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The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.
Amy Bushatz: No matter who you are or where you go heading outside is always worth it. Welcome to Humans Outside where we’re using the Humans Outside 365 challenge to build a life around spending time in nature while learning from fascinating outdoor minded. I’m Amy Bushatz. I’ve let curiosity be my guide as a journalist for 18 years, but life, including my husband’s war injuries, had burnt us out.
So we moved sight unseen to Alaska to see if a change of scenery and new focus on outdoors was just the shift we needed. Since September, 2017, I’ve spent at least 20 consecutive minutes outside every single day, no matter what to explore, how nature can change my life. Ready to hear from experts and outdoor lovers who make heading into nature just a part of who they are while we work to do the same? Let’s go.
If getting outside no matter what is new to you or something you’re trying to do more of, you might be wondering how to handle going outside on hot days when all you want to do is hide in the air conditioning. The sunshine looks so inviting that the heat can feel so oppressive. And of course we know there’s not just that one kind of hot day. If you spent any time east of the Mississippi river in the U S you know how sticky and humid it can be. Or if you visit the desert, you know that instead it feels like you’re broiling in the sun. That’s why we aren’t just having one episode on how to dress and get outside safely on hot days. Instead, we’ve got one episode focusing on getting out and hot and humid and one today’s episode dealing with hot and dry. Cassidy Feltenberger lives in Southern California and spends her time playing in hot and dry places like the Mojave Desert, which includes part of Joshua Tree National Park.. She holds wilderness first aid and lifeguard certifications, which means she’s not just well versed in playing outside in hot and dry, but also in approaching it from a health perspective. Today, she’s going to give us practical tips and tricks for getting outside no matter the weather. Cassidy, welcome to Humans Outside.
Cassidy Feltenberger: Thank you so much. I’m super happy to be here.
Amy Bushatz: Well, I am stoked to have you. You know, there’s nothing like lived experience for giving people advice for how to deal with something. But I love that you have that side of medical knowledge too, because you can dip into that expertise for some science-based recommendations, which also are very useful. So we like that.
Cassidy Feltenberger: Yeah.
Amy Bushatz: All right. So why don’t you kick us off by describing your favorite outdoor space? We like to imagine that we’re having our conversation wherever your favorite spot outside is like, we’re hanging out cup of coffee if it’s the morning. You know, campfire, if it’s the evening, whatever, wherever you want to be. So where are we with you today?
Cassidy Feltenberger: I love that. So we are in Great Basin National Park.. I don’t know if you’ve been there. If you’ve made it out there, it’s an Eastern Nevada. So a little bit far from me, but it’s a little bit far from everyone. There’s no easy way to get there. It’s not off like a main highway. It’s at least an hour or two off any major highways. But so that means that it’s not super crowded. And it’s like the area around it is high desert, but then out of nowhere, you’ve got this like 13,000 foot peak and you’ve got Alpine lakes. And so we’re in Great Basin.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah that’s awesome. I have not made it there, but you know, have going somewhere or doing something that is harder to get to is a good thing. Sometimes, as you mentioned, so Alaska is full of national parks that fit that description. Makes it tricky to see them. But once you get there, it feels like you made an effort and therefore it might be worth it just a little bit more. I don’t know. I think that’s a thing. So why don’t you start by telling us next, how you became somebody who likes to go outside? Just what’s your, what’s your backstory? How did you get into playing in hot and dry places?
Cassidy Feltenberger: I was definitely like a nerd, I guess. And I, my parents, couldn’t get me outside when I was a kid, but my outdoor journey started in college. I took a class that was supposed to be about looking at the relationship between water and water rights and socio political policies, and the environment in Southern California. So it was supposed to look at all of those different topics. And as part of the class, we actually lived in the ends anza borrego desert for two weeks, the university had a relationship with a host out there. And so we lived out there and every day we were getting out there and hiking and like seeing the inviting that what didn’t have a lot of water that we were kind of studying. And so I loved it.
Amy Bushatz: And it’s just been like immersion from there?
Cassidy Feltenberger: I just never stopped. Yeah. Like the class ended and then I just kept hiking mainly.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah. And you said you were kind of a nerd, but one of the things I did not say in your intro is that you are a PhD chem candidate for chemistry, right?
Cassidy Feltenberger: Yes.
Amy Bushatz: So maybe that’s still true. Who can say
Cassidy Feltenberger: I’m just a nerd who hikes now.
Amy Bushatz: That’s right. That’s right. Hey, everybody should hike, nerds, everybody. And I am sort of a nerd too, so I completely understand. I spent my high school time and, you know, as a kid just reading all of the books and playing the piano and looking out the window. Yeah pensively, pensively, lots of pensive outside gazing, but not so much out outside being beyond walks on the beach. But no like itching for it, you know? So I completely, I completely understand that.
So I’d love to know when you started going outside, you said you had this like gateway into doing this somewhere hot and dry. What was the on-ramp for being okay with that? Like, that’s a big jump. If you’ve never really been somebody who spends out time outside and all of a sudden your first love is hiking in the desert. What’s the learning curve for that?
Cassidy Feltenberger: I think having it be my first experience, like being in the heat first helped. I also think so. I mean, it was June when the class happened, so it was already hot in the desert. That’s already, you’re like getting out of desert season in a lot of ways. And it was beautiful. It was just like, people think of the desert as this really dry and empty and barren place, but there are so many different types of cacti.. And then in the spring, a lot of places that are in the desert turn really green, not like green, like the forest, not like green, like Alaska. But it’s a completely different world from spring the fall. So you get lots of blooming flowers and different critters. I don’t know, cacti are beautiful. So that all made it really easy to enjoy the heat.
Amy Bushatz: And what about physically, right? Because I don’t know. I look outside in the wintertime and it’s funny that we’re talking about heat and I keep going back to the winter, but it’s what I’ve got.
So I look outside in the winter time, which is uncomfortable to be in, right. And I’m like, Ooh, that’s beautiful. But that doesn’t always give me the tools or the push to overcome the discomfort of that. Like I have to make an extra effort. Right. So how do you push through from, wow, this is pretty, I like being here. To I’m going to make an actual effort to be in this and get comfortable in it.
Cassidy Feltenberger: I think you have to learn to be comfortable sweating. That’s a thing that deters a lot of people. I’m lucky I don’t drip sweat normally. So it’s kind of like when you’re outside in the heat it adds that extra layer to whatever it is you’re doing, where you feel like you got a really good workout in, too, because all of a sudden you’re sweating a lot more than you normally would.
And I think that’s almost like a measurable for me. Wow. I’m really exerting and that, that brings that sense of accomplishment that also comes from being out in the cold and this is uncomfortable. And, and so it’s, I think it’s really similar. You get a little, you have to enjoy discomfort.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah. On the flip side. And we’ll get to this though. I think people in the cold do this too. Right. Which is because they’re not, they don’t have the experience or tools for making that discomfort less uncomfortable. I don’t know if that’s a good description, but I’m thinking about like when I’m really cold outside. Okay. So it’s always going to be cold. There’s no, I mean, it’s a cold day. My face is going to be cold. But the same thing goes for being outside where it’s so sweaty, like, why am I out here swimming in a pool of my own sweat? But there are ways to make that less terrible.
So in the cold it’s having a good jacket. And I think we’re going to get to how to make that less uncomfortable in the heat in terms of just what you should wear and that, that kind of thing. So what I hear you saying though, is that you feel this discomfort and you like it?
Cassidy Feltenberger: I think so. I think so. It’s also, I’ve definitely brought people on my desert adventures that don’t like it. If that makes sense. I think it was a little ingrained. I think that even though I wasn’t going outside a lot, I had experience growing up in Southern California with really hot days. And I live in an apartment with no AC. I think I’m just a little more well adjusted. And so it takes time. I wouldn’t expect anyone to go out on over 100 degree day and have a good time. But if you get used to it.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah. So that, I mean, you bring up a really good point, which is that first of all, hot is relative. We talk about this a lot. That weather is relative to your experience in, in terms of what the temperature feels like and how much you can tolerate it. And so we’re when I talk about Alaska, people are like, oh my gosh, I don’t know how you deal with that cold. Only, well, I didn’t, to start with, like, I got used to it, you know, and now I can go out for a run or go for a ski on a very cold day, but the same thing goes with heat.
So when I was a kid, we would fly from California where I grew up in Northern California to Maryland to visit my mom’s family. And in like July. Oh, it was so hot and it was so sweaty. And I just remember standing in front of my grandparents freezer with the door open. I was so hot. I also, at one point, I think I turned the AC way down in their house.
Cause I was just melting and got really chewed out by my mom because of course your kid and you don’t understand the correlation between temperature in the home and price on the bill. And I had no context for that, right, because I’m from California. We don’t have AC in my house. We never needed it. It’s called fog guys. The fog comes in, that’s your air conditioning. So you don’t have to worry about heat. But then when I lived in DC, I got used to it and it wasn’t as big of a deal.
And so, first of all, no judgment for people who don’t have that experience of being super hot and then find this very shocking when they experience it for the first time. But you got to know that you can get used to things over time. And on the flip side, being uncomfortable helps you get, one, I think get used to other uncomfortable things in the world because we’re always going to experience some sort of discomfort. But also it helps you have a broader, I don’t know um, acceptance of different things outside. Because if you’re a little uncomfortable now, well, next time the bar has moved for what that looks like, and you can have the opportunity to see things you never would have seen, go to the Great Basin, right. National Park and see that when you maybe wouldn’t have gone all the way out of the way to do that, because you knew it was going to be a hot day and so on and so forth.
And what I hear you saying is that you get to have an experience out there because of that weather and because of that heat that you wouldn’t already, you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Cassidy Feltenberger: Exactly. Yeah.
Amy Bushatz: So when we talk about dressing for cold, it’s all about layering. You can’t totally unlayer in most circumstances, nor do you actually want to. To be comfortable outside in that heat, what part does clothing pate play for you and what do you wear?
Cassidy Feltenberger: That’s a good question. So there are different options. There are different considerations that I take into account, like what I’m going to be doing and where I’m going to be doing it. Because you can have hot, dry heat in the shade and you can have hot, dry heat in the sun. And you can have, I mean, it is a workout just to be standing in hot, dry heat sometimes, and then it’s even harder if you’re doing something super active. But you’re right that it’s not always about layering. So one rule that I follow is like, it’s pretty much never black clothing. You want to have bright colors, like white or other pastels things that are going to reflect light rather than absorb it and like direct it onto your body.
I’m really lucky in that I’m not super sensitive. Although as I get older, I find that I keep becoming more sun sensitive and I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m just not outside enough,
Amy Bushatz: We old buddy, we old.
Cassidy Feltenberger: You know, I used to get a tan and now I just either am like white or burn. So didn’t realize that happens when you get older.
But if you’re doing something where it’s hot and you don’t have shade, and you are the type of person that gets a sunburn pretty fast, then I really recommend those white shirts that you can get from REI that are they’re polyester and they keep covered. They have like a UPF factor.
And I don’t know, some of my friends say they look kind of nerdy, but they keep you covered. They keep you from burning, which is the most important thing. And that’s gonna preserve the way you feel about your time outside. And it’s going to preserve how long you can spend outside because you’re wearing this UPF rated, cooling white shirt.
Amy Bushatz: I can, I have this visual of what you’re talking about and it corresponds with why your friends are saying that. It’s like, w it’s I think we stereotype these sort of, long shirts in the heat and those big, really big brimmed hats as over-protective mom move. Like we must keep the sun off of our children.
And the truth is there’s some truth to that. And it doesn’t like, I mean, let’s normalize it, protect your body.
Cassidy Feltenberger: So it’s, I wear that white shirt with my zip off Sahara REI pants, which have like thing. And then a big bucket hat.
Amy Bushatz: All right. I’m going to hope that you submit a photo of this outfit for us so that we can we can fully appreciate, appreciate this, but on the, like, you love being out there in the desert hiking. So obviously this is working for you or you wouldn’t be wearing it.
Do we feel like, do you ever use the zip off pants? Cause I’m always, I always got questions about the zip off pants. Like how often are we unzipping these? What is this for like a pant emergency actually make fun of my husband. That’s literally what I say to him.
Cassidy Feltenberger: I actually probably find myself zipping them on more than zipping them off, I guess that doesn’t make like, not in terms of numbers, right. Because you have to do both. But so a lot of times I’ll like leave, not having the pants, like having them as shorts. And then during my activity, either find that, oh, look, I didn’t put sunscreen on that’s my fault need to cover up. Or just find that I need that extra layer of protection, whether it be from the sun or plants or whatever.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah. That’s you bring up a really great point because one of the reasons people hiking pants is to protect them from the vegetation. Right? Like you find you’re getting itchy real fast because you’re brushing against bushes or whatever. And I’m thinking specifically about hiking in the forest, but that’s still true in the, in the desert for you?
Cassidy Feltenberger: Yes. I’m definitely more comfortable if I’m hiking in pants. Particularly those because they’re designed for hot days. It’s not like they’re pressing up against you, but there are critters and there are cacti look harmless or critters that don’t look so harmless that just having like a flowy pant can protect you from, because it’s not pressing directly against your skin. So leggings wouldn’t do the trick and having nothing definitely wouldn’t do.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. And just like a little pro tip for people who are listening. I also have some pants like that. They are not zip off cause I’ve never felt a need for that here in, in Alaska. But they, I have them for all the days. And the reason that’s true is because I can put a close to my body pair of leggings underneath them, like a base layer and make them warmer. And so we talk a lot on the show about not like how to reduce the amount of stuff you have to own, because one not great for the planet, but two more, even more like day to day, practically, that gets really expensive. And so having a lightweight pair of pants like that, if you’re willing to layer them with a pair of like a base layer can take them from just being something you wear on a hot day in the desert to something that you can wear in all sorts of climates and all sorts of hiking situations. Do you do, have you tried that trick?
Cassidy Feltenberger: No I definitely do that. So the thing about like desert environments is that they get really cold at night usually. I mean, maybe not in the dead of summer, but in the fall and the spring they get, they can get really cold and then you can have like a 90 something degree day. So a lot of times if I’ve got my desert stuff, I’ve probably got my base layers with me too.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah. Just something I think for I, before I started spending a lot of time outside, I know it never occurred to me that you could do that. Maybe that sounds silly, but you know, you don’t know what you don’t know. So it’s a, it’s absolutely a thing. Just really depends on.
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So you mentioned polyester on the, on your clothing. And in, we’ve talked a lot about cotton, maybe not being the best choice for shirts and pants and that kind of thing, because it can keep you wet. Although, I understand there are some circumstances where cotton is appropriate in the winter time or in the summertime rather for cooling. Do you ever utilize cotton for that?
Cassidy Feltenberger: I wear cotton in this in the summer, but I don’t think of it as like a cooling strategy, I guess. It’s just that a lot of the clothes are already cotton. So, and so I just wear them kind of, but for me, the important thing is having that UPF factor, just like the SPF that we think of with sunscreen. Cause until I saw that for the first time, I think it was like five or six years ago. I was like, whoa. I can burn in my clothes? And I’ve experienced, I’ve actually experienced it since then where I had a burn and then another burn that was less severe, but through my clothes. So then I was like, okay, this is serious. So the, a lot of times I think you’ll find that the polyester. And then the other one that I was thinking is the Merino wool.
So we think of that as our base layer. We think of that as like winter time, but it actually can still protect you really well in the summer. They make wool clothes that are designed for summer and they do the same thing that they do in the winter, which is get water off you.
So it’s wicking away your sweat. It’s designed to not let you overheat. I have my base layer still in the summer, a lot of the time. And they don’t smell. You can hike all day in that and then take it off. And it won’t smell for like days. So.
Amy Bushatz: It’s a miracle because that of course is another part of being hot. Is that everyone’s sweaty and sort of you know, and stinky. And I can testify. Cause I got two little dudes here and they do not smell good, so they do not smell good at all. And so we try to limit the number of things, but yeah, I think we don’t think about our recreational gear in terms of in terms of there might be one that smell like is apt to smell worse than the other. We think about it in terms of just use, right? Like this is going to stink.
But going back to the burning. So I want to dip a little bit into your wilderness first aid experience here. What? Okay. We think about burning as skin cancer risk. We think about it as it’s like not comfortable. What are the other risks to that from a I’m out having a, adventure in the desert perspective. I’m thinking overheating or, you know, things like that. That can become more of a risk factor if you’re not paying attention to it, to a sunburn situation.
Cassidy Feltenberger: Sunburns like the type that I’m talking about, thankfully, and the talk that a lot of the type that a lot of people are talking about are just like that red skin, it’s warm to the touch and if it’s really bad it peels, and if it’s not really bad, then it’s fine. You put some lotion or something on it and it’s okay. But you can burn even deeper than that and really damage the skin and get like just really bad burns that do worse than peeler like blister or whatever.
If you have second degree burns over a really big portion of your body, or even just the regular summer and over an entire, over your entire body, that can be dangerous for your life. Which people don’t realize. And actually the more I learn about sunburns, the more scared I get, every time I get one. like It’s like, oh, I didn’t even know that this, that this can be that bad or hurt me, but so, I try to avoid them.
But we had some deaths here in California that no one could figure out what happened to this family and their dog.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. I was thinking about that just now. Yeah,
Cassidy Feltenberger: it, yeah. And it was crazy. Like they thought it was a lightning strike, they thought it was toxic water. And the cause of death was determined to be heat for the entire family and their dog, I guess, within minutes of each other. Because the temperatures went up and they didn’t have water, they didn’t have shade and they were exposed. Right. It’s still exposure, it’s heat exposure. So I guess a lot of times what happens is, you’re out there. You’re sweating. You’re having a good time. And then all the, or it’s hard, right? You’re a little uncomfortable, but it’s hard when you become a little bit more uncomfortable to then recognize, whoa. I’m experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion, and then the next is heat stroke. And then that can be deadly.
Amy Bushatz: So that’s obviously a very extreme example. So I, but I don’t want people to hear, it’s like, oh my God, we have to stay inside because this family literally died. We weren’t there. We don’t know like the genesis of that of that happening. Just know the cause of death is determined as that.
But what you’re really saying is be prepared and think through what you’re putting yourself into and how your body is reacting. And give yourself the tools for that. And so we’ve been talking about clothing and that being one of those tools that I have no idea what this family was wearing, but, maybe they just got too hot. Maybe they weren’t dressed for that. Maybe they didn’t have a closet that was thinking about, designed to think about this beforehand, but you also mentioned water and hydration and that kind of thing. So I’m wondering. you know, we hear people say, drink water. And I’m like, I drink so much water, I’m basically floating down the street all the time. So I’m really on that train. What are some ways to maybe force yourself to do that a little bit, maybe make it more palatable, hydration aids, that kind of thing. And is there any sort of snacks or not like thinking, not drinking right that aid with this?
So, I dunno, salty snacks, that kind of thing? What do you personally like and what have you seen recommended through your training?
Cassidy Feltenberger: So I encourage the people that I hike with to start hydrating, like hardcore hydrating, three to four days before whatever activity it is. So that means like actively. So even if you drink a lot of water, that means I’m actively thinking about my water intake and I’m trying to drink more than I would usually to like saturate my whole body with water. That also means that I cut down on like super salty things right before as well. Because if you’re not really exerting and you’re eating a lot of salty, like one time I had a hot chicken sandwich the night before a hike and I thought I was gonna die. It was not fun. But so I like just drink a lot, I drink a lot of water days before just drinking the night before isn’t gonna do it. Drinking on your act during your activity, isn’t going to do it. Like you have to just make sure that you are filled with water before it starts. And that starts days before.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah. And then I guess the extrapolation of that would be, if you are trying to spend lots of time outside or time outside every day. Like, like we often talk about here, you are thinking about your water intake and making that a daily habit as well. Not just something that you do in your outside. I joked on a recent episode that my son. I don’t know what is wrong with you? Like why would this child drink water? He looks like he’s in the Sahara desert all the time. Like his lips are super chapped and he gets in the, in the pool or bath or the hot tub and his skin automatically wrinkles, just like, are you like, how are you alive? But he’s 13. And he needs to learn how to drink water and we have to make that a habit. So it’s not just about, oh, I’m going to go outside. Oh, I’m hot outside right now. I think I’ll take, drink this extra bottle. It’s about making this part of your lifestyle so that you can be more comfortable, long term.
You know, that, I mean, very extreme example of people dying, but also like that’s just not very comfortable to be dehydrated. And I think people don’t understand the link there.
Do you have like a hydration aid that you like other than just straight water for when you’re outside.
Cassidy Feltenberger: So when I’m outside keeping the water cool I guess is my only hydration aid, I do drink, I have tried certain electrolyte usually liquid electrolyte type things or things that go into water because I don’t like, like, or I don’t think that juices are really good necessarily when you’re hiking. So, I have some powders that I can put into like a Nalgene and shake them and that helps. And then I use the block gummies because those tastes the best to get my electrolytes back up when I’m drinking water. But what helps me when I’m inside, because I don’t want, like, I don’t like drinking warm water, which a lot of people don’t. So I make sure I have a cold water and then I’ve been doing those flavored waters like the grapefruit flavored carbonated waters those keep me going inside.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah, I’m a, I’m a junkie. So I know it’s like super basic of me and I don’t care because I think they’re so good.
Cassidy Feltenberger: Right. But if it keeps you like when it keeps you drinking.
Amy Bushatz: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think that, just sort of adding there in for kids, if you’re hiking with kids somewhere hot, it can be difficult to be a water pusher. I mean, that’s one of the problems with my kid, right. It’s just like, why would I drink this? If I could, you know, not. And so when we’re getting ready for a outdoor adventure where I know he’s either going to be sweating or on the flip side, again, we’re talking about heat today, but staying hydrated is just as important for when you’re outside in very cold weather because it helps your body stay warm. So, and it’s even harder to drink because you’re not thirsty. You’re just cold. So, those hydration aids are great because they don’t have a lot of sugar in them. I’m thinking like the powders, they don’t have a lot of sugar in them, but they can add just the tiniest bit of flavor to water. I wouldn’t have my kids do that all the time, but I definitely use that as a tool now and then. But you gotta be careful also not to go overboard. Right. And just only get used to drinking that because that’s probably more electrolytes than you actually need. Just nothing can be cut and dry nothing can be easy.
When you’re out there you said you use shot blocks. Do you ever think about eating like salty snacks, like crunchy things other than just those sort of sport sport aids? Like the shop blocks are.
Cassidy Feltenberger: I bring cheez-Its on every outdoor thing I go to every like,. that’s my thing. And then the other one, I guess, this isn’t really salty, but someone once, I don’t remember. I had, like, I think I had the shot blocks and then someone else had gummy bears. And I was sitting there like sadly eating the blocks and then they had gummy bears and I was like, I’m doing this wrong. So I do bring those too. That’s just a morale boost. I still bring the blocks. I still bring the Cheez-Its, but I bring like the candy just, yeah.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. We had a recent episode with a mom whose family is vegan. They do a lot of salty, like trail mix kind of stuff like nuts and that kind of thing. Vegan focused, obviously. And a lot of fruit, but she’s got real little kids. And so they’re not going super, super far. They’re doing these shorter adventures and, but it is a universal truth the snacks keep people going. I myself am a fan of the Swedish fish. Love those little fishies. And I use them when I run. But it’s the same thing as gummy bears, you just find something that works for you and that you really love. And my salty snack when I’m running is I love those fricking love, those cheese Ritz crackers with the cheese in the middle, the ones that are like fake cheese crackers, so good.
So, okay. Let’s talk about activities. You like to hike in the desert. Lots of people like to be outside in the heat in a pool, but we can’t all just sit in a cooling puddle all the time. So, let’s say there’s a, it’s very hot outside. Um, you know, you’re not in the Mojave, so you’re not like on a big adventure hike but you’re looking for something to do outside. What do you, what do you recommend to people that they think about doing, or do you have any ideas?
Cassidy Feltenberger: So. I guess, whatever it is that you like to do, you can, I guess I was just thinking you can like change the times that you’re doing them. So whether it’s hiking, whether it’s forging, whatever it is you’re doing, you can change it to the hours that it’s the coolest. If you’re walking your dog in a place where it’s really hot you’re going to either start way earlier or shift it to like, after the sun has gone down beyond maybe behind a mountain, not like behind the full horizon, but .
Amy Bushatz: Just not as intensely overhead.
Cassidy Feltenberger: Right. Right. And that’s kinda cool. Cause you’re like shifting back to what your ancestors kind of did at least in Southern California. Right. That’s what native Americans here were doing. They would, you can’t move during the heat of a summer day. Right. You can’t just continue on, so shift your activities so that you’re finishing earlier or starting later.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. It’s, I’m being very intentional about how you’re thinking about things and about how you’re thinking about your timing. It would be wonderful if we all lived and played in somewhere with perfect ideal weather all the time, and those places do exist. That’s great. But most of us don’t. And so even if heat isn’t something that you’re actively looking for, like you search that out, you love going to the desert. But some people that’s just where they live and they want to become more outdoorsy but this is standing in their way.
And so this time shifting idea is a very practical way just to maybe flip the way you’re thinking about what it is you’re doing and see, is there a way that I can reorganize my schedule a little bit to make this possible while not baking?
Cassidy Feltenberger: Right. Right. The other thing that I really like try to do is get higher, get to higher elevations. It’s colder up there, even in the summertime. It is colder and deserts have mountains. That’s something that I think people a lot of times forget cause you see, but deserts have mountains and they’re big and they’re 10 degrees cooler on top, maybe more.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s um, that’s a, that’s a really good reminder cause you’re right, people don’t think about those things. I mean, even thinking about somewhere like Hawaii, right? You think about it just being warm and very tropical, even Hawaii has mountains that are not tropical up top and cold. And I know that cause I went there. But to your point, it was a lot, it was a lot cooler there and it didn’t really take us very long to get up there. It just took making the effort to be intentional about doing that. And so much of going outside comfortably comes down to being to that intentionality. Sourcing, owning using the right gear that lends itself to being comfortable. I say right in that it is the best for that situation. Not in that there’s not a wide array of versions of that. I think we can say the right gear and that sounds like something that should be very expensive and unattainable. Not so. And then it’s thinking about your timing in terms of when you’re doing things so that you are putting yourself in a circumstance that is going to be less difficult to deal with than others.
The thing about cold is that it’s always cold. There’s really never a time that’s more or less cold in a given day and in the wintertime in a lot of places. In the summer. That’s not as true there, the temperature does fluctuate throughout the day in most locations. And so you can, I don’t want to say pick your poison, but almost.
Can you give us three or four tips for making the most out of spending time outside in the heat you’ve mentioned, of course going outside, picking your time of day wisely. What else?
Cassidy Feltenberger: So. I guess, okay. This is a trick that I’ve learned that I don’t always follow and I should. But it is so like sunscreen. Um, when you put it on, put it on naked, cover every single inch, because then you won’t ever miss a spot and put it on 15 minutes before. It takes some burns hours to develop. So it’s already too late. It’s already way worse than what it looks like. But so I, when I follow this, I have a better time, which is sunscreen 15 minutes before, and I never, and don’t miss any spots, put it on under your clothes.
The other one would be the hydration thing. Hydrate before. Check your friends, talk to each other, like make sure that everybody’s. Going to the bathroom and everybody’s drinking. And if you’re doing the high, if you’re hydrating right with salty foods with the packets and then with just regular water, you won’t have that hunger that like hiker hunger that you get at the end of a really big one. And you won’t have that, like where you’re gulping down water, that won’t happen if you’re hydrating right. So. Those two and then the last one was just , enjoy some nice beverages, some cold beverages before, during after.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think that, that point about how, you were hydrated is such a good one because people don’t think about the tail on being under hydrated as being like I’m super, super hungry or on these other body signals that you have from doing that. Like you’re not going to the bathroom very often or your, like you said, this ha this hiker hunger, and you’re absolutely right. I had never actually connected the dot on that.
So I’m so glad you mentioned that because of course I’m like I refer back to running a lot. Cause that’s what I do where I lose a lot of my hydration because I’m sweating a lot. But I, if I’m hydrated well, and I’m hydrating throughout my run and I’m hydrating after I run. So that looks like drinking while I’m going, just like you would, when you’re hiking.
And then I have a big bottle of water at the end. But if I’m hydrated, well, I don’t gulp it. I’m like, oh, look, check it out. I’m so smart for bringing this with me. I think I’ll drink it now. Right? But not like, oh my God, thank you, Jesus that this is here. Those are two entirely psychological and physical feelings, and one comes from just being again, intentional about how you’re dealing with the heat and the circumstance so that you could enjoy it more because that’s what this is about, right. It’s about wanting to have a good time and make being outside something that’s sustainable for you and an enjoyable experience.
And you’ve got all of these tools in the basket to do that. You just have to think through actually. And, or for people who are new to this, understand what they are and, and utilize them. Absolutely. So Cassidy, we like to close out our episodes just by asking our guests to share one of their favorite pieces of outdoor gear, maybe most essential or just favorite thing.
And of course, we’ve been talking very practically today. So you’ve mentioned your shirt. I don’t know if that’s your favorite one. Do you have a favorite piece of gear that you use when you’re headed outside on a hot day?
Cassidy Feltenberger: This is hard. I love like I have a buff and a cooling rag that you can like get wet and put on your neck. Those are great. I love my polarized sunglasses, but I think, I think I’ve got to go with like hiking poles. They don’t help you in the heat. They, I guess they help you a little bit with like exertion, but they’re versatile. They can be used in survival scenarios. They can help you if you get hurt. So I think I’ve got to go with hiking poles.
Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Yeah. I love me a good pair of hiking poles. So I completely, I completely understand. For my birthday, a couple of years ago, my husband got me super lightweight ones that fold up and are designed just for running. But I can use them to hike too. So they’re very versatile. They actually live in the back of my car. So no one rob me please. Cause I’ll lose my poles., But I it’s like a, I keep them there just in case we’re somewhere that I would like to have some running poles.
Okay. As a final thing. If you would describe for us your favorite outdoor memory maybe just walk us out with a moment of being outside that was really special to you and that you’d like to envision it and go back to.
Cassidy Feltenberger: So I think that would be eating breakfast on the Tran-Catalina trail, it’s kind of early right now, so that still works. But so we had like a big day, like 24 miles. We started before sunrise. And so we were eating breakfast on near a peak and the sun is coming up all around us. And the whole sky is like cotton, candy, pink and blue. And the in you’re surrounded by ocean and it was just serene and beautiful. That was, that was my favorite.
Amy Bushatz: Hmm. That is beautiful. What a great memory. Cassidy. Thank you so much for joining us on Humans Outside today. Appreciate your expertise and your adventures in the heat, helping us do the same.
Cassidy Feltenberger: Thank you.
Amy Bushatz: Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode of Humans Outside. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, give us a little love and leave a rating and review to make it easier for others to find the podcasts to what you say matters. It really truly does make a difference. And until next time we’ll see you out there.