[Cdt-l] Sleeping temps, footwear advice

Jim and/or Ginny Owen spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 16 10:30:07 CST 2008

Re: Sleeping bags - As Mags said, the CDT is a high country trail.  While it can get very hot in July and August, you can also end up with freezing nights and cold all day rains in that same time period.  When we were in the Winds in August 1999 our water bottles froze.  In 2006 I was hypothermic our first day out of Rawlins after walking in rain for several hours on a windy day.  We got snowed on in the San Juans in June, 2006 and I was hypothermic there in July 1997 thanks to walking in all day drizzles.  We both carried 20 degree bags for most of the 2006 trip.  Then in mid-September we switched to 10 degree bags.  Since it started to snow September 14th, we were quite happy we did.  On our first hike in 1999 we had our first (minor) snow on September 3 and our first major snow September 18th.  On our first hike, Jim carried a 20 degree bag until mid-September, I carried a 10 degree bag the whole way.
Southbound is, in my experience, a colder hike than northbound since you are hiking so much later in the year and you hike thru the high country of Colorado in the fall instead of early summer, but even a northbound hike can get cold, both in June in Colorado and September in Montana.  The desert section of Wyoming is bracketed by some very high mountains on both sides, so though it might be worth using a lighter bag for that week or 10 days, is it worth the hassle when you'll need to regain your heavier bag soon after?
As to boots:  both Jim and I wore boots for hiking through the snow in Colorado.  We didn't have a lot of snow, but what there was was sometimes quite hard and icy.  We did the same on the PCT.  I like having more heft to my kick when I'm kicking steps in snow than I get in running shoes.  I also like the additional warmth of boots.  Finally, when hiking the tussocks in northern Colorado after switching back to trail runners, I was wishing I had my boots back because the lighter shoes gave no ankle support on the talus and tussocks.  Since I have bad ankles (long ago sprain that comes back to haunt me occasionally), there was a week or so that I was wishing for the higher ankle support as my feet were really rolling on the wobbly surface. We don't wear heavy boots - Lowa Renegades worked well for us.
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