Our first full day at Rocky Mountain National Park, hereafter referred to as RMNP, was a wonderful day of exploration, culminating at the Alpine Visitors Center, high up in elevation, over 11,500 feet in elevation.
This was a really great center and the "heartbeat" of the park, for the main reason that if you aren't careful, you can really feel the effects of "Acute Mountain Sickness" or high altitude sickness. Going from zero degrees in elevation to over 5,280 feet and higher very suddenly, like taking a flight into a high elevation destination, can cause some people, even very fit ones to have problems, if you overdo it. The owner of our condo told us about his nephew, a VERY fit young man, who came to town for a visit, and thought he was going to jump into the fitness craze of hiking and biking with no problems, and ended up in the hospital emergency room because he got VERY sick. Symptoms are a result of not enough oxygen getting into the lungs at high altitudes and moving from a low altitude to a high one very quickly, usually over 8,000 feet. Symptoms of the condition may range from mild to severe, and do not always occur immediately — in some cases, symptoms may not begin until you have been at a high altitude for more than 24 hours. Here are some common symptoms of altitude sickness and some steps you can take to prevent them: In most people, altitude sickness symptoms are usually mild and include--headaches which begin between 2-12 hours after reaching high altitude, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea and vomiting, disinterest in eating, trouble falling or staying asleep, coughing and persistent fatigue or weakness. Most cases will improve during this time, but it may help if you:
- don't exercise
- drink plenty of fluids (but not alcohol)
- don't smoke
- rest until you feel better
- descend to a lower altitude if possible
|courtesy of the internet|
The mountains and their majesty were just breathtaking...literally! We have never seen mountains this high, nor experienced RMNP ever before. We definitely plan to come back next summer. But we will ease ourselves into the altitude change a little more gently next time.
To come---tales from Breckenridge, a wonderful little town...Bye for now....