Monday, June 05, 2006

Heat Exhaustion Trail (Comanche Bluff Trail)

So I went hiking as planned this past Sunday and felt pretty good, despite getting zero sleep the night before. I knew when I last wrote on my blog that the hike would be a tough one, but I had no idea just how tough. I figured I had done so well on all the others, that I would get through it okay. Wow was I ever wrong!

First of all, the trail pretty much sucked and I doubt I'll ever go back on that one again. It was very overgrown and poorly visible in many areas. We even hit a dead end before we could pick it back up again. Second of all, there was so much poision ivy on the trail there was no way NOT to touch it or step on it! I'm highly allergic to the stuff and knew I was going to pay later if I couldn't get Zanfel on in time.

At some point we ended up on a cattle trail thinking it was our trail. It was in tall grass and reeds with poision ivy slapping at my ankles, legs, and torso. Sometimes the ivy would hit me in the face or the neck because we had to duck down alot, and twist through the brush. I hated it and my moral was starting to slip.

Ok I'm done bitching about the lousy trail and PI and am moving on to the rest of the story. We made it to the turn around point after what felt like forever to me. We sat there for about an hour and rested (see pics). It was a nice spot to do so and the breeze felt great. We also saw a huge wild turkey while sitting there at the picnic table. This turkey sighting was my second for the day. The first turkey I saw was a juvenile walking along the freeway when I was on my way over to Mykel's place! That was something.

A short while after we left the resting spot is when the trouble began. I was starting to notice a lot of tingling in my body. I didn't know at the time what was causing it, but wasn't feeling particularly bad at that point and kept pushing on. I got to a bridge with a very steep hill on the opposite side that I had to climb because there was no avoiding it. I wasn't looking foward to it either but made myself go up without stopping. What a mistake. I crashed hard after getting to the top of that hill and pretty much collapsed. The tingling grew to become very intense, and my body was rushing all over. I'm not kidding when I say it felt like I was having a very strong orgasm that was peaking but never subsiding. It was actually very unpleasant because of the intensity and I couldn't stop it. In addition to that, I felt dizzy, faint, weak, and my breathing was fast and shallow. All I could do was lie there and moan. I had no clue what was happening to me and it was getting scary.

I was being pushed by my hiking partners to get up and keep going, which was pissing me off. I don't think they realized how bad off I was...heck even I don't think I realized it at the time. As soon as my heartbeat went back down and I felt somewhat normal again, I did get up and try to go further to get them off my back lol. Immediately as I got up and went a couple more steps, my heartbeat raced back up to an alarming rate again, and I thought I was going to pass out from the dizziness and weakness. Also that damn orgasm that peaks forever feeling was getting stronger. I dropped back down to the ground and was pretty much sprawled out in the middle of the trail. I flat out could not walk any further. I did manage to drag myself back into a small shady area off to the side of the trail though and that's where I stayed for sometime. I think I may have passed out briefly at one point and Jennifer said I was certainly disoriented.

Thankfully there was a parking lot not far away and I was able to make it there and wait for the car to be brought around. I didn't get to finish the hike though. I did 7.5 miles total and had to stop almost 2 miles short of where we started out. I was lucky I didn't have to go the rest of the way. I went online today and looked up all of my symptoms. I had heat exhaustion with the beginning signs of heat stroke(which can be fatal if not treated immediately). I also hyperventilated.

So here is what I took away from the experience:
*I need a larger camel back because the one I have is obviously not enough on a long hike in the sun (I did run out of water towards the end).
*I won't go on a long hike if I didn't get any sleep the night before.
*The next time I'm told the hike is going to be rough, I'll think twice before going.

The combination of not enough water, no sleep, humidity and hot sun, is why I crashed the way I did. These are the pics I did manage to take from the first part of the hike:

Plaque at one of the many bridges tells about the haunting of this bridge. If you click on the thumbnail you'll be able to read what the plaque saysJen reading about the haunting of the bridge shown in the background.

The Friendship Bridge. This is not the same bridge shown above. Jen tells a quite animated story
Our resting spot at the turn around point. There were a few picnic tables to sit at. This is actually a primitive camp ground and is obviously not used much. You have to backpack in to get here.

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