Monday, October 23, 2006

Altitude Sickness

Some of my misspent youth was spent traipsing through the Sierra Nevada mountains with 30 pounds strapped to my back. For those of you not familiar with them, the Sierra Nevadas are the range of mountains that run up the east side of California. These are the same mountains that contain Yosemite National Park and Mt Whitney, which at 14,494 feet, is the tallest mountain in the continental US.

I lived in the LA area at the time and my buddies and I made many trips up Hywy 395, which runs through the Owens Valley up the east side of the Sierras. The Owens Valley used to contain the giant Owens lake until LA watered it’s many orchards and flushed it’s many toilets and now Owens Lake is gone. ~sniff~

Anyway, we’d drive up Owens Valley past little towns with names like Lone Pine & Lee Vining until we found a trail head. Then we’d backpack up in to the mountains for 4 or 5 days. It is just unbelievably beautiful country. There are year round glaciers, and ice cold streams dotted with tiny alpine lakes.

Sometimes we would go on long, grueling hikes over several mountain passes and other times we would make base-camp at one of the lakes, which we almost always had to ourselves for the week, and then take day hikes to other areas and higher elevations. The highest I ever hiked was to 12,100 feet. At that elevation you are above the tree-line and nothing really grows there except lichen and moss, and there is very little of that. It’s sort of looks like a boulder filled moonscape.

Being that we came from what was essentially sea level, it would take a day or so to get acclimated to the thin air. The first day was always the worst. I can remember getting to camp after the first days hike in and just feeling like crap. My body would be in a state of shock from the strenuous hiking and the thin air. That’s sort of what I felt like this morning. Either the porch roof is higher than I thought and I got altitude sickness, or I just worked too hard on Sunday.

I didn’t sleep well last night either because my shoulder and wrist hurt from all the scraping and painting. I woke up this morning feeling very sluggish and groggy. Sort of like I was hung over. It was one more reminder that I’m not 20 years old anymore.

By the time I got off work I was feeling a little better. The first half hour on the roof was kind of unsteady, but after a while I started feeling better. The best part is I finished painting the west side of the second story. Tomorrow I’ll do a little touch-up here and there, and reinstall the gutter, and that baby will be done!

What a difference 3 days makes.


StuccoHouse said...

It's looking very nice!!

jm@houseinprogress said...

Greg, you're coming to my house next? Right? Right? (Oh, please please please please...)

It looks amazing.

K said...

Wow wow wow wow wow! The trim really pops now!

K said...

Oh, and I forgot to say I liked your hiking story, too. Almost made me want to go hiking. Almost.

Greg said...

Greg, you're coming to my house next? Right? Right? (Oh, please please please please...)

How's Thursday at 10:30 sound? Does that work for you?