Too hot? Hot dam!
Ok, so the title is a little silly, but the challenge of regulating body temperature in the Grand Canyon is a real one. Here’s some good news: Mother nature, or rather the Bureau of Reclamation, has given us an incredible tool to keep ourselves cool…
The Glen Canyon Dam holds back the 254 square mile Lake Powell reservoir. With an average depth of 131 feet, water from its depths see very little sunlight. The dam then allows 9-17 thousand cubic feet per second of Colorado River through it’s turbines or spillways, pulling from nearly the bottom of the dam. The water comes out of the dam around 50ºF. Good news for river runners and good news for the rainbow and brown trout, who happen to love that temperature as well.
Dunk yo self
We use this chilly water to continually cool ourselves while in the Grand Canyon. Not only does the breeze, cooled by the water, lower the air temperature slightly, but you can always dip a hat or a sarong to regulate your skin temperature. Cooling towels from FroggToggs can be dipped in the water and draped around the neck. A good dunk in the Colorado River at lunch or after a side hike can be an incredibly refreshing regulation method and highly recommended for all of our guests.
Other than the water, you may notice that our guides tend to wear odd items in the middle of the summer. Long sleeve button down shirts, pants and sun shirt hoodies are donned even on the hottest days. Why do they do this? Well, one of the best ways to keep your skin cool is to keep the sun off of it. You may sweat a bit more in long sleeve items, but sweat is your body’s way of cooling. For both of these reasons we recommend long sleeve light material shirts for all of our trips.
Finally, a wide brim hat will shade your entire head and neck. This can make a surprisingly huge difference when the relentless sun tries to “get you down.”
Body temperature regulatory measures are simple, easy and cheap. Be sure you protect yourself when rafting the Grand Canyon and remember that Arizona River Runners is always available to answer any questions you may have. Have fun out there!