Adjusting to Life at 7,000 Feet

Our backyard

Our Backyard

We’ve been living up in the mountains for two months now—I wasn’t prepared for how different some things are when you live at an altitude of 7,000 feet. I’ve lived at or near sea level my entire life up until now, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

It’s difficult to breathe. Really difficult. We noticed it our first day up here. You get winded fast because there is less oxygen at this elevation. We’ve been told it takes about 3 months for your lungs to adjust. At 2 months in, we still aren’t adjusted. I’m really hoping in a month we will be.

Cooking and baking take forever. Some things take twice as long to cook—especially stuff on the grill. I really wasn’t prepared for this one. Water boils at a lower temperature, so when I’m steaming vegetables, all of the water boils out of the pan sooner and I have to add more. You have to make adjustments when baking—bread rises faster, you have to adjust the temperature and the baking time for most things… I constantly find myself googling to find out what type of adjustments I’ll have to make. Luckily there is a lot of information available online.

It is dry. Dryer than anywhere I have lived before. Lotion has become my best friend. My sinuses have never been more messed up or uncomfortable. Hopefully the sinuses adjust the same way your lungs do. They’re a little better than they were last month, but they still have a ways to go to get back to normal.

Although there are so many adjustments to make, I don’t think I have ever enjoyed living somewhere as much as I enjoy living here. The air is crisp and clean. The scenery is amazingly beautiful. And there is a wonderful, small town feel that I have never experienced. I can’t imagine a better place to raise our children.

Life is good.

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  1. says

    we live in mt, near the mtns too. our town is near 5000 feet, mtns. are 9-10,000 ft. i grew up here so i’ve never experienced the altitude effect on my lungs, but i do notice how much energy and stamina i have when we travel at sea level. i don’t adjust for cooking or baking, but my friend who lives at 7000 says she has given up on baking :( i definitely notice the dryness, even though we are used to it. sometimes we have close to 0 humidity. allergies are worse because your sinuses are so dry (that doesn’t get better, only worse usually). the up side is little mildew and mold. i love that the air is clean and it’s not crowded. i hope it gets easier for you to breathe!

    • Chrystal says

      Hi Sasha – Thanks for stopping by! It’s my understanding that with baking, over 5,000 feet is where is gets sticky, so I’m glad to hear you don’t have to make adjustments. We’ve heard the humidity up here is usually around 10% during the winter, so it’ll be interesting to see what that’s like. I have dry skin as is, so it’s definitely something to get used to after living in Montevideo, where it is ALWAYS very humid. Having very little mold and mildew is a huge advantage – I don’t have to keep our bread and tortillas in the fridge (and they last a lot longer)! And yes, clean air is absolutely wonderful.

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