The sun is finally shining and hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains is finally an option! Although there are a lot of great hikes in the mountains, waterfalls may stand out from how hot it has been. As always, safety is the key to having a great hike so know how many miles, the rating key, and even weather before you start out! The most important aspect of hiking is water. When it is 90 plus degrees outside and you are hiking, you can sweat out a lot of water. To avoid dehydration drink water slowly over several hours before going hiking or doing anything strenuous outdoors. In addition to drinking water, make sure to eat salty snacks like trail mix. This will help regulate liquids during hiking. Sports drinks help keeping hydrated as well, but because of the sugar it may not be the best remedy. Stay away from caffeinated beverages! This is one of the worst things to drink when you are trying to stay hydrated.
Symptoms of dehydration include headache and if left untreated can have a heat stroke or hypothermia. Also, dehydration can cause confusion and disorientated which if hiking alone can lead to hiker becoming lost. So when you are hiking this weekend, remember to stay hydrated while enjoying the beauty of nature.