The transition back to Joshua Tree from a wetter climate can be rough. For me, the worst was returning in December 2000 after a year on Maui. It was so cold and dry it felt like I was living on the moon. It took a couple weeks to acclimate.
I just spent 10 weeks traveling and camping for Not Back to School Camp, almost all in wet areas. The last few weeks were in Vermont, with humidity hovering around 99%. The damp started to get to me. And the cold, and the rain. It was really nice in a lot of ways–I love the staff and campers at NBTSC like crazy, and the fall foliage was spectacular when the sun would occasionally break through the clouds–but I was definitely looking forward to my dry, sunny, warm home.
Now that I’m here, I remember that it can take a while before dry, sunny, and warm seems as pleasant as it sounds. My skin feels dry. My lips and mucous membranes feel dry. It’s hard to keep hydrated. The sunlight seems harsh and temperatures I normally call warm, like 85F, feel unpleasantly hot. I’m no longer used to sweating. I notice the dust more, too.
I know I’ll feel better in a few days, and mostly it is just a matter of waiting it out. There are some things that can help, though:
1) Drive or take overland transport of some sort. (Reanna suggests walking to really slow things down.) Flying makes the transition more abrupt and uncomfortable.
2) Use a humidifier for a while, especially at night.
3) Drink more water than is comfortable. Remember that you are exhaling water vapor each time you breathe.
4) Cover up in the sun. Lily-white skin burns quickly
5) Take it easy for a while. Rest it out.
[First published on Nathen’s Miraculous Escape, October 11, 2012.]