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Re: [at-l] Speaking of altitude.......

Whenever I fly from Raleigh, NC (elevation 300 ft. ) to Colorado (lots more
than 300!) for hiking, here's what I do and look for:

The very first opportunity you have, go to the highest ground you can by
riding. When I'm bound for Rocky Mtn NP, I drive up to the Alpine Visitor
Center on Trail Ridge Road.  There, I just walk around and breathe.  There's
a short path behind the center that goes up another 100 feet or so. You'll
feel the difference in the altitude merely by walking: head light, legs
heavy, wind is razor sharp to breathe because of less east-coast humidity.

I allow a day or so for each 1500 feet I am above the 6000 foot mark, which
means in about 3-4 days I feel ready to hike up to the 12,000 ft level or

I purchase a saline solution nasal spray from a drugstore out
there....spontaneous nosebleeds can surprise/scare you!  The saline solution
seems to help that.

I eat more fish / pasta than chicken (and red meat certainly) because
digestion slows a bit at altitude.

I curtail caffeine and alcohol for the duration....one cup of coffee after
dinner can keep me up all night and make me feel more tired than I already
do....likewise, one beer/glass of wine can really put me out.

I watch for all sorts of nuances in my mood, because my responses to high
altitude are unpredictable.  Sometimes anything above 10,000 feet makes me
*real* sleepy....sometimes when hiking between 12,000 - 14,000 I just
experience the feeling as moderate fatigue.  I was hiking once with a woman
who, long about 11,000 feet started sobbing uncontrollably....she got over
it after taking an extended rest break...and then coudln't explain exactly
what upset her. But she was fine after that.

Hope this helps,


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