Agony of Defeet

Greetings, bloglings. Sorry I’ve been out of touch. I just returned from four glorious days in Breckenridge, Colorado — where I only had internet access at 10:42 a.m. each day, when the neighbors decided to log in to their wireless network.

This is the third year for “Girls’ Weekend” in the mountains. My cousins (Bobbi and Brenda) are the instigators of the festivities, and they invite their gal pals from their enclave north of Denver to hang out at “The Homestead” for a few days to get away from the grind.


Homestead 2

I enjoyed this year’s trip in particular. We had only 8 girls this time — compared to 20 the first year and 12 last year. I even had my own room.

The Homestead sits at about 9,800 feet, which is pretty darn close to the tree line. So it’s really not surprising that I found myself short of breath while lying in bed — considering that trees can’t even survive much above that altitude (treeline = approximately 11,600 ft).

The first year I didn’t really notice the altitude that much, except that I was always thirsty and my lips were dried up. Last year I felt sluggish the whole time (probably made worse by my snoring roommate). This year I woke up with a headache on the first day, and hikes definitely got my heartrate up, but overall I adjusted pretty well to the difference between 9,800 feet and my normal 586 feet in Chicago.

As a child, the altitude never really bothered me. I could “sleep” all night on the floor of a tour bus going from Kansas to Summit County and be rearing to go for three days of skiing.

Dad and Brother DIY — well, they’re a different story. They’ve puked many a time at the Idaho Springs exit on I-70. I think we’ll have to erect a memorial there.

As we were entering the Eisenhower Tunnel this trip, I was reminded of skiing at Loveland Pass probably 20 years ago. Loveland is one of the highest ski areas, which means it’s cold as hell. And it was over Christmas break, which is traditionally much colder than skiing in March — which I much prefer.  It isn’t a resort I’d normally choose, since it’s realtively small, and did I say cold? But it’s one of the closest to Denver, and we happened to be driving up for the day from Longmont.

That day it was probably 10 degrees, at the very most–and incredibly windy. We could hardly bear it. And poor Dad had a headache by the second run (hard to say which contributed most — the altitude, the temperature, or the fact that he’s allergic to vacations). When Dad gets a headache, he’s usually out for the count.

On this paticular trip, my brother also got altitude sick, and he was miserable in the car for most of the afternoon. He puked in a paper bag and then put it outside the car, where it steamed until it froze.

The day ended pretty early. Besides them being sick, I nearly got frostbite. And never fear, we had to make a stop at the Idaho Springs exit for a big ole ralph fest.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    DIY said,

    Yes, the monument will be a gigantic paper sack half full of frozen hurl.

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