Considering how wild and lonely some of the higher altitude areas are, it is pretty astonishing how much there actually is to see and do! Where we live, there are all kinds of things to see within a few hours.
If you are vacationing at higher altitude, or living permanently there, you may need to prepare differently for a day out.
For one thing, we don’t even travel to the grocery store without taking water along. Ok, so the store is an hour away, but still, any time we are planning to be out for more than an hour or two, we take water along.
If we are walking, we take water no matter how short we expect the walk to be. Even just strolling a mile or two can dry you out up here, and we are only at 6000 ft. We found some nice fanny packs that hold water bottles, and the kids use those when they do yard work for other people, or when they are hiking, or out of the house for long.
Many scenic and historic spots are high enough above sea level that extra precautions are wise when visiting them. Besides water, you’ll need to make sure that you have adequate clothing – that means layers, with the option to keep warmer than you think you might need – and emergency shelter and heat if there is a chance that you could end up stuck some place lonely.
In a lot of the higher areas, roads are not well traveled. If you break down, it may be hours before another car passes. This is one reason we tend to always carry snacks and water. Our years out in Wyoming have not been easy ones financially, and our cars have tended to have very high miles. We have broke down on the side of the road probably a dozen times, and sometimes rescue was quick, sometimes not. Had we not had a coat, and water, we could have been in serious trouble before help arrived. We were blessed to have never broke down in the middle of winter, because even inside the car, temperatures can drop very rapidly, and a cold car offers little protection against exposure, even if it does offer shelter from the wind.
Cell signals are pretty scarce out here too. If the wind happens to wiggle the nearest tower in just the right way, you may get a brief signal, but in many areas, you get nothing but dead air. You have to be more prepared to rely on your own resources.
The issues with day travel at higher altitudes have less to do with height, and more to do with dehydration, cold, and isolation that usually go along with higher areas.