A Question for Matt

Matt Krause has begun his 1305 km walk across Turkey.  I think this is just amazing, and I told many people about his goals and why he is doing it.  Interestingly, everyone asked me the same question.  So I passed it on to Matt.

Some of Terry’s readers asked, “How will Matt deal with the weather as he approaches Van?” Van is one of the highest cities along my route, at an elevation of almost 1800 meters (6000 feet), and I’ll be passing through that area in March or April. So theirs is an excellent question, and the short answer is, “I don’t know, I guess I’ll find out.”

Here’s the longer answer:

My sleeping bag is warm down to -30 degrees Celsius (-20 degrees Fahrenheit). I have a Thermorest air pad. Both fit into a Goretex bivvy sack, and I have a tent too.

One of my favorite activities in a previous life in Seattle was using this same set of equipment to snow camp in the Cascade mountains in the winter. I would snowshoe off the trail with a topo map and compass, often hiking through powder more pristine than any I could imagine (and some of it knee deep, even in snowshoes).

In my early snow camping days, I often dug a cave into a snow bank, but that was too much work. Plus, I couldn’t see the sky at night, so after a few times digging caves I switched to just digging a small trench to keep me out of the wind. I’d dig the trench and lay my bivvy sack right there in the snow. Most times I left the tent in my backpack, since I couldn’t see the sky if I used it.

So I have the equipment I would need for a night out in the cold, and I don’t mind sleeping in the snow. In fact, I prefer it.

I’ve never been to Van though. I’ve never even been anywhere near it.

Weather reports tell me Van’s average nighttime low in April is around

0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), and its average daytime high in April is 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). If it is a heavy snow year, I might see a lot of snow. If it is a light snow year, I might see very little.

Cold temperatures and snow itself don’t bother me much. What does concern me is snow accumulation on the road shoulder. If there is a lot of snow on the shoulder, it will push me out onto the road and walking will be dangerous. If that looks like it will be a problem, I may slow down and spend some extra time around the cities of Urfa and Diyarbakir, which are at lower elevations, while the snow up higher melts.

When I invite people to join me for a leg of the walk (http://heathenpilgrim.com/open-invitation), I rarely suggest they join me near Van, because I have no idea what kind of weather conditions I’d be inviting them into. It might be quite comfortable, or it might be a little tough. Who knows? I guess I’ll find out.

I believe that’s the best answer we are going to get — at least for now!  You can follow Matt on his blog at http://heathenpilgrim.com/.  Yesterday he passed through Buharkent, Aydin.

Keep up the good work, Matt!

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