02.12.2016 - 05.12.2016 -5 °C
When my friend Susan Beckman invited me to visit her in Aspen I jumped at the chance. Her apartment, very close to the gondola and ski lifts on Aspen Mountain is about 8,200 feet above sea level so she strongly suggested I see my doctor before coming. But having hiked in the Alps many years ago I ignored her recommendation and paid the price. Here is a description of Acute Mountain Sickness (Altitude Sickness):
"Acute mountain sickness (AMS) can occur above 2,400 metres (8,000 feet), although in some people it can also present at lower elevations. Altitude sickness affects about 40% of people to some degree at a moderate altitude (about 10,000 feet). Symptoms may become evident about 6 hours after ascent, but sometimes as quickly as one hour. Headache is the most common altitude sickness symptom, which will occur in the presence of other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, increased heart rate, and insomnia. Exertion such as hiking, skiing or snowboarding aggravates the symptoms".
I arrived on Friday, didn't feel too bad Saturday but couldn't even go out Sunday. While I didn't have insomnia my heart was skipping beats and I had trouble breathing. On Monday I felt some better and flew home. Once inside the pressurized aircraft I could breathe easier and my heartrate settled down. Now five days later I am almost back to normal but had an electrocardiogram and chest exray as soon as I got home. So let this be a warning and see your doctor before travelling to a high altitude. There are medications to alleviate the condition. The former astronaut Buzz Aldrin.....who is my age.....just had to be air-lifted from the South Pole where he also had AMS.
Aspen is a former silver mining town which was settled over one hundred years ago. So while a skiing town now it has an interesting history, is a simply lovely place surrounded by mountains with the Roaring Fork River( a tributary of the Colorado) flowing through it.
Town Centre about five minutes walk away from the apartment
A park on the Roaring Fork River honouring John Denver