No altitude sickness in MississippiBy PETER GILDERSON,
At first sight the aircraft on the first leg of our flight to Colorado appeared to be brand spanking new. The overhead bins and seats were pristine. However, the pilot told me the plane was 11 years old, but the interior had been renovated using the latest technology from the sardine factory (my observation). We were served peanuts or cookies to keep us quiet. I compared this in my mind to the first business trip I had taken across the Atlantic in the ’60s. At that time the steward rolled a trolley with a chaffing dish in front of me. He then cut a prime rib to my specifications and served with all the delicious accouterments. Then I reclined my seat and went to sleep. Those were the good old days of flying.
How does an old codger remember all of this? I've been studying brain food. Wyatt's recent piece on Maine reminded me that during my last vacation in that state I had eaten five lobsters in one week. Lobsters are excellent brain stimulants. Furthermore, the little village in the Colorado mountains where we stayed had a general store that was renowned for its cinnamon rolls. These are also great for the mind. Peach cobblers, I discovered, also increase brain power. A scoop of ice cream enhances the effect because my preliminary research indicates frozen cream is a splendid solubilizer. That may sound too technical for some, but it simply means that the pie slides down into the digestive system, and then up to the brain with greater ease. I say this is a preliminary finding; much more research will be needed for confirmation.
Altitude sickness is something we do not encounter here in Mississippi. But Colorado has many fourteeners - peaks over 14,000 ft. Therefore I did a little reading on the subject before we left. It is recommended that tourists spend a day or two adjusting to the altitude before ascending the heights. Initially they should also avoid strenuous exercise and dehydration. We had planned to drive to the continental divide after waiting one day to adjust. Unfortunately the weather forecast for the next day (inaccurate as it turned out) was for rain, so we accelerated our trip. I did feel a little unsteady at the top, so we limited our stay above 10,000 feet to less than one hour. My wife did not feel these effects. The same was true later in the week when we reached the summit of Pike's Peak (14,115 feet.) I attribute my malady to insufficient solubilization.
Many of the locals, I discovered, had a good grasp of the basics of geology. Perhaps this should be expected because they are surrounded by many different types of rock formations and minerals. They pointed out sedimentary and volcanic rocks, and the approximate dating of the cataclysmic events that led to their structures. Would it be too sacrilegious for me to say that God had a lot of fun when he created these marvelous sights? No wonder He said, when he turned them over to man: "It was very good." I certainly agree.
Peter Gilderson is a Northsider.