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Pinnacles National Park asking hikers to avoid trails during hot weather

PAICINES, Calif. (KION-TV)- Labor Day weekend is in sight, and escaping the heat will not be easy. Some people might be heading out of town or staying close to home.

Eric Petersen is an experienced hiker who comes out to the park often.

“I've done almost every trail here,” said Petersen of Salinas. “[Prewett Point Trail]  is easy to walk on. The other trails are a bit more challenging which is a good thing when you can do them.”

Petersen just came off of Prewett Point Trail for his regular hike. He's using the trail for preparation and is gearing up to take on the more taxing trails.

“The longest hike I've done here was about 12 miles, but that was a few years ago when I was in better shape,” said Petersen. “But I intend to be doing that same hike within a year.”

Even during hot temps, Petersen makes sure he's prepared. He brings a backpack with water, a jacket, and emergency food, just to name a few. 

But even if people come prepared during days like high heat, it can still catch people off guard.

“It's just really critically important that people understand the risk that 110 degrees of direct sunlight and heat can pose even to people prepared for that,” said Chris Symons, a Park Ranger and Volunteer Coordinator with the Pinnacles National Park. 

The Pinnacles National Park staff have gone in to save people suffering from heat exhaustion, which can affect staffing. 

“This time of the year in the summer at Pinnacles, we often have a rescue every week,” said Symons. “If not one, two, or three rescues in a week.”

Due to the hot weather, the park recommends that people avoid the trails this weekend. But for people still planning to go, the park urges people to be aware and ready for changing conditions. 

Park staff also recommend that people wear the proper clothing to go hiking. That includes wearing clothes that are not tonight and have long sleeves. Park staff also urges people to take a map, pack plenty of water, and have snacks with lots of sugar and salt. 

The Pinnacles National Park expects to see many people coming because of the long weekend and will increase its staffing. 

With high heat forecasted for this weekend, the National Weather Service recommends people avoid going outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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Ana Torrea

Weekend Anchor/Reporter for KION News Channel 5/46


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