Sleeping on the Trail

Updated: May 21

By Mary Anderson

Settling in for the night in the Chihuahuan Desert.

It is not the mice or bear that sometimes make me restless at night. It is all the stuff inside my sleeping bag.

I can’t let my water filter freeze, so I throw it into the foot of my sleeping bag. Phone and portable battery pack? These need to be kept warm as well. Then there will be the new mini tablet I will carry to type on.

If the night is really cold I may throw a bottle of water into my sleeping bag, especially if I won’t have time in the morning to fire up the stove. It is not fun to carry a chunk of frozen water in my bottle until the sun thaws it out.

If my boots are wet, I might throw them in as well. At the very least I will make sure the boots are pulled wide so I can thrust my feet into them when they freeze solid.


And finally, my clothes. Often I sleep in the same clothes I will hike in. But if I expect to change, I’ll throw the ones I’ll wear in the morning into my bag to avoid the shock of changing into cold clothes in the morning.


Did I mention that my sleeping bag is a mummy bag with a very tapered foot bed?

Mary Anderson is writing a book about her trek along the 3,000-mile Continental Divide Trail, a journey of healing that she undertook in her sixties. Mary hiked the southern half of the trail, from the Mexican border into Wyoming, in 2020 and will begin the northern half in a few days. You can follow her progress here on the Korongo blog.

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