This 5-hour float trip quickly could’ve been a disaster

I promised my graduating seniors we would float the Big Sugar Creek in eastern McDonald County.
The plan was to head out Sunday, April 26, immediately after morning worship.

By most opinions, it was a pleasant, beautiful day but I canceled anyway. Over their moans and groans, I engaged in a “teachable moment.”

I pointed out the partially clouded sky and persistent wind. The water temperature was right at 55 degrees and the ambient air temperature never rose above 65 degrees. Since all but two of our Stream Team fleet are sit-on-top kayaks, I knew the kids would get wet.

One argument was that the sun would keep us warm but with the persistent wind, even the sun under these conditions would not provide sufficient warmth. Through the processes of conduction and evaporation, a five-hour float would quickly become a disaster.

Way back in the 1980s I attended and survived some intense cold weather survival training at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane Was. Growing up in Galveston County on the Gulf Coast, the only cold weather I endured was the annual Christmas trip to Southwest Missouri to visit my grandparents.
Concepts of hydration, radiant heat, conduction, heat generation and preservation was never a concern. Young and dumb, right?
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Our bodies work best when our core temperature ranges from 96º F to 102º F. Preventing too much heat loss (or gain) should always be a concern. The factors which cause changes in body core temperature (besides infection and illness) are climatic conditions like air temperature, wind, and moisture.

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