Fall officially started on September 22nd but Arizona missed the memo and will continue to ignore the new season until Halloween. October is the most frustrating month of the year for two reasons—the southwest already endured five full months of heat and temperatures can still spike above 100 degrees. Just look at the next few days which fly dangerously close to triple digits.
So how do you stay cool when the desert refuses to do the same? Here are a few ways to survive the sixth month of summer in the southwest.
Get Your Basic On
When in Rome, live as the Romans do. Just because it’s not fall on the thermostat doesn’t mean coffee shops in the desert aren’t selling pumpkin spice lattes and other autumn treats. Indulge in your favorite fall weather delicacies and you might actually trick your brain into thinking it’s a few degrees cooler. Just maybe make it an iced latte until November.
Join the Exodus North
The mountains are perfect for cold weather camping this time of year, where highs are cool and lows hover just above freezing. If you have the right gear, like a sleeping bag rated to 30 degrees or lower, the higher altitudes are the perfect escape from the heat, if only for a weekend. Tip: Leave the desert early in the morning to avoid traffic—you’re not the only one with this idea.
Become a Nocturnal Animal
October days still sizzle but the nights are quite cool. If your sport is running, biking, or hiking nearby trails, trade in the sun for some moonlight—the temperatures dip to a perfect 70-75 degrees at night. Just make sure you have the proper gear to work out in the dark—headlamp, reflective vest, and even a clip-on light for your back.
Freeze in a Swimming Hole
There are swimming holes all over Arizona and jumping into one in October will make you thankful for the heat. Most of these streams and falls get their water from natural springs, which means the water is ice cold year-round. That’s something to treasure when it’s 115 degrees in July, but a kind-of-warm day in the fall will leave you shivering (and that’s good).
Just Look at the Sunset and Appreciate Something for Once in Your Life
What did you think you were going to get in this part of the country? It was hot last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. It will be hot again next year. This happens to us every September and October—we experience sudden memory loss of what summers feel like in Arizona. But while we gripe about the heat and need for extra sunscreen so late in the year, other parts of the country are getting ready to scrape ice off their windshields as their hands near frostbite.
So, yeah, it’s a little warm in October, but it’s not a fiery death sentence—just a chance to enjoy one of the most unique climates in the United States. Then, when it’s all over, we have at least four months of the most heavenly weather imaginable. That’s when a new kind of hell arrives.