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Hikers underestimate the heat; county reminds people to stay safe

Posted at 10:16 PM, Jun 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-05 01:16:03-04

With triple-digit temperatures returning as summer kicks into gear -- year after year, people are warned about the dangers of the heat. Crews rescued two hikers from Sabino Canyon on Sunday afternoon, the high temperature of the day above the century mark.

But despite the hot sun, many people still spent their days out on the trails. But some people who consider themselves experienced hikers explained they seriously underestimated the sun.

One family in from San Antonio felt like they were prepared to hike to and from Seven Falls in Sabino Canyon, starting their journey around 1:00 p.m. That's four miles in, and four miles out.

"We like to hike some, yes," Michelle Wheeler said. "They're faster than me, they have to wait on me sometimes, but yeah we like to hike."

Packing their bags with water bottles, sunscreen, and snacks, they thought they were ready.

"We have plenty of water, sunscreen, and hats to wear," Rob Wheeler said.

As they took off, a hiker from a different group came back from a long day of hiking. Wearing a large hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a walking stick, and strapped with waters, he said something didn't feel right towards the end of his day.

"I still feel discombobulated," Benito Arias said. "I don't feel healthy right now. I feel pretty sick. I'm going to go home and rehydrate."

He's a Tucson native who knows to stay hydrated all the time, especially during the hot summer months. However, he admits he didn't think it would be this hot out during his hike.

"I had about six water bottles with me, and I believe that was just enough," Arias said. "I think if I would have only brought five water bottles, I could have been in trouble."

The Wheeler family came back after about an hour of hiking -- they had to turn around because it was too hot.

"I  started getting really hot, just very hot and overheated," Michelle Wheeler said. "So at that point I knew -- a little nauseous, so then you know you better turn around and go back."

They plan on heading back to Sabino Canyon again to conquer the Seven Falls hike, but they now know not to try it on a scorching summer day.

So far this year, the Southern Arizona Rescue Association (SARA) has responded to 61 hiker calls. The county explained that every year, about 300 people end up in the emergency room due to heat-related illnesses. They advise people to always stay hydrated and to avoid strenuous activities between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.