The cold. What about the cold? How cold will it be in the New Mexico desert? Should I start with my desert gear or my mountain gear? Hmmm……what about that cold? Cold? COLD?
You get my drift.
I read a comment from a guy that said he was cold with his 20F bag on the Continental Divide Trail. As you might have guessed, this really got my brain going. I will start at the New Mexico/Mexico border at Crazy Cook. The elevation is 4,305 ft. and I’ll never go below it until the end of the trail in Montana. During the first 200 miles, I will be over 8,000 feet numerous times. The highest point in New Mexico is over 11,000 ft. just before the Colorado border. Does this sound like the desert to you? So from now on, I’ll definitely be thinking of New Mexico as the high desert. The high desert is cold right? And probably hot too. I’ll be ready for both.
Being a thyroid cancer survivor and living with no thyroid, leaves me with innumerable body temperature challenges. These challenges are drawn into the spotlight out on the trail. Sure, the heat of the desert is tough where my body struggles to cool itself. But the real beast? Cold. The cold is what body slams me to the ground and then kicks me one more time just because it can. My body temp runs nearly two degrees cooler than normal with my feet being the hardest to keep warm after the hiking day is over. Because of this, I have to make significant changes to my setup when I get into higher elevations and inclement weather.
So now you know why I’m so damn scared of the cold. Is it going to stop me? No way! I’m throwing out my notions of desert gear. I’m just going to start with the gear I’d planned for the mountains. It may be overkill at times but I’d rather have the warmth than be lying there counting sheep with cold feet.