Hot Summer Hikes

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Shown in the middle of hiking to Upper Cedar Lake in the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness, are, left to right, front row: Coni Shay, Katie Little, Greg Dugdale and Howard Shay; and left to right, back row: Mandy Bell, Bret Luedke and Ruth Luedke. (Courtesy Photo)

The short summer, August night envelopes the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness. In the quiet darkness, lynx tiptoe across rocky landscapes, grizzly mom’s nurture their young, and mountain goats cool off, anticipating another hot day. The birds begin to sing, and although they do not yet see the light, they know it is coming. Sunrise greets the crystal blue persuasion of Big Sky Country, with granite peaks and rocky crags surrounding emerald cold lakes.

In the village below, Howard and Connie Shay awaken from slumber and prepare to lead a hike into Granite Lake. Bret Luedke will also help co-lead the excursion of eight, sponsored by Montana Wilderness Association. The hike leaders offer their volunteer time to help as their brother, the original hike leader is miles away, assisting with a family medical situation. They are caring and capable trip leaders. They know the dangers of summer hikes, including the challenges of the heat.

Dehydration occurs when there are not enough fluids in the blood to get nutrition and oxygen to tissues and the brain. Symptoms include headache, cramping, confusion,dark, strong smelling urine, dry mouth and nose, weakness, nausea, and vomiting. To prevent dehydration, stay hydrated, and as the old saying goes, drink until you pee clear, and keep drinking. Drink water and Gatorade-type liquids, sit and rest in the shade, and massage cramped muscles. Heat exhaustion is a more serious condition, and can lead to heat stroke which can kill you. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, profuse sweating, clammy skin, muscle and stomach cramps, fast pulse, and shallow breathing. Treat heat exhaustion by getting the afflicted person into a cool, shady place. Let them lie down with legs raised, slowly give them fluids such as water and Gatorade, and check breathing and level of response. Next, do whatever is necessary to get them medical attention as soon as possible.

On August 12th, two very capable and good lady friends of mine whom have been out with me hiking many times will lead an all ladies hike into the South Fork of Ross Creek, near Noxon, Montana. Pat McCleod is a Libby native, and her and her husband Charlie, a Troy native are wilderness saavy. Pat earned a Psychology Degree from Montana State University. Pat retired from a career with Texas Social Services, and returned to her childhood home to explore and enjoy the majestic Kootenai National Forest. Kara Adam has a deep love for ecology and outdoor education. Kara has an Associate of Arts Degree from Daytona State College, and won numerous awards while attending that school. Kara has worked with Silver Cloud Associates, a local Natural Resource Information and Outdoor Education Company for over two years excelling in plant identification, animal tracking, and edible and medicinal herbs. Kara continues to assist with outdoor education programs, is a yoga instructor, and works as a Recreation Technician with Three Rivers District on the Kootenai National Forest. For more info on this free hike call Pat at 406-295-4343.

On August 19, Montana Wilderness Association will offer a free guided hike entitled, Wetland Wanderings out of Happy’s Inn, Montana. This outing will be guided by a professional forester and wildlife biologist, and focus on plant life, mammals, and birds of local wetlands. See wildmontana.org or call 406-291-2154 for more info and to register for this class, or email b_baxter53@yahoo.com.

Friends of Scotchman Peaks are offering a double header venue for August 26! Join up for a hike into East Fork Peak in the northern part of the proposed Scotchman Peak Wilderness with stunning views! This hike will be lead by the serious hiking team of Phil Hough and Deb Hunsicker. For more info and to register email nowhere_man97@hotmail.com, or walkingcarrot@hotmail.com. Looking for a little guidance on backpacking? Here’s a chance to get with consumate backpackers Sandy Compton and Marjolein Groot Nibbelink as they walk you through the basics into the Middle Fork of Ross Creek. Contact by email is marjolein.gn@gmail.com or by phone call 208-290-1281. On September 9th, join an experienced wildlife researcher on a FSPW hike into the Wonders of Wetlands! Call 406-291-2154, or email sandy@scotchmanpeaks.com for more info and to register.

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