Houston Area Trails & More Message Board › Rocky Mountain NP - animals, views and altitude sickness

Rocky Mountain NP - animals, views and altitude sickness

Mary
user 4860345
Bay City, TX
Post #: 19
Some things you folks might find interesting about Rocky Mountain NP and Estes Park (the nearest town):

Animal life is everywhere! We saw dozens of elk as well as moose, mule deer, marmots, a snow shoe hare, stellar jays, foxes, raven, picas, least chipmunks, broadtailed hummingbird, trout, ground squirrels, Canadian Geese, Mallards, carpenter ants, and tourists. See the pictures here: http://www.meetup.com...­

The views are awesome! Is it ever not on the Rocky Mountains?

Altitude sickness is real. We all got sick at the top of Twin Sisters (11,400 feet). Jim and Suzanne recovered as soon as we started to descend. I was a mess for the rest of the weekend. It was like having a bad two-day hangover. I definitely plan on leading another trip there next year, but the strenuous hike will be up Green Mountain in Boulder. It’ll be the same elevation gain and slope but the peak is 8,000+ feet instead of 11,000+ feet. Altitude sickness is still possible in Boulder but less likely so. We’ll have a car trip to Rocky Mountain National Park with easy walks the next day.

Estes Park is a cute, tourist town with restaurants, unique shops and pubs. Very, very cute.

There’s an REI in Westminster, which is along the way from the Denver airport to Estes Park. An REI is also in Boulder.

The lady at the Visitor Center desk said they seldom close trails at Rocky Mountain National Park even when it snows.

The elk are still in Estes Park in June; however, they head up the mountains when it gets hot. The mating season is in September, and bull elk are all over town bugling.

Twin Sisters Trail is a steep but well traveled and easy to follow trail.

There was still some snow on the trails. Not much but enough to get your boots wet.

You guys really should try to go if you haven't been. It's well worth the trip.
A former member
Post #: 14
I'm glad you guys had a wonderful trip to the Rockies. Colorado is truly a beautiful place.

I'm sorry to hear you all experienced altitude sickness. Slow acclimatization is ideal, but requires additional time. I think it hits flatlanders like Houstonians full impact since we're close to sea-level. When I climbed Pike's Peak (14,100'), I did not experience any issues other than I found it harder than usual to catch my breath and "sausage fingers" (but that was probably more of a result from carrying a grossly overweight pack). Then again, I drove up there and spent a few days in Colorado Springs before attempting to summit. Still, I have talked to people that live in Colorado about altitude sickness and they say that it even hits people occasionally that have never had any problems with it before, so go figure!

I'm glad you all had a nice time. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
A former member
Post #: 19
Hi Mary,

May I ask a little more about your altitude sickness? Did it make you feel very sick and not capable of hiking or trekking with a long distance for the rest of the trip? I wonder if there is any pill that really help and make it go away.

I am considering of joining a trekking group to Nepal - Annapurna circuit and one of the things (aside from the cold and the strength for treking in snow!) that I am worried about is altitude sickness. I read some articles about it but it would be much better to get a chance to ask someone whe did have this experience for real! So I would like to take this opportunity to interview you a bit more, hope you do not mind.

Thank you for sharing the detail of your trip - Rocky Mountain is on my 'must go before I die' list! Hopefully I will make it one day :-D
Mary
user 4860345
Bay City, TX
Post #: 20
Hi JuTaTip,

Yes, for me altitude sickness was completely incapacitating. The next day, I had trouble walking even at a normal pace without feeling sick and breathless. I should point out, though, I'm one of those people that get physical exertion sickness after a tough hike, so the two may have been exacerbating each other. For Suzanne, it looked incapacitating only when we were at the top of Twin Sisters (11,000+ feet); and for Jim, it was more of feeling a little woozy also while at the top of Twin Sisters.

From what I read, it's not dangerous in and of itself below 14,000+ (for people of normal health), but I can see how it can create a dangerous situation while hiking. You can experience dizziness, loss of appetite, and increased urination, which can create a tripping hazard, bonking (extreme loss of energy and stamina), and dehydration.

One source said spend 24 hour acclimating, but everyone there and Lone Star above said you need at least three days. Also, drink a lot of water (you probably read that).

Hope this helps,
Mary
Mary
user 4860345
Bay City, TX
Post #: 21
Hi Lone Star,

Yeah, that's why I kept it as a day trip on a well traveled trail instead of a backpacking trip. I just wanted to make sure I understood what all the issues were. Rocky Mountain NP isn't for wimps, that's for sure.

Mary
A former member
Post #: 20
Mary, thank you for your quick response. It definitely helps me understand more of altitude sickness symptoms :-) Information from Lone Star is useful as well, thanks for sharing.

One source I read, it is recommended to spend the night at 10,000 ft of elevation and then at each level of 500 ft elevation gain, you should have one night of sleep. Also eating a diet high in carbohydrates help maintain blood sugar levels.
A former member
Post #: 15
Hi JuTaTip,

I talked to a person that has hiked in Nepal twice. She ran into issues with leeches and Hepatitus E, so pack appropriately and take the necessary precautions. Also, the weather (rain) can get bad, especially during certain times of the year, adding to a lot of challenges, including stream crossings. Be sure you have a good guide.

Joe
A former member
Post #: 21
Hi Joe,

Thank you very much for the additional info. I am not a big fan of leeches, pretty much anything crawling on me freaks me out! Fortunately the trip I am considering of going is in November, so will need to be prepared for the cold if I decide to go. The organizer of this trip did hike/trek in this area before and I believe his guides and porters knew the trails pretty well.

Mary
user 4860345
Bay City, TX
Post #: 22
Mary, thank you for your quick response. It definitely helps me understand more of altitude sickness symptoms :-) Information from Lone Star is useful as well, thanks for sharing.

One source I read, it is recommended to spend the night at 10,000 ft of elevation and then at each level of 500 ft elevation gain, you should have one night of sleep. Also eating a diet high in carbohydrates help maintain blood sugar levels.
You're trip sounds very exciting. Send us pictures!
A former member
Post #: 17
JuTaTip,

Have a wonderful trip! Leeches aren't fun, but you can see them and pull them off. Be careful to avoid Hep E. It made this person I know very ill (high fever) and almost ended her trip. If boiling water is not possible, I would recommend you take a Steripen (and extra batteries) as a precaution to purify your drinking water of viruses, but if you're consuming food (e.g., fresh vegetables) prepared locally in the small villages where livestock is present, you could still be at risk. Google "Hepatitis E" so you know how to avoid getting it and what to do in case you do.

Joe
Powered by mvnForum

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy