I am spending some time in the highlands of Nevada this winter, so my Joke of the Week has fewer sweat stains on it. I am in Reno, about a 30 minutes from the North rim from Lake Tahoe, up around 8,000 feet. While here I’m learning to appreciate the simple things – like breathing. Nevada is an unusual state in many ways. For instance, they think that ‘high humidity’ is anything over 25%.
So today’s jokes deal in high altitude and wilderness humor followed by a very real warning about altitude sickness which I have been working through in various forms since arriving. Famous last words in mountain climbing
• I’m sure this way is the right way
• I’m okay-It’s just a little headache (that was me)
• I am sure the rope reaches all the way to the bottom
• Lets go for the top, we’ll get back before it gets dark.
In 1993 a woman called 911 from the top of Half Dome using her cellular phone. According to dispatch, she reported: “Well, I’m at the top and I’m really tired.” The answering ranger asked if she felt sick. “No,” she said, “I’m just really tired and I want my friends to drive to the base and pick me up.”The dispatcher explained that she would have to hike down the trail she had ascended. The visitor replied, “But you don’t understand, I’m really tired.” What happened next? “It turned out we got really lucky,” the ranger said,” her phone battery died.” (Boy, do I understand her fatigue!)
All joking aside, traveling from sea level to attempting to hike in an area of much higher altitude can be very dangerous to your health. In fact, each year people die from altitude sickness probably because no one had warned them. I’m warning you from my very own experience over the past 72 hours. If you are going to be traveling to a location above 7000ft, read this information and tell your traveling companions: http://www.altitude.org/altitude_sickness.php