Day 42 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Thursday, 12 August 2010 08:37
Day 42-35 Miles (mostly uphill!) 

Today was a first for many things:

1) I reached the highest point on the route, Indiana Pass at 11,910 feet. A four thousand foot climb out of Del Norte' that had me huffing more than usual for a lot longer than usual. The climb took me over four hours (a long time to be in the same gear!) and when I got to within 4 or 5 miles from the top I kept having to stop to simply catch my breath. this wasn't terribly unusual but it was out of the ordinary. I've gotten quite strong lately and having to keep suckin' for air every mile just to keep going was less than fun and did get my attention. the recovery time with each stop kept getting longer as well which told me that the air was thinner and my lungs didn't like it! When I FINALLY reached the top it was truly awesome. these words just fill up space when compared to how I felt at the pass. I just started to cry it was so beautiful and I was so drained and exhausted. It really almost felt like some kind of transcendent or altered state, or I was simply hypoxic! I got a guy to snap my photo and then I just sat up there. The wind wasn't too bad for such a height and the scenery was just spectacular. He was bundled in all these layers and jackets and I was just in a shirt and shorts.

2) I'm not sure the exact chain of events but I was just feeling a bit out of sorts. a little dizzy or hypoxic or hypoglycemic, not sure, nothing alarming but something was off. Then I went, literally, another 1.4 miles to see this complete dichotomy in the landscape. Bordering on horror after what I had just seen in my giddy, dizzy state. Summitville, CO. An EPA Superfund site, look it up if you want to get depressed. An atrocity of man meets mountain with now decades of consequences to the greed that drove this mountain stripping for gold. I took not one photo as I was so embarrassed at this sight, and it was making me a little ticked and sick. sometimes we want stuff and don't think there's anyone or anything living downstream. Or we just don't care. Those of us on this bike route have had to carry considerably more water than usual (up 4 grand!) because all the streams up here are contaminated with the cyanide they used DECADES AGO to sequester the gold from the rock. I'll stop now.

3) The scenery up here, even after Summit-hell, is spectacular. I stopped considerably shorter on distance today than normal and chalked it up to the huge climb...but I think there's more to it. In my never-ending quest to find camping away from all others I came across a hiking trail that led up to a gorgeous meadow where I now sit on a log and type this. But somethin' ain't quite right with Billy-boy. My fatigue and ditzy-ness is too much to ignore. I'm fine I'm sure but just realized that I'm sitting here at 11,500 feet, not much lower than the pass I just crested, and I think it's...

4) OK so I have been feeling a little out of sorts (more than usual!!) since about the time I entered Colorado. No big deal just a little short on the air stuff. I've been riding and climbing my butt off and going back down to sleep, sucking wind near the top but that's likely normal? Today was a little more than I could ignore. I've started to take the Diamox. Mary Kay will be so proud of me! It's a diuretic that's supposed to help me with this altitude-sickly-business. And if I become the whizzing race horse champion all night I'm stopping it!! It only gets lower after this so everything should be fine, but I do think I was getting a little sick again, like the time I was with MIMA in Bolivia. The dizziness isn't severe but obviously something is off in my brain or chemistry.

5) I got this great spot up in this high meadow near a snow melt pond and hope to see a Moose come out at dusk, Ahhh wouldn't that be more than worth it all. Tomorrow, lungs and brain permitting, I'll likely be in NM. Who'd a thought?! And it's going to be a cold one up here tonight. I'll be wearing EVERYTHING I brought in the bag tonight!

6) I'm just so lucky, really. To be able to have this adventure and raise some money for a great cause, man, I got the life. It is so peaceful and naturally beautiful up here, I'm lovin' life.

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