Aug 23, 2016 at 3:39 pm #3422073
Last month, a friend and I did a brief foray along the initial section of the SHR, following it from Road’s End to Upper Basin. In Upper Basin, we intersected the JMT/PCT, and followed that south, returning to Road’s End via the Wood’s Creek Trail through Paradise Valley. We were out for two nights.
I’m not brave enough to try to type the entire report into BPL’s new forum software, so links to a pdf and photos will follow in subsequent editable posts.
As is usual for my trip reports, the ratio of valuable information to words typed is absolutely miniscule.Aug 23, 2016 at 3:39 pm #3422074
Link to pdf of trip report: https://ontheswitchbacks.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/off-the-ribbon1.pdf
A few teasers:
Intrepid adventurers, appearing together thanks to Photoshop.
Sanctity near Gray Pass
Serenity above the South Fork Cartridge Creek
Lake Marion – a true Sierra treasure
The obligatory and ominous view south of Frozen Lake Pass
Sunset atop Pinchot PassAug 23, 2016 at 10:34 pm #3422203Garrett McLartyBPL Member
@gmacLocale: New England, PNW, Northern India
Awesome trip report. Just curious, in the pdf, you have a map of your trip. What maps software did you use to make it? Is that google earth with a USGS overlay?
Thanks for taking the time to write up a report.
GarrettAug 24, 2016 at 12:37 pm #3422322
Well, I was going to go into the topic of how I generated the map, and went searching for a BPL post I had written a few months ago on the topic to reference. I found it, and when I did, discovered that there were a number of responses that I never noticed, including some from you!
For posterity, that thread is here: https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/eye-candy-for-the-map-nerd/
The map in the report was generated in the same way—import USGS elevation data into Blender as a mesh, and overlay the maps of choice as a texture on top of that mesh. Apply suitable lighting, maybe a specular map for water, and in this case, put a bazillion pins in and string some yarn-like-stuff through it to denote the route. Render, and voila! In this case, I used older USGS maps as the textures, from 1900 to 1950.
A slightly more dramatic and aesthetic version is here (click to view the full thing):
Thanks for reading the TR!Aug 24, 2016 at 8:22 pm #3422415ben .BPL Member
i read the whole thing! so good. i’m headed for the sierra next week and this whets the appetite. :)Aug 26, 2016 at 1:08 am #3422651Ito JakuchuBPL Member
I’m planning for the Japanese Alps and even then it wets the appetite.Aug 26, 2016 at 7:16 am #3422679ben .BPL Member
this is about 1 million degrees off the original topic, but: seeing you write ‘wets the appetite’ made realize that i had no idea why i wrote ‘whets the appetite.’
english is so weird:Aug 27, 2016 at 4:22 pm #3422997Laura RBPL Member
That was an extremely fantastic trip report. For now at least, I’m classifying you as an internet ghost worth listening to. But: what is an altitude club??Aug 27, 2016 at 9:51 pm #3423066jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
Terrific trail report! You got a lot of verbal style. And great job route finding; I’m terrible at that and always get nervous when I’m off trail. So interesting comment that you make about how one can appreciate the landscape more easily when hiking on trail because you don’t have to think about your route. There’s no way I could ever match or come close to you guys’ mileage, even in my salad days; you really knocked ’em out. Off trail hiking is tiring!
I take it that your lung condition resolved when you got back home. At the risk of sounding like a scold, maybe you did a tad too much before acclimating and it resulted in your ailment–and your friend’s blisters, and even your wrecked shoes? But I understand your responsibilities and time constraints. Now that I’m old and wise I bow to reality and plan itineraries under these constraints that don’t result in epic exhaustion. But you were ready to go back two days later! Maybe find a way to take five days next time. Nothing wrong with enjoying yourself as much as the day hikers, after all.Aug 27, 2016 at 10:13 pm #3423070idesterBPL Member
@doug-iLocale: The Cascades
Love reading your writing Adam. Thanks for sharing.Aug 28, 2016 at 9:53 am #3423120Aimee MBPL Member
Very enjoyable reading, thank you for posting. I was supposed to do the first half of the SHR last month with a friend, but things. Anyhow, at least I can live vicariously through you.
P.S.– if you haven’t tried Picardin (as a mosquito repellent), look into it. It is not a neurotoxin, it is a derivative of black pepper. Sawyer makes a lotion (which I’ve used with fantastic results, it’s A MIRACLE, I TELL YOU, A MIRACLE) and a spray. The lotion leaves no scent and no feel– seems to last for hours.Aug 28, 2016 at 12:13 pm #3423149
Thanks all for the positive feedback! I’m an engineer by trade, and the years of writing nothing but soulless requirements documents and TPS reports led to some serious right-hemisphere atrophy… Writing trip reports are good exercises to combat that, I hope.
I take it that your lung condition resolved when you got back home. At the risk of sounding like a scold, maybe you did a tad too much before acclimating and it resulted in your ailment–and your friend’s blisters, and even your wrecked shoes? But I understand your responsibilities and time constraints. Now that I’m old and wise I bow to reality and plan itineraries under these constraints that don’t result in epic exhaustion. But you were ready to go back two days later! Maybe find a way to take five days next time. Nothing wrong with enjoying yourself as much as the day hikers, after all.
Well, there’s a few sides to all that, I think.
First, for context, the lung thing hasn’t totally been resolved yet. A few days after I got back it was much better, but a short run the following weekend caused it to reappear, albeit in a significantly reduced degree. Still, some sense of responsibility to those around me led me to go see my doctor. He did an EKG and it came back slightly abnormal, so I went to see a cardiologist. The cardiologist did another EKG, and diagnosed me with pleurisy. Essentially, it’s inflammation of the tissues around your lungs (and heart). It’s typically viral or bacterial in nature, but it can be exacerbated by exercise. So, perhaps that’s what it was—with a child in daycare, I’m always somewhat of a petry dish—and maybe hiking at altitude just brought out the symptoms.
The cardiologist said it’s typically “self limiting”, and said that so long as I felt fine, go ahead and go hiking again in August, when my next trip was planned. There was little risk of catastraphe or long-term damage, so long as I was “smart about it”.
I took it easy for a week or so, and then started exercising again. No symptoms presented themselves until about five weeks after the first trip. This time, there was a fair amount of discomfort around my heart, but nothing in my lungs. It wasn’t directly following any significant exertion. It was also accompanied by a minor cold. This was two days before my next trip, so I cancelled that trip. A phone call to the cardiologist didn’t change anything—I had scheduled a doppler cardiogram for early September, and we’re sticking with that. Take ibuprofen for pain, and wait and see.
So, all that said, I think there are two issues here: there’s the lung stuff, and the foot stuff.
I blame the foot stuff on being outside of our comfort zone. We hadn’t done extensive off-trail travel before (heck, this was Andy’s third time backpacking), and our feet weren’t prepared for the extensive lateral forces and frictions that come with miles along pleasant (but tilted) granite slabs, and never-ever-quite-flat talus. It wasn’t a deal-braker, and there was a little pain, but so it goes—no worse than the blisters and footwear issues that many backpackers, hikers, runners, etc deal wth.
But the lung stuff is different. My initial guess on the lung stuff was exactly what you suggested—just too much. I was suspicious of the Diamox, because this was the first time I’d ever used Diamox, and it wasn’t the first time I did a hike of this aerobic nature (this was not an envelope-pushing trip for me in terms of distance or climbing). The slower pace was owed largely to having a companion. If I were alone, I’m sure I would’ve gone faster and farther (and worried a whole bunch more about the chest stuff when it would have undoubtedly appeared—I thought about doing this route solo, and am extremely pleased that I didn’t talk myself into it).
However, after all the follow-on described above, I suspect the lung stuff might not be owed completely and solely to exertion at altitude, and might be coupled with something underlying.
Still, our bodies are complex and dynamic, and mine isn’t getting any younger, either. I try not to be too arrogant about what my body *should* be able to do. Did I do too much? I did a lot, but I often do a lot. I might never know if it was too much. Maybe it was too much for that day. Or maybe I would’ve felt the same if I had sat on the couch all day, farting and eating potato chips. Hopefully it was a one-off thing, and hopefully there’s nothing significant that’s underlying.
We can always go slower, and we can always be more cautious about altitude. If I were to slow the trip down to five days, I’d undoubtedly add a handful of peaks to the itinerary or nearby areas to explore—I’m just not wired to sit still. At the end, that itinerary would end up being just as physically demanding. Should I learn how to sit still? Maybe. Definitely, if my lungs/heart demand it.
Ultimately I decided that the only thing I can do is to try to get out again, and see how it goes. So, right after I have the cardiogram and subsequent consult, I have another trip scheduled that’s of a similar nature to this one. A little bit lower in elevation; but not by much. I’ll be able to spend one night at 7,000 – 8,000 feet before starting, which should allow me to avoid using Diamox. I think the chances are reasonable that I’ll have to abort that one due to all this chest stuff, but I need something to be optimistic about.Aug 28, 2016 at 12:20 pm #3423154
Thanks for the suggestion on Picardin. I had always assumed that anything that wasn’t DEET might work or might not work, but DEET definitely works. Some cursory Googling suggests Picardin might be just as effective as DEET–and anecdotes like yours certainly add confidence.
Also, I’m glad you can live vicariously through me! I haven’t been out since this trip, so I’m living vicariously through past-me (and through others’ trip reports), too. On the bright side, less blisters that way, you know.Aug 28, 2016 at 1:49 pm #3423177idesterBPL Member
@doug-iLocale: The Cascades
“The cardiologist did another EKG, and diagnosed me with pleurisy. Essentially, it’s inflammation of the tissues around your lungs (and heart).”
We’re all different, of course, but I had pleurisy once, a number of years ago. Not fun, but it was treated, went away, and I’ve never had a reoccurrence, FWIW. Hopefully the same for you.
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