Thursday the 24th of April 2003 – Day 65
We arrived at the office at 8.00pm as planned. Myself, Arron and Rob were doing the tour. San Pedro is at 2,400m above sea level (against 1,200m at Salta), but all our 3 day trip would be over 4,000m. In comparison Carrantuohill – Ireland Highest Mountain is only 1050 metres high. What is meant by high altitude? Some “formal” medical definitions:
– High Altitude: 1500 – 3500 m (5000 – 11500 ft)
– Very High Altitude: 3500 – 5500 m (11500 – 18000 ft)
– Extreme Altitude: above 5500 m
Practically speaking, however, one generally should not worry much about elevations below about 2500 m (8000 ft) since altitude illness rarely occurs lower than this. Acclimatization is the process of the body adjusting to the decreasing availability of oxygen. It is a slow process, taking place over a period of days.
Certain normal physiologic changes occur in every person who goes to altitude:
– Hyperventilation (breathing fast)
– Shortness of breath during exertion
– Increased urination
– Changed breathing pattern at night
– Awakening frequently at night
– Weird dreams
We would be over 4,000m throughout this trip. More information on this can be found here and here . Anyway a bus would bring us to the boarder (1 hour away) where we would meet our guide (who is also the driver and cook). As well as the 3 of us, there were 3 Germans and a Suiss.Food is included in the trip (3 meals per day), so we had breakfast at the crossing. Entrance to the National Park (5 US) was also included. Easy and straight forward formalities at the boarder. One thing that isn’t included is water, which you should bring (approx 5 liters). We also brought snacks like biscuits and chocolate with us. We switched into our jeep and off we headed.
We visited the Green Lagoon, hot springs, and Colorado (red) Lagoon during day 1. We arrived at our destination (well a shepherds house) at 16.00 hours. It is located close to the red lagoon and is situated at 4,300m. It was hostel type accommodation. The dinner was fine (pasta). As the house was only electrified by generator, it was cut off at 9.00pm. Rob and I played cards with the 2 German lads until 11.00pm. Everyone had a pretty good nights sleep even though temperatures drop to minus five outside at night. People do wake up alot to catch their breath because of the height.