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Old 07-25-2015, 10:22 AM   #57
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Here is my observation. The human body is an amazing thing. It can adapt to a wide variety of environmental conditions. With that said, the human body is a very fragile thing. Health, age, habitus all factor in. Asthma, COPD, Sickle Cell disease, smokers, drinkers, sedentary will not adapt as quickly and could be at risk for injury.
The body works as a system, each dependent upon the other to work as it was designed.
Some people, (like me) have high side CBC values, Hemoglobin, Hemoglobin Concentration, Mean Corpuscular Volume etc are at the high value of lab reference. Am I genetically superior? No. That's the way God made me. My blood can carry O2 and remove Co2 a bit more efficiently. I still huff and puff and get a headache. A couple weeks of easy living at the assigned altitude and I'm good to go.
Again, the CBC values will change over time at altitude, as an indicator of the body's adaptive response. Age, Health and Habitus can be the limiting factors. And of course, watch out for Kryptonite.

Hydration is key. If you want your water to get into your cells more efficiently, raise its pH to 7.8.
Add a small pinch of Baking Soda about the size of your pinky nail per glass. It really makes a difference.
Clayton
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:14 PM   #58
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Age also adds to the situation. We've been to Colorado three times and the affects of altitude were noticeably different in each trip. The first time is when Patty and I were in our 20's. The only thing we felt is when at the top of Pikes Peak we ran from the car to the visitors centers during a sleet/snow storm. She said she almost passed out while sitting in the bathroom, I was winded. We stayed at Grand Lake with no other issues.

Fast forward about 15 years and we camped up at Estes Park. Took our son with us and revisited Pikes Peak. This time Patty stayed in the car and didn't feel too good. We didn't stay long and once we got down a little, she felt better. I noticed myself breathing harder while walking up on top.

We move ahead another 10 years and we again camped in Estes Park. No trips up into the high places but after 4 days there, Patty started feeling bad and after a couple of more days we decided to cut things short and head for home. I didn't notice and issues but for her Estes Park was not a comfortable stay.

Needless to say now in our 60's I don't believe that we can adapt as quickly or the wear and tear of age have taken a toll. Down here in the lowlands of suburban St. Louis we sit a lowly 508 ft. I wouldn't mind trying again to head out west, but my gut tells me that Patty's limit might be the 5,000 ft altitudes if we were planning to be there no more than a week.

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Old 08-07-2015, 08:09 PM   #59
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Keep Hydrated with H20, not wine or beer

Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyCorpsman View Post
Here is my observation.
Hydration is key. If you want your water to get into your cells more efficiently, raise its pH to 7.8.
Add a small pinch of Baking Soda about the size of your pinky nail per glass. It really makes a difference.
Clayton
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When getting into the 6,000 feet to 11,000 feet elevation, I quote Clayton that "Hydration is key".

If I have not had enough water to drink in the arid higher elevations, I will feel drowsy and lack energy. Your eye lids feel like you could close them and take a nap. Your energy has been totally taken out of my system.

Lack of Hydration.... 100% of the time.

If you have a male dog. He is peeing on about everything when hydrated. You should be as well. If your urine is not getting closer to "clear" than "yellow", you can just force yourself to drink another 12 to 20 ounces more water. I try to maintain 60 ounces during the waking hours, quit by 5PM so I am not wandering in the dark to relieve myself... like your dog when they are drinking heavily after sunset.

When the humidity is low, let say under 10% and 85F... you may not even notice any sweating, but you have this "salty taste on your lips". Dehydrated!

By the time your body says "I am thirsty", you waited too long. Salty dry lips and a dry mouth are your best indicators that you should be guzzling water. Better if cool, but even warm/hot water from the plastic bottle is better than none at all.

I carry a 44 ounce plastic cup while driving, lid and straw and get the "Refill Price", usually in the 90 cents to $1 range. Fill it mostly with ICE and whatever fountain flavor you want, or get a better price just for a cup of ice and water. A 44 ounce cup packed with ice will hold 12 to 20 ounces of liquid. Each time we stop for fuel, I refill "my fuel". I do not get leg or foot cramps. I do not get the "drowsy and exhausted" feeling. Just such a simple solution, no one would believe it possible.

Two people DIED from exposure this week at a beach on the less visited East side of Lake Meade near Boulder Dam. They were found in or near their van, dead. When we left the news mentioned... from exposure. Obviously drinking water from Lake Meade was too easy a solution. IF you are in a situation of dehydration and only drinking from a small creek or pot hole, take precautions to filter the water through a cloth, ring it out and drink it. Having the "trots" for a day or two is better than dying, any day. Although the trots can test your patience and endurance.

At high elevation the humidity may be under 5%. The sun is bright and hot. The shade is cool. Your body and brain may not communicate that you are not drinking enough water. Headache. Drink. Drowsy. Drink. Dark or yellow urine. Drink.

This is not some commercial to sell you some sugar and caffeine drink. ANY kind of water without additives is best. ICE water tastes better than any concoction you can buy in colors of blue to green. If you find yourself peeing too often... you just might make it as a Boondocker!

Since you took the time to get to the end of this post. Two separate motorcycle riders died from lightening strikes on different Nevada highways this week. It goes to show you that no matter what you do to live safely... anything can happen.
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Old 08-07-2015, 09:39 PM   #60
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Dear Ray - very informative - and thank you.

Another test if you're over 55 or so - see if you can pinch the skin on your arm. If you can and it stays pinched up even momentarily, you are dehydrated. The less elastic your skin the more trouble you're in. Really elderly people can actually appear to be mentally out of it, but recover almost as soon as they're encouraged to drink water.

You are SO right that by the time you FEEL thirsty it is serious, but many people feel a bit hungry when they're actually low on water. Save a few calories too. Drink 8 oz. of water and see if the craving for food disappears.

It's rare, but you can drink too much. It's called water intoxication, and can be fatal. But common sense - spreading your consumption over time - is the best prevention. When your doctor says 8 pints a DAY that does not mean half a gallon twice a day.
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Old 08-07-2015, 11:35 PM   #61
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While in the Army I witnessed two cases of water intoxication in two very healthy and physically fit individuals - an MD that worked for me, and my XO (a triathlete). It took a couple of days to get their electrolytes back to normal.

The easy field guide is drink enough to keep your urine clear to straw colored, and eat at least two actual meals a day.

And please, no Gatoraide or other sports drinks unless you have trained with them for a long time in all climates.
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:39 AM   #62
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"Keep Hydrated with H20, not wine or beer "

That's why I moved from 5120' MSL to about 60' MSL.
I want to be able to hydrate with beer or wine.
Not to mention that I can also see the actual sea level anytime I want, so I don't have to worry about MSL



Ken
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Old 08-08-2015, 04:52 AM   #63
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Wait I just figured something out. I thought you were talking about attitude sickness, which I am guilty of. Now I see its altitude sickness. Seriously, great info that all us low landers need to know when traveling out west. Thanks
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Old 08-08-2015, 06:59 PM   #64
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Ray - thanks for the thread. Very informative & timely as I just got back from Denver this week & had altitude sickness. I didn't drink my normal 64 oz of water just because I had a long time on the plane to Denver, then I got in late & thought the headache & leg cramps were just due to a long travel day. A little trouble breathing also. The next day I mentioned my headache & was told I had altitude sickness & to start drinking more water. I finally got back to normal by end of day 2 & had a good night's sleep. After reading this thread I can't believe how much I didn't know. Any suggestions on what I should to help acclimate myself before I fly out to Denver again? Now I am a little nervous about next year's Grand Teton & Yellowstone trip.

Thanks Jane
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Old 08-08-2015, 07:27 PM   #65
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We just got back from backpacking: 4 days "warm-up" in the Sawtooths 7-9.5K ft elevation to get ready for the Teton Crest Trail, 6 days, with passes at 10.3, 10.5, 10.7 ft elevation. No problem. Must be the shrinking brain, as I celebrated my 60th in the backcountry with a fantastic view of the Grand Teton's west face.

Have Lawn Chair-Will Travel

Susan

Yes we backpack with those lawnchairs. Get lots of envious comments, saves my bad back.
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:10 PM   #66
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Become familiar with the symptoms of altitude sickness before you travel above 9000' in altitude. I have rescued more athletes because they were suffering from altitude sickness than people who are not in shape and wanted to see what lies above 10,000'.

Altitude sickness is caused by a shift in body pH. The retention of CO2 causes the body to become acidotic. It is the acidotic state that causes fluids to leak into the lungs and into the spaces around the brain and spinal cord. People who are not used to altitudes over 10,000' take many more breaths per minute than those who are fit. What happens is the folks who are out of shape also travel much slower, acclimate over a longer period of time and their frequent and rapid respiration creates a state called respiratory alkalosis. People who are fit breathe less frequently and expel less CO2 and often experience a state of respiratory acidosis.

This not a pass to avoid exercise. Everyone has a different tolerance for altitudes over 10,000'. Whether you are fit or not, learn what your tolerance is and create a plan for managing the condition and symptoms. You do not want to be at 12,000', take pain killers for your headache and go to sleep. Similarly, if your respirations are more than 18-20 per minute after sitting for 20 minutes do not crawl into your tent and go to sleep. Take the symptoms seriously and get to a much lower altitude where you can rest and reassess.

If you know you are susceptible to altitude sickness take Diamox, travel slowly, hydrate and camp at 6000', 8000' and 10,000" in the 3-5 days before you reach the 11,000' level. If you are feeling OK keep climbing. If you have symptoms, do not hesitate to ask for help. Left untreated, altitude sickness can be fatal. If your symptoms become severe or do not abate, get down to 4000' or lower immediately.
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Old 08-08-2015, 09:23 PM   #67
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Fossil Creek, Arizona: Public Indifference to National Forests

Eagle & Bear has the word to the wise. Be one of those.

Find the article Controlled Chaos written by Ron Dungan, The Republic, Valley and State, page 1F & 2F, AZCentral.com or News.Azcentral.com.

"Flowing water made Fossil Creek too popular for its own good. Now rangers are trying to save the swimmers and the stream itself."

When you read this article of the ignorance and indifference of a segment of the American public... you will understand why many Boondockers will never share a beautiful campsite's location. The lack of being prepared in the back country can and does find its victims in this long article of our nation's youth.
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Old 08-09-2015, 06:59 AM   #68
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I have read several news stories the last month or so about people hiking out into the wilderness and then being found dead.....a couple of these involving children.

Heat, dehydration, altitude sickness, whatever.....it flabbergasts me that adults would set out in heat and altitude without adequate preparation....and adequate WATER.

Also, a story this morning about a hiker in Yellowstone who appeared to have been killed, partially eaten, then cached by a grizzly bear.

But, that's another thread.

Be careful out there.


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Old 08-09-2015, 01:36 PM   #69
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I have read several news stories the last month or so about people hiking out into the wilderness and then being found dead.....a couple of these involving children.

Heat, dehydration, altitude sickness, whatever.....it flabbergasts me that adults would set out in heat and altitude without adequate preparation....and adequate WATER.

Also, a story this morning about a hiker in Yellowstone who appeared to have been killed, partially eaten, then cached by a grizzly bear.

But, that's another thread.

Be careful out there.


Maggie
The other hidden message is "Don't go out alone". That includes anywhere off road and sometimes on road.

The hiker was supposedly very experienced, but being alone can negate all of that knowledge and experience in a number of situations.

In my opinion, going out alone into known bear country even armed is fool hardy. A bear can be on you quicker then Wyatt Earp could draw. He doesn't care how much you have hydrated, you still annoy him, and he's equipped to solve that.

Ken

P.S. for those who are disturbed by gender specific pronouns in nonspecific situations, please substitute he or she for every use of he. (oh yes, and him or her for him,)
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Old 08-09-2015, 06:35 PM   #70
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Forewarned is Forearmed

Considering at least 50% of the population is prone to altitude sickness, how do you know which category you'll fall into?
Either way, this topic is an important reminder to research areas you haven't been to before ( or it's been several years since you were there).

While I wish that I would have found Ray's thread "before" I travelled to Colorado this past two weeks, the information that everyone contributed is consistent with what I learned prior to traveling: Stay hydrated, Acclimate, and Pace yourself.

We played at upper elevations (Wolf Creek Pass, Lizard Head Pass, Red Mountain Pass, Monarch Pass, Mountain Village) and stayed (camped / slept) at 8,000 ft. or less. Fortunately, we had no adverse effects but our bodies reminded us that we were no longer in our normal ( 780 ft. Elevation) environment.

The Latin expression which roughly translates to "Forewarned is Forearmed" is still very applicable, especially when traveling to unfamiliar territory.

Safe Travels Everyone

Cheers
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