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November 30, 2002

Day 1: Establishing Home, Adjusting to Altitude

Day 1: Arrived at the Hut around 10 am, set up tent, started feeling crappy around dinner.

Day 1 at the Hut was spent taking it easy to adjust to altitude. We arrived, had a hot drink, sat around, and in the afternoon put up our tents. I was energetic and excited when we first arrived, but ran out of steam setting up my tent. I went through cycles of elation and exhaustion. After setting up the tent on a lovely flat with a door view of a rocky ridge (old lava flow) and a back window view of the volcano (as if I'm ever going to open my back window), I took a break in the Hut. Later, I moved in. [Elation.] The tent is huge! Or, at least, seemed it for one person. Granted, I'll be there for over a month, and maybe it won't seem so large in early January, but on Day 1--and still--it seemed huge. Nice, open, blank. Like a fresh notebook. Like a clean room. The beginning. I love beginnings.

I wheeled in my monster duffel and unpacked and stacked the important stuff. I dragged in my sleep kit and made my bed. Home. Cold, but home. Wait. Cold. How much time am I going to spend in here, anyway? Cold. Probably not much.

The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging. One hot drink turned into another, and soon it was dinner time. And I felt lousy. The girlscout had been feeling lousy since early afternoon, and was on oxygen most of the time. I looked at the oxygen longingly. Maybe it would make me feel better...darn girlscout...but I tried to make it through with hydration and breathing. In the evening, I tried to entries for this webpage. My entry went something like this:

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Check-in, Lower Erebus Hut, Day 1: November 30, 2002

Up at 11,400 ft at the hut, and I’m feeling pretty groggy. I felt fine at Fang, the acclimatization camp, and fine at first up here, although I did get tired while putting up my tent in the afternoon. At dinner, I felt somewhat feverish, in that my face felt hot and I had trouble regulating my temperature (hot cold hot cold), and had no appetite—which is a bad sign when trying to acclimatize. I was also having a bit of trouble following the conversation. Well, I could follow but not participate. I didn’t really feel like eating; I just wanted to breathe.

I feel a little better now, but not by much. My energy level is very low, and it’s only 8:40 PM. I have diarrhea, and am still having some trouble with temperature regulation. My relief consists of taking a trip to the loo to take care of business and get some fresh air. You know it’s gotta be bad when you go to the loo for fresh air. But, it actually is a nice place, because there’s an open window and only one person to suck the oxygen. It’s easy to feel claustrophobic in here when not feeling well—ten people and about as many chairs in a space about the size of an average living room. That may sound big, but we have kitchen, dining room, and living room in our living room. It will be interesting to see this place at its maximum, with four more people.

At present, four of the ten are playing 500 (a card game). Two are watching. One is reading, one is working on word puzzles, and one is working on a wireless feed from camera to TV which he’s distractedly set down so that it is presently, unfortunately, pointed at me. The camera will be placed on the crater rim as a live webcam, which should be much more interesting.

I’m getting a bit of an appetite back and feel a little more energetic. I am sipping on hot apple cider, which may help: water and sugar. I have been trying to hydrate today, since hydration is supposedly the key to avoiding just about any outdoor ailness, or at least isn’t bad for you. I probably didn’t drink enough at Fang. I didn’t feel sick, but I did feel a bit dehydrated.

I’m starting to feel bad again. I have to pee, my digestion area is starting to feel a bit grumbly, and my head is feeling borderline headache and my energy level took a bit of a drop. I just don’t feel as alert, and my wrists feel heavy on the edge of the laptop. And, my vision seems lazy. As in, things just don’t seem as clear. Not fuzzy, just not as clear. I don’t want to go outside again already, though. I was just there less than half an hour ago. It’s tiresome to keep myself upright, and my attention span for writing these entries is again waning.

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I stayed up and in the Hut until I felt comfortable going to my tent and spending the night in the cold on my own. I slept pretty well, awaking once to pee, and felt better in the morning.

Posted by beth at November 30, 2002 2:58 PM