Sunday, October 08, 2006

Baby, are you okay?

When did eb ask me this? Well, several times over the last couple of days.

Elevation is not something I give a lot of thought to. I grew up in the Adirondack mountains and have climbed many of the regions' high peaks. I really take mountain scenery for granted, but don't mind driving around in it to satisfy eb's desire for more of it. If it pleases her, I like it just fine. And let's not forget, I can deny her nothing.

I grew up mostly outside Lake Placid, NY at the base of Whiteface, the Olympic mountain whose base elevation is 1220 feet. The summit is 4650 feet and whether skiing the mountain or hiking it with friends or as a guide, I was at the summit at least half the year on a daily basis. No elevation drama.

Please take this moment to recall that for the past eight years, I have lived in Houston, TX with eb at an elevation of 0 - 310 feet. sea level at its best.

When we were settled into Placitas, NM, I had brief mooments of feeling winded. Nothing I really noticed much at the time, but looking back, I can see that it all started there, just mildly. Walking around, I would occasionally find myself reverting to a mouth breather (yogi Kathryn says mouths are for eating and kissing only)and I attributed this more to the dryness or sinus congestion rather than to elevation. I also considered that vacation might have packed on a few extra pounds, but I really have not overindulged at all and of course prefer being in denial about this possibility.

So here we are in Taos. Taos has an elevation of 6950 feet. Right away upon arriving I felt an unpleasant tightening in my chest. Am I having a heart attack? 6950 seems to be the magic number. I brought a suitcase from the car to the room we are in. We are basically parked right outside the door, and I was so winded that when I stopped to kiss eb, I had to ask her to give me a second to catch my breath. "Baby, are you okay?"

Every time I roll over in bed, I get winded. Every time I reach for my seatbelt, I get winded. Twist a little for an extended moment, here comes that heart attack again.

Yesterday, after the rainy wool festival, we drove about 5 miles to a lovely grge bridge and then 5 miles in the other direction to a small town, Arroyo Seco, which has the finest yarn shop and a cafe recommended by our host, Richard. His picks have been spot on. After the yarn shop orgy, eb needed some scenic driving. Instead of turning right to go back the way we came, she turned left to see what we might be missing.

Left took us on a really nice scenic drive through Carson National Forest. At one point there is a dead end sign, but it does not say how far til the dead end. The dead end is Taos Valley Ski area whose base elevation is 9207 feet. Oh. My. God. I am glad there was nothing to do or see once we were up there because any exertion there, surely would have resulted in some dire tragedy.

All in all, I think I am getting more used to the Taos elevation, and tomorrow we will be back hoome to our dear humid sea level. When are we going on that Himilaya adventure?


the only daughter said...

Glad to hear it seems to have evened out for you.

Looking forward to more stories and pics. NM sounds fascinating.

Crystal said...

Oh man, I'm glad you're alright. I'm just catching up with your blog now.

On a retardedly funny note, we hired an office manager, and after 8 days of working for us, she called to say she was on the side of the road, the change in altitude was getting to her. (the difference between her house and work is no more than 150 feet). On the 9th day she resigned, citing altitude sickness and asked that someone drive her things to her and meet her on the road halfway. Unreal.