On the final day of the hut extravaganza I awoke with a splitting headache and a side of nausea. No fancy breakfast frittata for me! (Thanks anyway, Min.) Could it be the boxed wine? Perhaps. But I am more inclined to believe that I got an itty bitty tiny touch of altitude sickness. According to Google Health the symptoms for Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) are:
- Difficulty sleeping - Check.
- Dizziness or light-headedness - Check.
- Fatigue - Check.
- Headache - Double check!
- Loss of appetite - Check.
- Nausea or vomiting - Check.
- Rapid pulse (heart rate) - Didn't notice.
- Shortness of breath with exertion - Check.
Yep. I hutted it up for 36 hours at over 11,000' and got AMS. I guess I'm not as hard core as I thought. Or maybe it just comes with the territory of being a sea level girl. I've spent plenty of time in altitude in the past, and have only felt ill once...and I blame myself for being super dehydrated from the get go.
The chance of getting acute mountain sickness increases the faster a person climbs to a high altitude. How severe the symptoms are also depends on this factor, as well as how hard the person pushes (exerts) himself or herself. People who normally live at or near sea level are more prone to acute mountain sickness.
The views from my sick bed.
Fortunately I just downed a bunch of ibuprofen and rallied to help pack up the hut and then to hike on out of there in a mere hour and a half. (We're rad.) Going down is a lot easier than going up, especially after you've consumed most of the food and drink that you originally carried in.
Goodbye hut deck.
Goodbye hut yard and hut vistas.
Goodbye hut stairs that I almost fell down when they turned to ice after the sun went down.
Goodbye lost shoe that we hiked past on the way in.
Coming up next: Scenes at sea level.