We normally reside at about 7500 feet, but even then, at above 10000 feet I notice the effects of the altitude. Cumbres Pass is over 10,000 feet in elevation. When we went on our hike, I noted several symptoms of altitude sickness in myself and immediately took steps to prevent it.
Drink lots of water
As we started out on our hike, I felt a dull headache. Dehydration happens fast at this elevation. I was not even thirsty, but with a simple pinch test (pinch the skin on the back of your hand. If it doesn’t immediately return to normal, you’re getting dehydrated.) I could tell I was definitely needing water.
Consume extra protien
I also indulged in the salty snacks and made sure I consumed some extra protein. Thus, I did not suffer any nausea or other symptoms of altitude sickness, as I did the last time we made a jaunt to the high country, in Leadville, CO.
One of the reasons for altitude sickness is the lower levels of oxygen present in the air at high elevations. Slow down and breathe deeply to help your body adjust.
Take a nap
While the guys were fishing, I drowsed in the sun, enjoying its warmth after too many months of winter.
Most people will adjust to a higher altitude within 2-3 days. When we went to Leadville, I didn’t realize I was suffering from altitude sickness until it was well underway. My headache persisted through the weekend, and nausea made me lose my appetite.
Move to a lower altitude
If all else fails, head back down to lower ground. As soon as we were back to the car and driving down the hill from Leadville, My headache began to subside. Once we got home, it was gone.
One of the best portable water filters you can get is the Life Straw. We love ours. It does take a bit of practice to get used to. You could end up very thirsty before you figure it out.
Our hike in the Cumbres gave us the perfect opportunity to practice with the life straw some more. The boy’s had disappeared, but we shared mine. Of course, Life Straw says every one should have their own personal life straw. Unfortunately, we did not find a place to get one on the way there. I like to scoop water into a cup and then suck it through the straw. The guys prefer to lay on their bellies and put the straw directly into the stream.
The trick is to fill the body of the straw, which contains the filter. Then you can start drinking. For me, this means suck up a cup of water to fill the straw, then refill my cup and drink (through the straw). After each session, blow what remains out of the straw. Also, it is a good idea to let the straw sit out for a day or so, to let it dry out completely, before you pack it away. This avoids any junky stuff growing in it – mold and such.
At about $20 each, Life Straws may seem a bit pricey, but when you consider that one straw will filter approximately 264 gallons, one straw will last quite awhile. We even bring ours with us when we know we will be at the mercy of city water. Life straw filters out most of the bad stuff – bacteria and protozoa, but not viruses, chemicals or heavy metals. However, the company does offer the Life Straw Steel, for $55, which will filter those things as well. Click on the links to read all the technical mumbo jumbo.
We love our Life Straws and they suit our needs. We bought them directly from the company, but there are numerous places to get them, now. Nope, we didn’t get paid for this, and I don’t have my Amazon affiliate links live, but if you want, you can make a donation to our “Movie Night Fund” at right.
We took the rv for a test drive to Creekside City Park, Sisters, OR after it came back from having the transmission repaired. We wanted to give it a good distance test with some mountain climbing. It did just great and we had a nice day trip.
We meandered through the mountains and stopped here for a bit of exploring. At Sisters, we found Creekside City Park, where we pulled in for lunch. There is also a campground there. Creekside is nice and green (like most of Oregon) and has lots of shady trees. There are picnic tables but no barbeques and there seems to be a lack of trash cans. I ended up putting our trash in the dumpsters, inconveniently fenced off. At least they had doggie doo bags and scoopers. Of course, Mrs. Susie was on her own doggie dude ranch vacation back in Colorado.
From the picnic area you cross the covered bridge to get to the bathrooms in the camping area. The bridge is an impressive work of art, sturdily built and beautiful to look at. We trekked down to the creek and dipped our toes. I found it very relaxing to close my eyes and listen to the gentle burble of the stream which seemed to wash away all my cares. Wanting to share this experience with my companions, I dragged them down to the creek and made them sit and listen with closed eyes, also. They giggled and squirmed and didn’t get it. I guess you just have to mentally be in a certain place to appreciate it. I tried.
At a stretch stop on the way back to Portland, we found this pretty critter stuck to our front grill. He was still barely alive when we peeled him off, but didn’t survive long.
We left Portland for a weekend in Astoria and decided to take the coastal route. Our first night was spent at the Big Spruce RV Park in Netarts Bay. This is definitely worth a return trip. The park is small, but quiet (at least when we were there) and we took a pull through spot near the entrance. Right across the street was the marina, so we walked over and enjoyed some climbing around on the boulders. There were lots of empty crab shells and a pair of seagulls seemed to enjoy watching the few people from their roost on a log.
The sights and sounds of the bay were soothing, as the ocean usually is to me, and we walked up the beach, past beachfront homes and back down to the water. A handy piece of driftwood made for convenient seating for abuelo and some of our party continued even farther up the beach, hoping to see some whales. No such luck, but they did get a tip for whale viewing the following morning.
In spite of being well stocked with provisions in the rv, we couldn’t resist the lure of The Schooner. The covered and wind screened patio offers spectacular views of the bay and the gas fire pit in the center of the table gave us all the atmosphere we required. Fresh caught clam chowder provided the perfect meal to end the day, and relaxing in front of the fire with warm drinks, taking in the sunset over the bay, we barely made it back to camp in time to drift off to sleep.
In the morning, we checked out and drove into town to find the recommended spot for whale watching. Though we were there with plenty of time to spare, the whales did not indulge us, so we continued on up the coast, stopping briefly at Neahkahnie to stretch our legs and observe distant seals diving and swimming in the waters below. A caterpillar was rescued from the sidewalk and deposited on a branch.
Our lunch stop was at Cullaby Lake. The park has nice trails, an old log cabin (unfortunately not open when we were there) and a nice children’s playground.
We drove through Astoria, but having already visited the famous column on a previous trip, we decided the rest of the town was too busy for the relaxation we craved, and we drove back to Fort Stevens State Park, where we grabbed a great campsite for a few nights.
We are on our way to Oregon, taking our 90 year old grandpa to see his old haunts and several of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. And to get out of the house. And the cold. Since we are in the RV this time, we not only have 2 big “house” batteries to give us lights, hot water, and water pump, we also have the solar panels and batteries connected to a big inverter, to charge our gadgets and run the occasional AC appliance, like a heater (our central heater’s motor keeps going out). Luckily, the weather has been warming up as we go, so we are needing the heat less and less.
Outside Moad, Utah
Our first night out, we camped totally off-grid, outside Moab, Utah. The scenery was breathtaking, the parking area quiet despite 4 other rigs parked there. The porta-potties still spotless. After a comfortable nights rest in real beds, we started the morning with coffee, admiring the sunrise streaming through our front windows and taking the chill off from the 45 degree night. After breakfast we took a walk in a dry wash, keeping an eye out for snakes. We saw a few trails, but no slithering creatures, which was good, as we were wearing sandals.
Having refreshed ourselves with colorful scenery and an invigorating walk, we continued down the road. We made a lunch stop at the Great Salt Lake and soaked our feet in the salty water. I had hoped to walk on water, but it was not to be. Abuelo enjoyed having Yak and Auntie push him on his walker. He told some stories about his travels through this area with Auntie and Dad’s mother, early in their marriage. Yak completed the Junior Ranger program and received his badge. We continued on towards the Idaho Border and a less exciting boondocking experience. Even so, we were away from traffic and the noise of big rigs parking for rest periods. We had our coffee and breakfast and stretched our legs. Then on to Oregon.
Great Salt Lake Marina, State Park, Utah
Driving through Idaho was very relaxing. Little traffic, lots of well-tended farms and interesting looking outbuildings in varying degrees of disrepair. It was hard to capture the heartwarming charm of it all as we were driving by. We crossed the Oregon border before nightfall, still quite a ways from our destination. The Oregon Trails West RV Park provided us with full hookups for $27 with our AAA discount. The showers were hot and clean, the park has lots of green grass, tall, shady trees, picnic tables, dog runs, tent spots and full laundry. The office smelled good! Maybe a vanilla candle or some other nice air freshener, along with snacks, fresh hot coffee and limited RV supplies. We were also able to fill up with gas and propane on site.
View from Trails West RV Park, Baker City, Oregon
Morning coffee preceded hot showers and a hot breakfast with a spectacular view of snow capped peaks. Little did we suspect that we were going to need this leisurely morning to fortify us for the long day ahead but more about that in my next post.