It's hot outside.

As many folks celebrate an extended weekend, I've heard words like "stifling," "sticky" and "miserable" to describe the muggy weather. But I've not heard anybody say, "Let's get outside."

I believe a weekend is a terrible thing to waste ... even if the weather is trying to force us to take cover in an air-conditioned sanctuary. We can still get outdoors this weekend. We just need to think cool. Here's how you do it.

First, get up early and hit the trail. Although the mid-day heat and humidity can be enough to take our breath away, a morning in the woods is surprisingly refreshing. My advice is to check out the miles of trails that weave through our county parks.

They're well maintained, close to home and, unless you're hiking every weekend, offer plenty of new sights to see.

One of my favorite mid-summer hikes is to hit the Mason-Dixon Trail as its snakes beneath a canopy of shady hardwoods in the southern end of the county. For the seasoned, start at Apollo County Park and follow the blue blazes north to Long Level.

An early-morning hike lets you get out of the sun, beat the late-day heat and, best of all, be close to the Susquehanna for a mid-day jaunt on the water. When the weather is hot, a kayak is the perfect watercraft. Get the sweat out of your eyes by sliding into the river to cool off.

Some easy places to launch and beat the holiday-weekend crowd are in Wrightsville. There's a Fish and Boat Commission launch just south of the Route 462 bridge and another launch at the community park just north of the bridge.

If you don't want to hit the river, don't worry. There are plenty of lakes in York County. Pinchot is a hot spot for kayakers. And so are Lake Redman and Lake Williams, just south of the city.

If you're on the water, be sure to wear a life jacket and have a current launch permit for your kayak.

Finally, as the temperatures reach their peak of the day, try a switch in tactics. Instead of being on the water, get in it. Wet wading is a great way to beat summer-time heat.

Head to the shallow water of the Susquehanna just east of Mount Wolf and try your luck for smallmouths, walleyes and catfish. But leave the waders at home. With some "skin in the game" you'll feel the cool riffles and creek junctions fish call home when the water heats up. Even if you don't get a bite, at least you'll cool off.

The bottom line is simple. It's hot out, but then again, it's summer. In six months, when the snow is falling and the driveway needs shoveled, we will crave this kind of weather.

Get outside, take advantage of what is around us, and enjoy the summer heat.

Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@york