High Altitude Recreation

We have been in a tent when the walls caved in and the tent poles snapped in high winds. We have woken in the morning with ice on the blankets around our mouths, and snow on the roof of our tent.

There is more to high altitude recreation than camping, but camping is a biggie. We have camped on the Platte River, and in the Medicine Bow National Forest. The experiences were different, but they had some similarities which apply to high altitude recreation in general.

Temperatures at night are pretty much cold year around. In the summer, you will want a warm blanket or sleeping bag at night, even in the hottest part of summer. High altitude locations do not hold heat in at night very well.

When you are out all day, it is often easy to underestimate the cumulative affect of sunlight, and people burn in places they do not think to protect. Wear a hat to keep your head from burning on your part line, or through thin hair.

In some areas, mosquitoes are a particular problem also. Others, they are not. But if you are going to be at moderate altitudes, be prepared to either cover up, or bring bug spray.

And of course bring lots of water. Many high altitude streams and creeks do not have water that is safe to drink without being treated. And treated water does not necessarily taste good. Packing in water can help, if you have the space to do so. We found that it was hardest to cope with longer camping trips, because we could not pack in as much water as our large family could use in that time.

Most higher altitude recreation is physical, so be prepared to cope with the rigors and more intense demands that high altitude puts on your body.