a helpful guide to joshua tree summers

my brother-in-law wrote a post about coping with heat in this place last year. his description of what the temperature ranges feel like inspired me to write this little post. if i was better with graphics, i’d make a cute thermometer noting what to expect right on there to entertain you, but for now you’ll just have to imagine it.

daytime high temps:

70-79F (21-26C)… aka winter – sunbathe, garden, hike, call canadian relatives to gloat

80-89F (26-31C) you get too hot in the direct sun, so do your yard work before 10am or after 5pm. do inside stuff midday or take a nice siesta in the hammock. call vancouver relatives to gloat.

90-99F (31-37C) keep the swamp cooler turned on, and keep watermelon and whiskey sours available. do all your cooking in the solar oven or grill (do not turn on oven). siesta is a must so you can get up early to do your work. if you want to be outside in the middle of the day, soak a long sleeve shirt and wear it until it dries, the soak it again. spend evenings outdoors playing catch with the toddler and marveling at the sunset in the comfortably warm breeze.

100-105F (38-40C) opening the door is like walking in to a sauna, so don’t do it. make sure you have some kind of pool you can submerge yourself and your child in several times in the day (in the shade!). observe that the lizards and road runners are visibly panting. count the hours until sunset. when the sun finally goes down, go out to water the trees.

105-110F (41-43C) eyeball-scorching wall of heat. feel how hot the windows are. do not go outside except to scuttle over to the in-law’s air-conditioned living room. leave the swamp cooler on 24 hours a day. do not call canadian relatives but do secretly watch youtube videos of the aquabus and have heat induced, mirage-like visions of laying in a cool dark cave with moss and the sound of a creek.

111-115F (44-46C) (today). brain is cooked. ask yourself why you live here. plan escape to the beach or north. tell yourself, “this too shall pass.” let the kid watch tv. eat watermelon, cucumbers, and lemonade. do not cook. do not clean. do not do work of any kind. do NOT call canadian relatives.

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