Sunstroke in Canyon


Less than four miles should be easy.  It should be a delightful day.  We should have enough time before it gets too hot.  The dog should be alright with a creek.  There should be shade. We should have enough water – three 16 oz bottles.  I should not burn as I have sunscreen on my face and arms. We should not need food for two hours.  We should be ok starting at 10:30 am.  None of those things were true,

Again, none of those things proved true, thank goodness I had packed my rain gear and used it to protect myself from the brutal sun.  We climbed out of the creek bed Trail by the dam to access Rimrock trail.  It was quite the climb and we stopped under a small tree on top of the canyon wall to escape the increasing heat. It is 11:30 am.

Beauty and fear began to compete towards the end of the hike.  The fear came from the distance remaining in increasing heat and decreasing water.  We can see the cars across the broad valley.  The beautiful snow covered Rockies shimmer in the distance.  There was a man was there without any water.  Another man had his dog, but no bowel to give him water.   Crazy.

Castlewood Canyon State Park is located southeast of Denver on Highway 85 south of a little stop in the road called Franktown.  There are two parts of the park, one that is busy and very developed, and the western side, which is also busy, but less developed off a gravel road on the road to Castle Rock, Colorado. 

We planned to travel to see the Cherry Creek dam from the western side of the park. This dam failed in the 1930s and flooded parts of Denver.  It was never rebuilt. The map showed attainable height and climb, a good path on the top of the canyon and along the Cherry Creek path.  

“The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself,  ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’” Obadiah 1:3 NIV

Heat stroke is defined as your body heating up too much usually in the summer.  My cheeks became flushed (and stayed red for 5 hours).  Altered mental state set in when I got down to the creek bed area and some shade. Dizzyness and lightheadedness came next, with chills down my arm and leg.   

Air conditioning running in the car, cold water to drink and taking off my shoes as I was trying to cool down. I fought the nausea as my husband drove home.  

I do remember nothing for the last 40 minutes of the hike once we crossed the creek bed again.  There was nothing I could do but climb up the valley. Slow down, rest, eat, consume the remaining water, and put one foot in front of the other and climb to the car.  

Pride in surviving and false pride in thinking I could do the 4 miles in temperature of 87 degrees (31 degrees Celsius). It was not fun and five hours later my face was still beet red.

Beginning of the three hour adventure

When have you been fearful on a hike?  Have you ever thought you were not going to make it through a hike? What do you know about caring for yourself in the “wild”? 

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