Elevation Education by Doris

hhj spc 3Post copyright Doris McCraw

Ever Envision Entertaining the thought of writing about E? There are a lot of avenues of possibilities. For myself after entertaining the idea of Electricity- Tesla V Edison, I realized I lived at 6,000+ feet above sea level and traveled to 8,000 and 10,000 regularly. What is common place for me can be challenging and sometimes hazardous to others. Therefore a lesson in Elevation seemed in order.

Colorado Topographic Map-USGS

Colorado is considered one of, it not the highest state in the nation. It is home to over 50 peaks above 14,000 feet. The highest incorporated town in North America is here, the town of Leadville, know for it history, minerals and the folks who came, went or died there. Many people in the late 1800 and early 1900’s came to Colorado for their health. The clear air, the exact opposite of the coal laden city air of the eastern cities, was the factor that drew them here. It was life saving for many, but for some, a death sentence.

Colorado Springs historic map – Colorado Springs, Colorado City and Manitou, CO, 1882

Why a death sentence? If you have ever been to Colorado you will notice cities have their elevation listed, not population. If you have heart problems elevation is a defining factor in your traveling. It is my thought that one of the reasons elevation is listed is for that very reason. Many people with heart problems have trouble when they go above certain elevations. For many that is 8,000 feet, for others it is much less. For Mary Lincoln Mellon (Queen) Palmer, it was the reason she could not remain in Colorado Springs with her husband, Wm. Jackson Palmer, the city’s founder.

Palmer and his wife “Queen” Palmer …

Even those without heart issues can find the change in elevation challenging. Coming from sea level to Colorado Springs or higher can lead to altitude sickness, depending on your susceptibility. The following are two links describing the problem and some tips:

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/altitude-sickness-topic-overview http://www.emedicinehealth.com/mountain_sickness/article_em.htm.

One interesting side effect, especially for those who imbibe in alcoholic beverages; folks you can’t drink as much at a higher elevation as you did at a lower one. There ain’t as much oxygen at higher elevations. Even when going from my 6,000 to the top of Pikes Peak’s 14,115 is a big change. I’ve been to the top many times, sometimes to speak and sing ‘America the Beautiful’ as Katharine Lee Bates, and I have to conserve and use what oxygen there is to be effective.

Pikes Peak as seen from the West
Pikes Peak as seen from the West, from the authors collection

Now you have had a bit of an education, please don’t let it stop you from traveling. There are many beautiful things to see in this world. But as they say, education is power. Power to make good choices and to prepare for eventuality. Until next time, may this little education about elevation help you make plans for travel and add insights and ideas to your writing.

home for his heart angela raines

also available as an ebook on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Doris Gardner-McCraw/Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/angelaraines-dorismccraw
Photo and Poem: http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com
Blog: http://renawomyn.blogspot.com/ 

A to Z Blog Challenge Post A-to-Z Road Trip

25 thoughts on “Elevation Education by Doris

  1. I wrote a really long comment, because I love this blog about E, but I got off the page without posting it. LOL Anyway, I went to Pike’s Peak in August of 1992 and it snowed while we were up there. I loved it. We were at a Spiritual Retreat at Glen Erie. We were so blessed by the conference, but also by the beauty that surrounded us. Love the mountains of CO. Saw some interesting animals too. The air is really thin. We were younger and in good shape and still we had to stop and rest between buildings. Queen’s name is cool. Too bad she couldn’t stay with her husband. Loved the photos too.

    Also we are in the A 2 Z challenge so whoever reads this please go to the link in the blog and read a few blogs. This is great exposure for our WW&W blog. Thanks Cher’ley



    1. It is an amazing place Cher’ley, and Glen Eryie is one of the most beautiful. The first time I was on Pikes Peak I was running the 50 yard dash and having so much fun. Now, I walk at a sedate pace. Thank you for your wonderful comments and sharing your time here. Doris

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I visited Colorado Springs several times in the late 1970’s, when I lived in Wichita, KS. The first time I got altitude sickness, but had no idea what was going on. I was so sick to my stomach. It hit within 6 hours, I think, of my arrival. In those days, there was no Internet and no instant answers. After talking to some people when I got back home, I had it figured out. I found the first link of interest – a bit scary, actually, glad I didn’t know all that back then The other link (the emedicine link) did not work for me.


    1. Alana, thank you for letting me know about the link. Not sure what happened between writing and posting this. A lot of folks don’t realize that they can be affected by the change in elevation. As you Colorado can be a beautiful place, but you can’t enjoy it if you are wondering what is wrong with you. You must have been here about the time I arrived. Doris


  3. I don’t have heart problems, but I do have severe breathing problems at high altitudes. I can take Diamox to help with that, but just want to point out that altitudes cause other problems for flat landers. That said, I LOVE the Rockies and Colorado. (I think you meant you CAN’T drink as much up high? I know I can’t!) Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kaye, you are correct, you can’t drink as much at altitude when coming from a lower elevation. There are folks, like you, with health issues that cannot handle elevation. I’m glad you have something that allows you to spend time here. I’m a visitor who never left, its hold on my is that strong. Doris


  4. Educational post for sure, Doris! When I attend the Colorado Christian Writers Conference that’s held annually in May in Estes Park, one of the top tidbits they give is about altitude sickness and reminding people to drink lots of water. I’ve had two friends who traveled with me in prior years who each became ill during the conference due to the altitude. Thankfully, I’ve not experienced it, even coming from “flatland” Iowa to Wyoming and then on to Montana. I, too, feel blessed to live, visit, recreate, and create in the Rocky Mountains! Great post!! 🙂


    1. The mountains do have a wonderful effect on folks, don’t they Gayle? I came to visit, went home and came back the next year and haven’t left. The mountains get into your blood and feed your soul, at least they do me. Thank you so much for your kind words and support. Doris


  5. In my younger years, I never had problems with the mountains. Not sure what would happen today if I drove up to altitudes above 8,000 feet. I do know I love them. When I moved to Vegas, that was one of the immediate benefits… seeing Mount Charleston and the other peaks from the Vegas valley. It reminds me of my days as a kid in Rialto, California, and seeing the snow on the peaks of the San Bernardino Mountains.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike,
      The mountains are so beautiful and I’m glad you have some to look at daily. I admit, the older I get the less in shape I am, the more elevation can affect me, but where there is a will there is a way. I do love the mountains and enjoy spending time at elevation. Doris


    1. S. L., thank you. I have always thought that knowledge is power. With knowledge we have a better time navigating throught this world. I also thank you for co-hosting this challenge. It is a good thing. Doris


  6. My first experience with higher elevations was a trip to Denver–and other places in Colorado–in the late ’80s. I had a great time, but I had to move a little more slowly and I got out of breath much more quickly. I learned to take it easy for the first few days and to stay hydrated. Thanks for the elevation education, Doris!


    1. You are welcome Stephanie. Staying hydrated does help, that’s for sure. I am so glad you have a great time. I confess to a love affair with the mountains and high plains. Doris


  7. Love those mountains. Sure do see a lot more people on oxygen in high altitude areas however. I found it interesting when doing some research that the air still is about 21% oxygen no matter the altitude, but there are fewer molecules of any type of air present so we get less into our bodies. I hadn’t known the reason for calling it “thin air” before. It really is! Great e-word to blog about!


    1. Neva, those mountains have a hypnotic effect, at least for me. “thin air’ is a true statement of what flatlanders experience. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. Once I thought about it, it made total sense for me. Doris


    1. S.J., it is natural for me to add history whenever I can. I’m glad you found the information interesting. It was fun for me to write. Doris


  8. Love this post and can’t wait to visit Colorado some day. I don’t have heart problems and would love the excitement of climbing. You always give such good information in your blog posts. I enjoyed the links and the pictures. Good job, Doris!


    1. Tank you very much Linda. It is easy to talk about Colorado and the joys and beauty that reside here. But as I pointed out, not always easy. When you visit, may you love your time here as much as I have mine. Doris


  9. You make me want to go to Colorado so much, Doris. I love the sound of the ‘elevation’ advice but have never heard of that before- though it makes a lot of sense. In Europe some people went to places like Switzerland for the recuperation of the lungs (TB sufferers etc) but I guess the survivors didn’t have heart problems as well.


    1. Nancy, Colorado is a beautiful place, but I have always envisioned Scotland the same way. It’s the ‘clear’ air that helped those with TB, heart problems not so much. It does make for a fascinating study. I think the fact that Colorado was known for its health giving qualities that brought a lot of the women doctors this way also. Thanks for the Europe information. Doris


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