The four Ts of staying cool in the summer sun

Beat the heat

Timing, threads, territory and thirst. Call it the four Ts.

That's how to respond to tropical temperatures in the usually temperate Okanagan this week. You knew they were coming. May's heatwave was Mother Nature's warmup. So here are the Sheriff's tips for avoiding and dealing with Celsius temperatures in the 30s and even the 40s.

Timing is crucial. Schedule your outdoor activities early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is lower in the sky. Always end your outing before the hottest time of the day. As well, schedule your outings on a weekday rather than the busy weekends. Why sweat in a crowd.

Choice of threads is also obvious. Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing made from natural fibres even though you may look “hot” in skin-tight black lycra, you will be hot. Breathable fabrics are a must.

Remember that neck tube you wore to keep warm last winter? Dig it out of the ski bag, soak it in cool water and the evaporation will cool the overheated blood rushing to your head. The Sheriff really likes to soak the tube so the excess water runs down his cycling jersey. It's coolness, especially if you are heading into a breeze. You can also pull tubes up to cover your mouth for cooler breaths or pull it partway over your head (great for baldies like the Sheriff). Check the tube dampness part-way through your outing and soak it again.

No tube? Bandanas or a handkerchief will do but may need wetting more often. Neck coolers, wraps, towels and gaiters serve the same purpose. Some recommend tying those moist fabrics around your pressure points: wrists, ankles and even behind the knees when stopped.

The annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival always has mist stations to cool down its music fans. The Sheriff found a salad oil mist bottle he fills with water for a cool spray. A variety of battery-operated fans, mist sprayers and a combination of the two are also available. There is always a debate whether hand fans create more heat in your hands and arms than the cooling effect but if it's the right fan and the appropriate technique, you can look ever-so-cool.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control advises that while fans can help you feel more comfortable, they do not work to lower body temperature for older people at temperatures higher than 35 C.

Territory involves your choice of outing location. It's cooler by a body of water and cooler at higher elevations. Big White Ski Resort can be 10 degrees cooler than in the valley. The Sheriff and Constant Companion Carmen often break up a leisurely e-bike ride with a dip in the lake. Wearing wet bike shorts or your bathing suit keeps you cool on the way home as the temperature rises.

Choose outing routes in the shade, without steep climbs and without the fine dust you often get on the Kalamalka Lake section of the Okanagan Rail Trail in extremely hot, dry conditions. Or bring your own shade: a wide-brimmed hat, a sun shade or even an umbrella. The right umbrella, the right twirling technique? Who knew they now make an evaporative cooling hat? A vest with a personal ice pack built in? A sun cape hat?

The Sheriff and CCC often forego easy e-bike rides in favour of kayaking (you can always splash yourself if hot, or go for a swim). Even then, we prefer early mornings and evenings, plus weekdays when there are fewer powerboats out racing up and down the lake.

Quenching your thirst is essential. It’s also obvious, but bring lots of water. The Sheriff loves ice-cold water so there are extra ice cubes in two (or three) small thermos flasks. He also fills one thermos with just ice cubes to add to water later. If you need electrolytes, there is a huge range available but watch their sugar levels.

One way of tracking adequate water consumption is paying attention to your urine. Clear or slightly yellow urine is good—it means you’re getting plenty of fluids. If your urine is infrequent or the colour of apple juice, you’re not drinking enough. And remember children and the elderly can easily become dehydrated without knowing it,

Instead of passing by that corner store, why not pause for ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, a slushie, shaved ice or even a popsicle?

Do you have even more keep-your-cool tips? Email the Sheriff at [email protected].


Ski resorts in the Southern Interior have a wide variety of activities in July.

Big White Ski Resort's Summer Music Series every Saturday in the Village launched on July 8. The thrilling Freeride Days MTB Festival returns July 20 to 22, featuring slopestyle events, big-air competitions and the best trick showcases by some of the world’s best riders. More to come.

SilverStar Mountain Resort hosts the Canada Cup DH Race/B.C. Cup/B.C. Championships this weekend, the first stop of the 2023 Canada Cup Series. Greater Vernon has been designated as the trails capital of B.C.

The Sun Peaks concert line-up will provide more live and free outdoor entertainment in a natural mountain amphitheatre than ever before from Canada Day though to the end of September, with Jana Seale performing on the Village Stage July 16 and Zuffalo July 21.


Too soon for Nordic news?

Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club announced this week that its AGM will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 21 at the German Canadian Harmonie Club in Kelowna, with plans to hold the meeting outdoors and to barbecue wurst —German style sausages—before calling the meeting to order. The Sheriff has had wurst.

The club is also looking for those interested in becoming treasurer, a director on the board or snowshoeing and facilities directors and it is hiring snowcat grooming operators. Submit a brief bio, current photo or resume to [email protected].

The club also needs volunteers to help brush and clear trails in September. Outline your availability and contact information to [email protected]. In addition, the club was recently accepted as a member of Cross Country B.C., joining the province-wide network.


In the South Okanagan, Nickel Plate Nordic Club welcomed two new board members at its AGM in June—Shannon Keyes, a provincial XC judge with a wealth of experience with youth XC programs in the province and local businessman Peter Achtem.

"Although we saw a decline in day users last winter, likely due to inflation, our memberships are holding relatively steady year- over-year after a significant climb during the COVID-19 years," said Kevin Dyck, marketing and communications manager.

"What was most exciting from the AGM was the announcement of a formal plan to build a warming hut on our trail, Eagle's Nest. Designs were revealed with a planned opening date for the 2024-25 season.

“Affectionately called ‘Colleen's Cabin,’ the project has been funded by the estate of Colleen Schneider. Schneider was a long-time member and familiar face at Nickel Plate for years, but sadly she passed away unexpectedly in 2022."

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Making Tracks articles

About the Author

J.P. Squire arrived in the Okanagan Valley from flatland Chatham, Ont. in the middle of the night in the spring of 1980. Waking up in the Highway 97 motel, he looked across the then-four-lane roadway at Mount Baldy and commented: "Oh my God, there's mountains." Driving into downtown Kelowna, he exclaimed: "Oh my God, there's a lake."

The rest is history. After less than a month in Kelowna, he concluded: "I'm going to live here for a long time." And he did.

Within weeks and months, he was hiking local hillsides, playing rec hockey at Memorial Arena and downhill skiing at Big White Ski Resort. After purchasing a hobby farm in the Glenmore Valley in 1986, he bought the first of many Tennessee Walking Horses. After meeting Constant Companion Carmen in 1999, he bought two touring kayaks and they began exploring Interior lakes and B.C.'s coast.

The outdoor recreation column began with downhill ski coverage every winter as the Ski Sheriff but soon progressed to a year-round column as the Hiking, Biking, Kayaking and Horseback Riding Sheriff.

His extensive list of contacts in Okanagan outdoor recreation clubs, organizations and groups means a constant flow of emails about upcoming events and activities which will be posted on Castanet every Sunday.

You can email the Sheriff at: [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories