Friday, July 9, 2010

Abundant sunshine

What a day we had yesterday! Another day of cloudless skies, and record high temperatures set all over the state of Washington. Nine Senior Trailblazers went up the Goat Mountain trail, after having found out on Tuesday that we should be able to get to the meadow, if not all the way to the summit, before being turned back by snow. The picture above shows yet another view of Mt. Shuksan, quite a different vantage point than on Tuesday's hike.
I also found out that I am not invincible, or even as young as I used to be! This picture shows Al on the snow-covered last few hundred feet up to our destination. As we were trekking up this part, I noticed that I was slowing down, feeling awful, and getting rather nauseous. The brilliant sunshine was reflecting back onto me from the snow, and sweat was just pouring out of me. I doggedly put one foot in front of the other and finally made it to the meadow.

Once we had reached our destination, a rock outcropping, it was time for lunch and we had covered almost four miles and gone up 2,700 feet of elevation. As people began to pull out their lunches and seat cushions, I drank more water and tried to pull myself together. I knew I wasn't myself when I didn't even care to take any pictures. I figured resting would help, and it did, but when I pulled out my lunch I could not eat it, I was feeling so sick. Basically I kept this to myself and snapped a few pictures. It was so beautiful up there!
This is a mountain I don't see very often, I believe it's named Seifert, with Ward gazing around at the view (click to enlarge). After Fred and Mike took off for the actual summit of Goat Mountain, we agreed that we would stay and wait for them until 1:00pm, when we would all head back down the trail. Since the rest of the hike would be downhill, I figured I'd be just fine. But it was not to be: once we began down, I knew I wasn't feeling well at all and could not figure out what to do. Several people thought I might be dehydrated, although I was forcing water even though I wasn't thirsty.

When we stopped about halfway, I confessed to everyone how bad I was feeling, and Mike generously offered to carry my pack (along with his own!), which I gratefully accepted. Fred commented that I looked pale and kept a close eye on me. Still pouring in water, and now without my backpack, I began to feel a little better. Once we got back to the cars and I was in air-conditioned comfort in the back seat, I felt almost normal.

The first thing I did when I got home was take a shower, and then collapsed with the book I'm reading. This morning I went to the gym for my regular workout and realized that I was weak as a kitten and still have little appetite. When I got home, I looked for my symptoms on line and found this:
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment.
Aha! The symptoms include heavy sweating, nausea, paleness, and tiredness. I think that this hike in full sun, so soon after Tuesday's, contributed to my condition. Now, a day later, I am feeling quite normal, although still a little weak, but I just finished a light lunch and am beginning to get my appetite back. I really don't like to think about myself as "elderly," but I guess I am, at 67; I take high blood pressure medication; and I had finished two strenuous hikes in three days in a hot environment.

So, before my blogging buddies tell me to slow down, I hear you! I will be more careful from now on, and I won't push myself so hard. I am willing to admit when I'm wrong, at least sometimes. Believe me, I won't soon forget that experience!
:-)

17 comments:

  1. Hiking sounds more strenuous than I had previously thought. The altitude and temperature ranges seem to be challenging. Do you hike established trails or set new trails? I don't like to think of myself as old either and probably push myself without consideration for the liquid balance necessity.

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  2. SNOW! Today it's int the 90s here. The snow looks good, the hike sounds like fun - but strenuous!

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  3. Glad you're okay....hope the hike was worth it. The heat just seems to have sprung up on us. It's been so hot here that I've been reluctant to do many of my outdoor activities. But still plugging along just at a slower pace. I think that's what mother nature intended when she turned up the heat! giggles!

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  4. I am so glad to know you are okay. Heat exhaustion sounds simple, but it can be very serious. Take it easy now. We need you healthy and active around here.

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  5. After several incidents in my younger days - yes it can happen to young people too- I am prone to heat exhaustion and really can't work or exercise in full sunlight when the temp gets over 75. The last few days I have walked in the early morning or after sundown, and have otherwise been quite sedentary. Be careful.

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  6. breathtaking scenery ~ this is so beautiful!

    i gave you one of my Goddess Awards today, come by anytime!

    hope you are well rested now!

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  7. Truly wonderful. One would think you are in the Swiss Alps. Always fascinating to read about your latest adventures.

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  8. I am proud of your for recognizing the symptoms and being willing to make the necessary changes. I think heat affects everyone, regardless of age. The good thing is there aren't many of those kind of days in the Pacific Northwest.

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  9. Wow! That can be so dangerous!

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  10. Visiting for the first time from the Goddess.

    Loved the photos and glad to know you are OK.

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  11. There is nothing worse than feeling like that on a hike when you know they only way out is to walk! I'm glad you are feeling better. Hiking in the full sun at high altitudes is not much fun, in my opinion.

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  12. I am so relieved that you have recovered, Jan. Yes, I believe everything should be done in moderation. You now know your limitations so be aware of them.

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  13. Too much in two days. You have to slow down D-Jan. You don't want to be stuck on top of a mountain like that, do you. Listen to me! I've felt like that and I know exactly what it is like. I had to watch out for that in Tennessee almost every day and drank about three times more than Larry to keep my fluids right. He, being used to the heat, drank so much less, it was comical. Now I am back in the U.K. I feel so much better and more normal.
    Glad you're coming out of it. Take care.
    Blessings, Star

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  14. How I have SO missed your photos while my internet was down!

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  15. Well, it's hard to chastise you when you say it all for us! I'm glad you're feeling better. I imagine it could have been worse if you weren't in such good shape to start with.

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  16. So glad you are feeling better..heat exhaustion can sneak up on you..and dehydration can come out of nowhere for those of a certain age (Sorry). Once you have been dehydrated.. you recognize the symptoms easier. Perhaps you need something like Gatoraid or one of those fancy power drinks before warm day hikes..the sweat pouring off you probably triggered it. I find that I need lots more water than some people..especially if it is warm:)

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  17. It must be hard for you to slow down and maybe not go on every hikes, but you need to take care of yourself. I am pleased that you are fine and I can understand how wonderful it must be to walk in such splendor and not wanting to miss any hike.

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