Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yes, Utah, the Desert Is Hot!

Another thing about the desert: it is hot.  I've been in the Anza-Borrego Desert when the mercury hit just shy of 100--that was hot.  I've been in Palm Springs when it was 110 in the shade (and still over 100 at ten p.m. that night)--that was hot.  But what surprised me most was hiking in the red rock desert of Utah's Arches National Park with temperatures not even hitting 68 degrees, a temperature indoors which would call for a sweater and send many scrambling to turn up the thermostat a notch or two.  That, too, was hot, in a visceral, carry 2-liters-of-water way, where everything bakes away and you seriously question your sanity as to why you're wearing jeans (and thinking that at least they'll protect against sunburn on those lily-white legs underneath).

Indeed, hiking up the 600+ feet of vertical gain over the short mile or so to Delicate Arch under the full sun, with shade an absent friend who has deserted me, I felt like I was in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly or perhaps The Gunslinger, crawling across the desert moments away from expiration by dehydration.  I don't know how Beth managed to keep her jacket on; she claimed it prevented her arms from sunburning, but I think I'd have traded the heat for a bit of sunburn.

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