me there were ways for me initial climb. Do we re-trace our steps to get involved both locally and nationally and report back on what we found at our helping the National Parks Service summit or looking out do we head down interpret and maintain the parks for all the “other side of the mountain” to explore of our enjoyment. Within months of my paths not taken in our original quest? orientation with regards to the VIP Program I found myself participating in backcountry In the summer of 2018, after qualifying for patrols recording trail usage and issues, my pension, my oldest son and I climbed standing an interpretive post explaining Guadalupe Peak as a dual celebration. The the significance of Pratt Cabin to the park’s first being my retirement and the second history, and most recently, carrying a his acceptance of a position with American McLeod tool up Bear Canyon as a crew of Airlines whose donated obelisk sits atop volunteers assisted the park’s maintenance the Peak. Hiking to the top of the Peak is a staff with the cleaning out of water bars; family tradition going back now twenty-five many of which I have treaded over without years, with each of my wife and I’s three thinking about the work needed to maintain children completing that experience and these erosion prevention resources. numerous other hikes throughout the Park - Fall Colors in McKittrick Canyon, the This experience has changed my whole traverse from Pine Springs to Dog Canyon perspective with regards to retirement. and the ever-present Bear Canyon’s leaning Instead of continuing on my original path, rocks. just at a slower pace, I have literally headed to “the other side of the mountain” on a Having lived numerous places around the new path. It’s been invigorating to learn country, throughout my career, I always new skills, and being mentored by a younger felt a bit guilty that I never provided my generation of rangers has been invaluable in children with a rural place to call “home”; helping me see a positive elderhood. But the like I had experienced through trips to real benefit to volunteering is to realize that my grandparent’s farm as a child. But to by doing so, I am helping to create a legacy make up for it my wife and I tried our here at Guadalupe Mountains National best to take summer vacations, when the Park which will provide future generations children were young, at national parks. of my family with a rural forever home; here And it worked... during that hike two on “the other side of the mountain”. years ago it did my heart good to hear my VIP Doug Vitt serves as a backcountry volunteer. In 2019, over 279,000 volunteers contributed more than 6.5 million hours of their time to helping National Park Service sites across the nation. Volunteerism Makes a Difference W e wo u l d l i k e t o e x t e n d o u r s i n c e r e g rat i t u d e t o t h e d e d i c at e d effort and talent that volunteers have brought to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Volunteers play a vital role in fulfilling our mission of preserving our natural and cultural heritage and sharing that heritage with the visiting public. Volunteers do everything from staffing the information desk, roving interpretation, patrolling trails, to trail maintenance, research, and more. To become a Volunteer-In-Park (VIP) visit or contact: Guadalupe Mountains National Park Amanda Cooper, Volunteer-In-Park Coordinator 915-828-3251 ext. 2311 Your Fee Dollars at Work Out of the 419 units in the National Park Service (NPS), 111 parks charge an entrance fee. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) allows the NPS to collect and retain revenue and requires that fee revenue be used to enhance the visitor experience. At least 80 percent of the money stays in the park where it is collected, and the other 20 percent is used to benefit parks that do not collect fees. What does that mean for our national parks and for you? The NPS is authorized to use entrance and recreation fees for a variety of items related to your experience, such as: Habitat restoration directly related to wildlife-dependent recreation including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, and photography, such as a volunteer project to repair and maintain boundary fencing that allows visitors to safely observe native elk and pronghorn at Big Hole National Battlefield (Montana) Direct operating or capital costs associated with the recreation fee program to pay for entrance station and campground staff In 2020, Guadalupe Mountains National Park will use funds generated from collected fees to complete these projects: Fee management agreements with gateway communities to provide emergency medical services Replace roof and upgrade Law enforcement related to public use and recreation, such as partnering with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office to provide dispatch services for law enforcement and other emergency operations at Canyonlands National Park (Utah) Repair, maintenance, and facility enhancement related directly to visitor enjoyment, visitor access, and health and safety facilities of comfort station at Pine Springs Restripe Pine Springs Parking Lot Visitor Guide 3 Guadalupe Mountains National Park Entrance Fee NPS Photo NPS Photo/Dave Bieri NPS Photo NPS Photo/Dave Bieri $10.00/person (16 & older) Free for Senior, Access, and Annual Pass cardholders services hiking Facilities and services within and near Guadalupe Mountains National Park are extremely limited. The nearest gas stations are 43 miles west (Dell City, TX), 35 miles east (White’s City, NM), or 65 miles south (Van Horn, TX). There is no campstore; bring everything you need with you. camping backpacking Pinery Trail Distance: .67 mile Difficulty: Easy, wheelchair accessible, slight incline on return trip. Water and restrooms are available, but there are no showers, RV hookups, or dump stations. The fee is $15.00 per night, per site, $7.50 with a Senior Pass (or existing Golden Age Passport) or Access Pass (or existing Golden Access Passport). No wood or charcoal fires are permitted; camp stoves are allowed. Eighty-five miles of trails lead through forests, canyons, and desert to ten backcountry campgrounds. A free permit is required if you plan to spend a night in the backcountry. Permits are issued at the Pine Springs Visitor Center and the Dog Canyon Ranger Station. For those coming through Carlsbad, Dog Canyon is a great place to begin a backpacking trip because it requires less elevation gain to get into the backcountry. Information & Exhibits Pine Springs Visitor Center Elevation 5,730'. On Highway 62/180, 55 miles southwest of Carlsbad, 110 miles east of El Paso, and 65 miles north of Van Horn on Highway 54 and Highway 62/180. Open every day except December 25. Open daily 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Mountain Time Zone). Information, natural history exhibits, introductory slide program. Frijole Ranch History Museum The ranch house features exhibits describing historic and current use of the Guadalupes. Grounds include a picnic area near a spring shaded by large oak trees. Open intermittently. McKittrick Canyon Highway entrance gate is open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. During Daylight Savings Time, hours are expanded 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Restrooms, outdoor exhibits, slide program, picnic tables. Hike Safely... • There is no water available along park trails, so be sure to bring plenty with you. One gallon per person per day is recommended. • Trails are rocky—wear sturdy shoes. Trekking poles are recommended. • Carry a trail map. • Pack warm clothing and rain gear; sudden weather changes are common. Protect the Park... • Stay on trails; don’t cut across switchbacks or create new trails. • Carry out all trash, including cigarette butts. • Report any trail hazards to the Pine Springs Visitor Center or any park staff member. • Collecting of natural, historic or prehistoric objects is prohibited. Discover the desert as you walk to the ruins of the Pinery, a stagecoach station on the Butterfield Overland Mail Route in 1858. Trailside exhibits. This is the only trail pets on leash are allowed. McKittrick Canyon Trail Distance: to Pratt Cabin 4.8 miles roundtrip, to the Grotto, 6.8 miles roundtrip Difficulty: Moderate, level but rocky trail, 200' elevation gain to Grotto. Follow an intermittent stream through the desert and canyon woodlands to the historic Pratt Cabin. A guidebook is available at the trailhead. The Grotto Picnic Area and Hunter Line Cabin are one mile beyond the Pratt Cabin. Please do not drink the water or wade in the creek. To protect this fragile environment, you are required to stay on the trail. Guadalupe Peak Trail Distance: 8.4 miles Difficulty: Strenuous. Approximately 3,000' elevation gain, steep, rocky path. Hike to the “Top of Texas” at 8,751' for spectacular views. Avoid the peak during high winds and thunderstorms. During warm temperatures, carry a gallon of water per person. High Low Inches Jan 56 34 0.67 Feb 59 36 0.90 Mar 65 41 0.58 Apr 73 48 0.60 May 82 56 0.91 June 88 62 2.18 July 88 64 2.37 Aug 86 63 3.29 Sep 81 58 2.54 Oct 73 50 1.34 Nov 63 41 0.97 Dec 56 33 1.05 Average annual precipitation for Pine Springs (1980-2003) 4 Visitor Guide 17.4 Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited. Camp stoves are allowed. Pack out all your trash. Pets are not allowed on park trails. Preparation is the key to an enjoyable backpacking trip. Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Carry plenty of water—there are no water sources in the backcountry. Topographic maps, hikers’ guides, and information can be found at the Pine Springs Visitor Center and the Dog Canyon Ranger Station. Horseback Riding Sixty percent of the park’s trails are open to stock use. A backcountry permit is required for all stock use. These free permits are issued at the Pine Springs Visitor Center and Dog Canyon Ranger Station. Stock riding is limited to day trips only. Stock corrals are available at Dog Canyon and near Frijole Ranch. Each has four pens and will accommodate a maximum of 10 animals. Reservations may be made two months in advance by visiting the park’s website (www. Trailhead Trail Distance Roundtrip Description Pine Springs Devil’s Hall Trail 4.2 miles Moderate to Strenuous. Hike in Pine Spring Canyon to the Hikers’ Staircase and Devil’s Hall. After the first mile, the trail drops into the wash and becomes very rocky and uneven. Turn left and follow the canyon bottom to the Hiker’s Staircase and beyond to the Devil’s Hall. Area beyond Devil’s Hall closed March - August due to sensitive species. The Bowl 8.5 miles Strenuous. The Bowl shelters a highcountry conifer forest. Recommended route: Tejas Trail, Bowl Trail, Hunter Peak, Bear Canyon Trail, Frijole Trail, Tejas Trail (.1mile) back to campground. Trail climbs 2,500'. Bear Canyon Trail is very rocky and extremely steep. El Capitán Trail 11.3 miles Moderate to Strenuous. Desert lovers will appreciate the rocky arroyos and open vistas while skirting along the base of El Capitán. Recommended route: El Capitán Trail, Salt Basin Overlook, and return to Pine Springs on the El Capitán Trail. Manzanita Spring .4 miles Easy. Path is paved and wheelchair accessible. Hike to a small pond that serves as a desert oasis. Dragonflies, butterflies, and birds are active here in the warmer months. During winter, bluebirds frequent the area. Opportunities for chancing upon other wildlife are higher here as well. Smith Spring Trail (entire loop) 2.3 miles Moderate. Look for birds, deer and elk as you pass Manzanita Spring on the way to the shady oasis of Smith Spring. Trees around Smith Spring include madrones, maples, oaks, chokecherry, ponderosa pines and others. McKittrick Nature Loop 0.9 miles Moderate. Climb the foothills and learn about the natural history of the Chihuahuan Desert. Trailside exhibits. Permian Reef Trail 8.4 miles Strenuous. For serious geology buffs, this trail has stop markers that can be used with a geology guidebook sold at the Visitor Center. There are excellent views into McKittrick Canyon from the ridgetop. Trail climbs 2,000'. Indian Meadow Nature Loop 0.6 miles Easy. Enjoy a stroll around a meadow frequented by a variety of birds and other wildlife. Along the way you will see evidence of recent fires and regrowth. Marcus Overlook 4.6 miles Moderate. Follow the Bush Mountain Trail to the ridgetop for a view into West Dog Canyon. Trail climbs 800'. Lost Peak 6.4 miles Strenuous. Climb out of Dog Canyon on the Tejas Trail to visit the conifer forest above. Outstanding views from Lost Peak. Lost Peak is a short distance off trail to the right, before the horse hitches. Trail climbs 1,500'. Salt Basin Dunes (Day Use Only) 3-4 miles Moderate. Follow the old roadbed from the parking area, for a little over a mile, to the north end of the dune field. There is one high dune to ascend that some may find difficult. No shade. Enjoy the contrast of the pure white dunes with the sheer cliffs of the the Guadalupes as a backdrop. Great for sunrise or sunset hikes all year, and daytime hikes during the winter. Weather Average Rainfall Dog Canyon Campground Located at the end of New Mexico Highway 137, 70 miles from Carlsbad and 110 miles from Park Headquarters, at an elevation of 6,290' in a secluded, forested canyon on the north side of the park. The campground has nine tent and four RV campsites (including a wheelchair accessible tent site). There is one group site for groups of 10-20 people. Reservations for the group site only can be made up to two months in advance by visiting the park’s website ( other popular hikes... Frijole Ranch Average Temperature (° F) Pine Springs Campground Located near the Pine Springs Visitor Center, there are twenty tent and nineteen RV campsites (including a wheelchair accessible tent site) available on a first-come, first-served basis . Two group campsites are available for groups of 10-20 people. Reservations (for group sites only) can be made bon the park’s website (www.nps. gov/gumo) up to two months in advance. Campers planning on day hiking in McKittrick Canyon, to Guadalupe Peak or the Bowl will want to stay here. McKittrick Canyon Dog Canyon Salt Basin Dunes Hiker Safety for Different Weather Conditions Lightning may be the most awesome hazard faced by hikers. In our area, storms are common from May through September, and usually occur in the late afternoon or early evening. You can estimate the distance of a lightning strike in miles by counting the time in seconds between flash and sound and dividing by five. The effects of being close to a lightning strike may be minor, such as confusion, amnesia, numbness, tingling, muscle pain, temporary loss of hearing or sight, and loss of consciousness. Severe injuries include burns, paralysis, coma, and cardiac arrest. Since injuries may not be obvious initially— burns and cardiac injury may not appear until 24 hours after the lightning strike— medical observation is recommended for all lightning victims. Decrease your risk of injury from lightning: • • • • • • • • • • • Get an early start so that you can finish your hike before storms erupt. Be aware of current and predicted weather. Watch the sky for development of anvil-shaped cumulus clouds. If a storm is building, descend to lower elevations. If a storm occurs, seek shelter. A car or large building offers good protection. Tents offer no protection. Turn off cell phones and other electronic equipment. If totally in the open, avoid single trees. Stay off exposed ridges. When caught in heavy lightning, the best stance is to crouch with feet close together, minimizing the opportunity for ground currents to find a path through the body. Crouch on a dry sleeping pad, if available. Stay out of shallow caves or overhangs. Large dry caves which are deeper than their width offer some protection; but do not lean against walls. Adopt the feet-together crouch. Valleys and ditches offer some protection. Avoid a depression with a stream. In forests, seek low spots under thick growth or smaller trees. Avoid standing water, fences, power lines, and pipelines. Discard metal hiking sticks. Groups should not huddle together. Scatter so if one person is injured, the others can help—stay at least 30 feet apart. Heat The body balances heat loss against heat gain to keep the core body temperature within narrow limits. With strenuous exercise in hot climates, heat gain can exceed loss. Core temperatures may rise, sometimes to dangerous levels. Dehydration exacerbates heat illness. Heat Exhaustion develops over hours due to water and electrolyte loss from sweating; it causes collapse or gradual exhaustion with an inability to continue to exercise. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, rapid pulse, thirst and profuse sweating, gooseflesh, chills, and pale skin, and low blood pressure—the victim may faint. Heatstroke occurs in people who undertake heavy exertion in hot climates, and results in sudden collapse with extreme elevation of body temperature, decreased mental status, and shock. It is a medical emergency that can kill; begin treatment immediately. Symptoms include headache, drowsiness, irritability, unsteadiness, confusion, convulsions, coma, a rapid pulse and low blood pressure, and either dry or sweatmoistened hot skin. Prevention Drink plenty of water when exercising in hot weather, before feeling thirsty and after feeling satisfied. Drink enough to produce clear urine regularly during the day. Eat high carbohydrate foods for energy. Avoid heavy exercise in high temperatures and high humidity. Wear light-colored clothes that fit loosely and cover all sun-exposed skin surface. Avoid alcohol and caffeine; both increase loss of fluid. Treatment • • • • • • • Have the victim rest in the shade. Remove excess clothing. Wet the victim to increase evaporation. Have the victim drink fluids; if available, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 6 teaspoons sugar to 1 quart of water. In serious cases, begin immediate, rapid cooling by one of these methods: a) Increase evaporation by sprinkling water on the skin and fanning vigorously. b) Immerse the victim’s body in cool water. c) Place cold packs on the neck, abdomen, armpits, and groin. Stop cooling when mental status improves. Continue to monitor the victim. Contact a park ranger for assistance. NPS Photo/Michael Haynie Lightning NPS Photo/Michael Haynie Cold Hypothermia is a cooling of the body core when more heat is lost than is produced, and can be life threatening. Wetness and wind are a lethal combination that chill a person more rapidly than dry cold. Hypothermia can occur in any season of the year: the hiker exposed to a sudden summer hailstorm while wearing only a T-shirt and shorts is more likely to become hypothermic than a well-dressed winter hiker. Windchill adds to the problem, but affects only the exposed parts of the body. Wearing windproof clothing reduces the effects of windchill. Signs of mild hypothermia include progressively worsening shivering, uncharacteristic behavior, grumbling about feeling cold, inappropriate excitement or lethargy, poor judgement, confusion, and hallucinations. The victim may experience stiff muscles and cramps, uncoordinated movements, and stumbling. Skin will be cold, pale and bluegray due to constricted blood vessels. sweating by wearing ventilated clothing. Watch for early signs of hypothermia, and act promptly to avert it. Gauge the

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