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Is It Hot Out Here, Or Is It Just Me?

July 5, 2017

I once went to visit my brother when he lived in San Diego.

I’m glad I came on a day with nice weather.

What was the forecast for today?

68 and sunny.

It’s always 68 and sunny in San Diego.

The latest weather report for Southern Utah says it’s hot. That’s like saying it’s 68 and sunny in San Diego, or maybe that it’s raining in Seattle, or cold in Minneapolis in the winter. But, occasionally it rains in San Diego, and sometimes it’s 68 and sunny in Seattle. The hot in Southern Utah wasn’t average hot.

It was really hot. In fact, it was hot enough that the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory. I’ve lived in Utah a long time. I’ve never heard of a heat advisory. (I grew up in Seattle, where a 50% chance of rain means that half the county is going to get wet.)

This heat advisory would normally not have been an issue for me, but last week we were taking a group of 9 boy scouts to Zions National Park. In case you aren’t familiar with the location of Zions National Park, it’s in Southern Utah. . .right in the middle of the “it’s hot” advisory area.

We were naturally concerned with the weather. People die in Utah every year by something as simple as being outside. We are not only hot, we are literally a desert. My favorite sign in Zions was this one,

It’s not even enough that you need to bring water. You need to bring enough water. The temperatures were expected to be well into the triple digits for our trip to Zions last weekend. But, a funny thing happened. We didn’t really notice the heat. In fact, at one point we were actually kind of cold.

The attraction in Zions National Park that we were visiting was “The Narrows.” The Narrows is a slot canyon with the Virgin River running through it. The hike takes place completely in the water. The water never gets deeper than about 2-3′. Often it’s ankle deep. Just the thing for a 100 degree day, right?

Except that that’s not how canyons and certainly not slot canyons work. We arrived at the park just before noon. The day hadn’t turned excessively hot yet. It was in the low 90’s. And then we walked into the canyon.

The walls provided relief from the blazing heat. In fact, the sunny areas in the canyon were a comfortable 80 degrees. The shady spots dropped to the 70’s. Sitting in the water in the shade quickly brought on a case of the chills. The boys were all well prepared with nylon or wool clothing. Cotton, in that environment would have presented a real possibility to hypothermia.

Was it hot last week? I guess so, but it sure didnt’ feel like it at times.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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