Early morning is the best time of the day second only to dusk. It’s nice to walk out into the golden hour between 6 & 7 currently, it changes with the time of the rising Sun; likewise for the golden hour at dusk. To complement the view both times bring with it a cool breeze, we experience between a 40-50 degree difference from the Sun being overhead compared to when long shadows form.
The wild ones know the difference as well, for one hour they are out and about before it warms up. Which it quickly does, during the summer high pressure domes are created all over the Western States. They can form as far North as Canada, to the South Mexico and all points in between. This week a ridge has formed over Arizona directing all cool air to the North replacing it with the hot air from the Southwestern Desert. It makes it clear why Siesta time is from 1 pm until 4 or 5, Skunkpuppy and I adhere to that directive as if it’s a religious calling. The ambient is 20 degrees cooler in the shade than in the bright sunshine; Summer sunshine we do have plenty of.
The Sun is a bright white, it is intense during this time of year. Many of us wear broad brimmed hats, being from the mid-North I have never gotten accustomed to harsh sun but I have learned how to dress for it. I am susceptible to skin cancer on the ears and nose, it’s no fun having it cut out. Since wearing a Cowboy hat I have not suffered from a new occurrence. I worked outdoors once without a hat many years ago, I had a partial balding head at the time and burnt it to a red ruby. Now that wasn’t the worse pain I have experienced but it certainly was a page marker in my life. I have never gone out with out a hat since, not even for a few minutes.
We all make our own decisions and I’m not one to make comments or judgments with the exception of wearing a hat. It is common for men (some women do as well) to shave all of the hair off of their heads. It’s all I can do not to be a butt-in-ski, the white hot sun beating on a person’s bald head sometimes tries me to my limit. Not in a bad way, I may comment to the effect “man you outa put a hat on before you get a serious sunburn.” PTSD revisits as far as sunburn is concerned, its not surprising a painful event such as that would bring it on.
As we know while swimming it is much easier to not notice the damage old Sol is capable of. The Sunburn is painful for sure, but every bit as bad is when it starts to heal and cause flakes. Now we’re talking about major dandruff, for a few days it falls from the chrome dome like snow.
During my working years I spent nearly all of my day working in the elements, in this environment it meant short sleeves as well. It was common practice for us Millwrights to lather SPF 50 on all of our exposed areas. Plus carrying 1/2 gallon of water along everywhere we went; when it was extremely hot the schedule was 1/2 hour in the Sun, 3/4 hour in an air-conditioned cool area.
We can all do ourselves a favor when in a bright sunny area for prolonged periods by wearing a hat, a ball-cap, Cowboy hat, or any head-covering will suffice and go a long way in preventing a pain filled few days.
No matter how hot the temperature rises during the day, after the sun sets relief is nearly immediate. The temperature may easily have a differential of 40-50 degrees cooler at night compared to the daylight hours. A lesson learned by most is to have a light jacket or sweater when planning on being out after dark; especially after a day on the water or mountains.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance