Side effects of Hiking in Smoke: "Barothermic confusion and distress" ??
|Mt. Shuksan bathed in wildfire smoke and fine particulate on 10/16/2022. Video: Unaltered (no haze filter) photos and film of smoke from Ptarmigan Ridge Trail Mt. Baker/Shuksan on 10/16/2022: Smoke and Fire AQI was 169 in Peaceful valley See other AQI maps far below.|
I have completed at least three Mt. Baker and High Divide smoky hikes this summer and fall of 2022. Each was more smoky than the last. Yeah sure, I have had some tightness in my (allergic asthmatic) lungs post hike. But I had a strange, new experience yesterday.
After about five miles of hiking in the smoke I began to suffer 'hypothermic' like mental confusion. This despite hiking with my shirt off in the strangely unseasonable heat. I actually 'lost' the Ptarmigan Ridge trail twice despite having hiked on that trail at least a dozen times in the last 20 years and have never, ever before lost my way like that in any weather. I got so confused I had to ask bystanders for help finding the trail. Ended up scampering across a boulder patch and then detouring on some side trail I had never been on. Interesting detours, but in retrospect, I was a bit out of my head. My legs kept moving, though sometimes I needed to stop and rest.
Apparently, fine particles and wildfire smoke aerosols can carry 'carbon monoxide' for miles which in turn can 'silently' replace the oxygen in your blood stream?[2, 3, 4] My God! I had to tell some fellow hikers I was dizzy and I actually just sat down on the trail near the end and took my shoes off to soak my feet and hydrate more. Blowing my nose for some hours after I got home and this morning. This doesn't feel like a cold or Covid case, but an allergenic reaction to the fine particulate in my lungs: Sudafed, Zirtec, Aspirin seemed to stop the nasal drip. Granted, I am sixty and 'immunocompromised' (probably should not have been out there), but I am in relatively good shape for my age and I regularly hike 10 - 14 miles at high elevations. I had slept well night before, had plenty of lunch, was properly hydrated, etc.
I think we will need new terms for the 21st century diseases caused by outdoor exposure: not 'hypothermic' nor 'heat stroke'. Maybe something that will connote 'mental confusion' and 'carbon monoxide poisoning' caused by wildfire smoke. Something like: 'Barothermic confusion and distress' ?
|Private air quality measurement near Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan and just two of the fires (Little Chill and Copper Lake) northeast of Baker. Screenshots from https://wasmoke.blogspot.com . Note the 250 plus AQI measurements at top left for this last weekend.|
https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/maps/airqualitystation/in-Peaceful-Valley,WA https://health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/air/smoke_from_fire.htm https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(21)00052-8/fulltext https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231021003344
Mt. Baker Smoky hikes on my channel: Always Hiking :