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Re: Bailing at Reds

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  • basecampbound
    I don t post often, but I read each and every one! I applaud your candor in listing the mistakes you made. Your honest assessment will save someone like me,
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 5, 2013
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      I don't post often, but I read each and every one! I applaud your candor in listing the mistakes you made. Your honest assessment will save someone like me, (who is planning for 2014) from making the same mistake. Thank you for your honesty and really appreciate you listing your experience.

      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "martypicco" <marty@...> wrote:
      >
      > We started our trip a week ago with the intention of going the distance, but wound up bailing at Reds. Here's what happened.
      >
      > As some of you might have surmised in my earlier posts, I prepared for the trip in less than a month, which was quite a scramble. Having done numerous 2-3 day trips in Yosemite over the years, I figured I could pull it off. One of the things that I shortchanged was food planning, and we wound up going with a last-minute choice of a protein drink to up our calorie and protein count. Someone on this list advised against unproven food on the trip, but we were out of time and went with it. Strike One.
      >
      > Then I made a rookie mistake. Coming from sea level, our plan was to spend a two nights in Tuolumne obtaining a permit, and then an additional night in Lyell before heading higher. However, when I checked the Ranger station on the afternoon of our arrival I had the first-time (mis)fortune of obtaining a permit on the spot with no waiting at all. We set out the next day. Strike Two.
      >
      > You don't get three strikes. The experienced among you know what's coming next.
      >
      > The climb on the exposed switchbacks leading up from Lyell fork were more difficult than I expected, and we wound up staying at a small lake at about 10K feet rather than pushing over the pass. I was a bit out of shape and expected to pay the price the first few days, but the first sign of trouble was that hours after relaxing at camp my resting heart rate was over 110 bpm. My older son also seemed to be struggling, though neither of us had nausea or headache.
      >
      > The next morning my heart rate was down to about 100 bpm and I was able to eat some breakfast, though I didn't finish. I had heard that it was normal not to be particularly hungry at first, so I didn't think much of it. We set off, with a plan to cross Donahue and Island passes and camp above Thousand Island Lake.
      >
      > We had a late start and made slow progress over Donahue, so it was mid afternoon when we were about halfway between Donahue and Island passess. I couldn't eat lunch and had felt very nauseous for the previous couple of hours when my body went into full revolt: diarrhea, vomiting, the works. I immediately lost energy, was very wobbly, though I (think) still had my wits about me. I couldn't tolerate anything but water.
      >
      > We decided to camp near Rush Creek, and I figured that if I spent some time resting and could get some food in me we'd be OK, but I also knew this could be altitude sickness and that the only thing to be done would be to go lower.
      >
      > The next morning I still couldn't eat, but going back didn't seem like a good option. (And I didn't have side maps that would have told me that Rush Creek trail might have been a good bailout option.) I figured if we could make Shadow lake we'd be a bit lower and then in striking distance of Reds, so we pressed on.
      >
      > We did make Shadow lake, but I still couldn't tolerate ANY solid food. I had some electrolyte powder which I had been able to add to water, but even this was difficult. I gagged taking asprin. I was feeling very bad, but once we made it out of Shadow Lake it'd be all downhill to Reds.
      >
      > The next day my son was also in bad shape and said that he hadn't eaten the night before. It took us four hours to climb out of shadow lake. The downhill started off well, but I still handn't had a nibble of food, and my energy level was zero. By early afternoon I couldn't take water anymore and knew I was in trouble.
      >
      > About three miles out of Reds I hit the wall. At the slightest uphill I could take only a few steps at a time and stop. But I was determined to get out under my own power.
      >
      > I had by this time decided that we'd go to Mammoth to get lower and perhaps get to a doctor, and it was after five when we reached the Soda Springs ranger station and saw a beautiful sight: the Mammoth shuttle.
      >
      > I was able to drink a coke when I got into town and later ate a little bit. After spending a day at Mammoth I recovered, but we decided that we'd call it a hike and come back to continue where we left off next year.
      >
      > Lessons learned:
      >
      > 1) "2-3 days to acclimatize" means 3 days if you're coming from sea level. Our decision to start at Tuolumne and go early was a very bad one.
      >
      > 2) Altitude sickness isn't an inconvenience. Your condition will deteriorate until you reach lower altitudes or get supplemental oxygen. Period. If you get it you have to get down.
      >
      > 3) We need to be much more careful about nutrition planning and ensure that the food we have works. I believe that much of the problem I had was due to the protein drink, and we did not have good options for liquid energy when I stopped being able to take solids.
      >
      > 4) Test EVERYTHING before you go. We might have discovered the protein drink problem before the hike.
      >
      > 5) Don't just take the JMT map with you. You never known when you might need to look for an out, and heading down a trail without a map is a bad plan.
      >
      > Bottom line: it was still a great experience for my kids and I. That's just how awesome the JMT is. Next time we will be more careful.
      >
      > Marty
      >
    • Cynthia Harrell
      Yes, Marty, thanks for posting. Mistakes are just that: mistakes! Your fessing up speaks volumes of the kind of person you are and that you care about the
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 5, 2013
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        Yes, Marty, thanks for posting.  Mistakes are just that: mistakes!  Your 'fessing up speaks volumes of the kind of person you are and that you care about the rest of us.  

        Cynthia

        Sent from my iPhone

        On Jul 5, 2013, at 4:08, "basecampbound" <kjonmyway@...> wrote:

         

        I don't post often, but I read each and every one! I applaud your candor in listing the mistakes you made. Your honest assessment will save someone like me, (who is planning for 2014) from making the same mistake. Thank you for your honesty and really appreciate you listing your experience.

        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "martypicco" <marty@...> wrote:
        >
        > We started our trip a week ago with the intention of going the distance, but wound up bailing at Reds. Here's what happened.
        >
        > As some of you might have surmised in my earlier posts, I prepared for the trip in less than a month, which was quite a scramble. Having done numerous 2-3 day trips in Yosemite over the years, I figured I could pull it off. One of the things that I shortchanged was food planning, and we wound up going with a last-minute choice of a protein drink to up our calorie and protein count. Someone on this list advised against unproven food on the trip, but we were out of time and went with it. Strike One.
        >
        > Then I made a rookie mistake. Coming from sea level, our plan was to spend a two nights in Tuolumne obtaining a permit, and then an additional night in Lyell before heading higher. However, when I checked the Ranger station on the afternoon of our arrival I had the first-time (mis)fortune of obtaining a permit on the spot with no waiting at all. We set out the next day. Strike Two.
        >
        > You don't get three strikes. The experienced among you know what's coming next.
        >
        > The climb on the exposed switchbacks leading up from Lyell fork were more difficult than I expected, and we wound up staying at a small lake at about 10K feet rather than pushing over the pass. I was a bit out of shape and expected to pay the price the first few days, but the first sign of trouble was that hours after relaxing at camp my resting heart rate was over 110 bpm. My older son also seemed to be struggling, though neither of us had nausea or headache.
        >
        > The next morning my heart rate was down to about 100 bpm and I was able to eat some breakfast, though I didn't finish. I had heard that it was normal not to be particularly hungry at first, so I didn't think much of it. We set off, with a plan to cross Donahue and Island passes and camp above Thousand Island Lake.
        >
        > We had a late start and made slow progress over Donahue, so it was mid afternoon when we were about halfway between Donahue and Island passess. I couldn't eat lunch and had felt very nauseous for the previous couple of hours when my body went into full revolt: diarrhea, vomiting, the works. I immediately lost energy, was very wobbly, though I (think) still had my wits about me. I couldn't tolerate anything but water.
        >
        > We decided to camp near Rush Creek, and I figured that if I spent some time resting and could get some food in me we'd be OK, but I also knew this could be altitude sickness and that the only thing to be done would be to go lower.
        >
        > The next morning I still couldn't eat, but going back didn't seem like a good option. (And I didn't have side maps that would have told me that Rush Creek trail might have been a good bailout option.) I figured if we could make Shadow lake we'd be a bit lower and then in striking distance of Reds, so we pressed on.
        >
        > We did make Shadow lake, but I still couldn't tolerate ANY solid food. I had some electrolyte powder which I had been able to add to water, but even this was difficult. I gagged taking asprin. I was feeling very bad, but once we made it out of Shadow Lake it'd be all downhill to Reds.
        >
        > The next day my son was also in bad shape and said that he hadn't eaten the night before. It took us four hours to climb out of shadow lake. The downhill started off well, but I still handn't had a nibble of food, and my energy level was zero. By early afternoon I couldn't take water anymore and knew I was in trouble.
        >
        > About three miles out of Reds I hit the wall. At the slightest uphill I could take only a few steps at a time and stop. But I was determined to get out under my own power.
        >
        > I had by this time decided that we'd go to Mammoth to get lower and perhaps get to a doctor, and it was after five when we reached the Soda Springs ranger station and saw a beautiful sight: the Mammoth shuttle.
        >
        > I was able to drink a coke when I got into town and later ate a little bit. After spending a day at Mammoth I recovered, but we decided that we'd call it a hike and come back to continue where we left off next year.
        >
        > Lessons learned:
        >
        > 1) "2-3 days to acclimatize" means 3 days if you're coming from sea level. Our decision to start at Tuolumne and go early was a very bad one.
        >
        > 2) Altitude sickness isn't an inconvenience. Your condition will deteriorate until you reach lower altitudes or get supplemental oxygen. Period. If you get it you have to get down.
        >
        > 3) We need to be much more careful about nutrition planning and ensure that the food we have works. I believe that much of the problem I had was due to the protein drink, and we did not have good options for liquid energy when I stopped being able to take solids.
        >
        > 4) Test EVERYTHING before you go. We might have discovered the protein drink problem before the hike.
        >
        > 5) Don't just take the JMT map with you. You never known when you might need to look for an out, and heading down a trail without a map is a bad plan.
        >
        > Bottom line: it was still a great experience for my kids and I. That's just how awesome the JMT is. Next time we will be more careful.
        >
        > Marty
        >

      • Steve Thaw
        Marty, These may be symptoms of possible serious health issues. Please check with your doctor and get a complete physical exam plus blood test. Best, Steve
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 5, 2013
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          Marty,
          These may be symptoms of possible serious health issues. Please check with your doctor and get a complete physical exam plus blood test.
          Best,
          Steve Thaw


          From: Cynthia Harrell <cbharrell@...>
          To: "johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
          Cc: "johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, July 5, 2013 5:42 AM
          Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Bailing at Reds

           
          Yes, Marty, thanks for posting.  Mistakes are just that: mistakes!  Your 'fessing up speaks volumes of the kind of person you are and that you care about the rest of us.  

          Cynthia

          Sent from my iPhone

          On Jul 5, 2013, at 4:08, "basecampbound" <kjonmyway@...> wrote:

           
          I don't post often, but I read each and every one! I applaud your candor in listing the mistakes you made. Your honest assessment will save someone like me, (who is planning for 2014) from making the same mistake. Thank you for your honesty and really appreciate you listing your experience.

          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "martypicco" <marty@...> wrote:
          >
          > We started our trip a week ago with the intention of going the distance, but wound up bailing at Reds. Here's what happened.
          >
          > As some of you might have surmised in my earlier posts, I prepared for the trip in less than a month, which was quite a scramble. Having done numerous 2-3 day trips in Yosemite over the years, I figured I could pull it off. One of the things that I shortchanged was food planning, and we wound up going with a last-minute choice of a protein drink to up our calorie and protein count. Someone on this list advised against unproven food on the trip, but we were out of time and went with it. Strike One.
          >
          > Then I made a rookie mistake. Coming from sea level, our plan was to spend a two nights in Tuolumne obtaining a permit, and then an additional night in Lyell before heading higher. However, when I checked the Ranger station on the afternoon of our arrival I had the first-time (mis)fortune of obtaining a permit on the spot with no waiting at all. We set out the next day. Strike Two.
          >
          > You don't get three strikes. The experienced among you know what's coming next.
          >
          > The climb on the exposed switchbacks leading up from Lyell fork were more difficult than I expected, and we wound up staying at a small lake at about 10K feet rather than pushing over the pass. I was a bit out of shape and expected to pay the price the first few days, but the first sign of trouble was that hours after relaxing at camp my resting heart rate was over 110 bpm. My older son also seemed to be struggling, though neither of us had nausea or headache.
          >
          > The next morning my heart rate was down to about 100 bpm and I was able to eat some breakfast, though I didn't finish. I had heard that it was normal not to be particularly hungry at first, so I didn't think much of it. We set off, with a plan to cross Donahue and Island passes and camp above Thousand Island Lake.
          >
          > We had a late start and made slow progress over Donahue, so it was mid afternoon when we were about halfway between Donahue and Island passess. I couldn't eat lunch and had felt very nauseous for the previous couple of hours when my body went into full revolt: diarrhea, vomiting, the works. I immediately lost energy, was very wobbly, though I (think) still had my wits about me. I couldn't tolerate anything but water.
          >
          > We decided to camp near Rush Creek, and I figured that if I spent some time resting and could get some food in me we'd be OK, but I also knew this could be altitude sickness and that the only thing to be done would be to go lower.
          >
          > The next morning I still couldn't eat, but going back didn't seem like a good option. (And I didn't have side maps that would have told me that Rush Creek trail might have been a good bailout option.) I figured if we could make Shadow lake we'd be a bit lower and then in striking distance of Reds, so we pressed on.
          >
          > We did make Shadow lake, but I still couldn't tolerate ANY solid food. I had some electrolyte powder which I had been able to add to water, but even this was difficult. I gagged taking asprin. I was feeling very bad, but once we made it out of Shadow Lake it'd be all downhill to Reds.
          >
          > The next day my son was also in bad shape and said that he hadn't eaten the night before. It took us four hours to climb out of shadow lake. The downhill started off well, but I still handn't had a nibble of food, and my energy level was zero. By early afternoon I couldn't take water anymore and knew I was in trouble.
          >
          > About three miles out of Reds I hit the wall. At the slightest uphill I could take only a few steps at a time and stop. But I was determined to get out under my own power.
          >
          > I had by this time decided that we'd go to Mammoth to get lower and perhaps get to a doctor, and it was after five when we reached the Soda Springs ranger station and saw a beautiful sight: the Mammoth shuttle.
          >
          > I was able to drink a coke when I got into town and later ate a little bit. After spending a day at Mammoth I recovered, but we decided that we'd call it a hike and come back to continue where we left off next year.
          >
          > Lessons learned:
          >
          > 1) "2-3 days to acclimatize" means 3 days if you're coming from sea level. Our decision to start at Tuolumne and go early was a very bad one.
          >
          > 2) Altitude sickness isn't an inconvenience. Your condition will deteriorate until you reach lower altitudes or get supplemental oxygen. Period. If you get it you have to get down.
          >
          > 3) We need to be much more careful about nutrition planning and ensure that the food we have works. I believe that much of the problem I had was due to the protein drink, and we did not have good options for liquid energy when I stopped being able to take solids.
          >
          > 4) Test EVERYTHING before you go. We might have discovered the protein drink problem before the hike.
          >
          > 5) Don't just take the JMT map with you. You never known when you might need to look for an out, and heading down a trail without a map is a bad plan.
          >
          > Bottom line: it was still a great experience for my kids and I. That's just how awesome the JMT is. Next time we will be more careful.
          >
          > Marty
          >



        • Carolsteveyoung
          You are a wise hiker, dad and trip leader. I have advised more than a few people over the years about carefully planning the start of a hike at altitude.
          Message 4 of 9 , Jul 5, 2013
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            You are a wise hiker, dad and trip leader. 

            I have advised more than a few people over the years about carefully planning the start of a hike at altitude. However your blow by blow concise statement is more powerful than anything I've ever been able to cook up. 

            One year on the JMT randomly met and hiked together with two MD researchers who were blood specialists, so naturally I questioned them about the mechanisms of acclimatizing to altitude and for their best advice. I was really looking forward to the inside scoop from the experts. 

            You can probably guess they just said they live by the standard 1000 feet per night or you're living on (or over) the edge. Still it was good to have them say they live by that too. 

            Thanks for posting here. You will have a blast when next you pick up the trail. 

            Steve Young
            Geneva IL


            On Jul 5, 2013, at 2:08 PM, Steve Thaw <steven_thaw@...> wrote:

             

            Marty,
            These may be symptoms of possible serious health issues. Please check with your doctor and get a complete physical exam plus blood test.
            Best,
            Steve Thaw


            From: Cynthia Harrell <cbharrell@...>
            To: "johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
            Cc: "johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Friday, July 5, 2013 5:42 AM
            Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Bailing at Reds

             
            Yes, Marty, thanks for posting.  Mistakes are just that: mistakes!  Your 'fessing up speaks volumes of the kind of person you are and that you care about the rest of us.  

            Cynthia

            Sent from my iPhone

            On Jul 5, 2013, at 4:08, "basecampbound" <kjonmyway@...> wrote:

             
            I don't post often, but I read each and every one! I applaud your candor in listing the mistakes you made. Your honest assessment will save someone like me, (who is planning for 2014) from making the same mistake. Thank you for your honesty and really appreciate you listing your experience.

            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "martypicco" <marty@...> wrote:
            >
            > We started our trip a week ago with the intention of going the distance, but wound up bailing at Reds. Here's what happened.
            >
            > As some of you might have surmised in my earlier posts, I prepared for the trip in less than a month, which was quite a scramble. Having done numerous 2-3 day trips in Yosemite over the years, I figured I could pull it off. One of the things that I shortchanged was food planning, and we wound up going with a last-minute choice of a protein drink to up our calorie and protein count. Someone on this list advised against unproven food on the trip, but we were out of time and went with it. Strike One.
            >
            > Then I made a rookie mistake. Coming from sea level, our plan was to spend a two nights in Tuolumne obtaining a permit, and then an additional night in Lyell before heading higher. However, when I checked the Ranger station on the afternoon of our arrival I had the first-time (mis)fortune of obtaining a permit on the spot with no waiting at all. We set out the next day. Strike Two.
            >
            > You don't get three strikes. The experienced among you know what's coming next.
            >
            > The climb on the exposed switchbacks leading up from Lyell fork were more difficult than I expected, and we wound up staying at a small lake at about 10K feet rather than pushing over the pass. I was a bit out of shape and expected to pay the price the first few days, but the first sign of trouble was that hours after relaxing at camp my resting heart rate was over 110 bpm. My older son also seemed to be struggling, though neither of us had nausea or headache.
            >
            > The next morning my heart rate was down to about 100 bpm and I was able to eat some breakfast, though I didn't finish. I had heard that it was normal not to be particularly hungry at first, so I didn't think much of it. We set off, with a plan to cross Donahue and Island passes and camp above Thousand Island Lake.
            >
            > We had a late start and made slow progress over Donahue, so it was mid afternoon when we were about halfway between Donahue and Island passess. I couldn't eat lunch and had felt very nauseous for the previous couple of hours when my body went into full revolt: diarrhea, vomiting, the works. I immediately lost energy, was very wobbly, though I (think) still had my wits about me. I couldn't tolerate anything but water.
            >
            > We decided to camp near Rush Creek, and I figured that if I spent some time resting and could get some food in me we'd be OK, but I also knew this could be altitude sickness and that the only thing to be done would be to go lower.
            >
            > The next morning I still couldn't eat, but going back didn't seem like a good option. (And I didn't have side maps that would have told me that Rush Creek trail might have been a good bailout option.) I figured if we could make Shadow lake we'd be a bit lower and then in striking distance of Reds, so we pressed on.
            >
            > We did make Shadow lake, but I still couldn't tolerate ANY solid food. I had some electrolyte powder which I had been able to add to water, but even this was difficult. I gagged taking asprin. I was feeling very bad, but once we made it out of Shadow Lake it'd be all downhill to Reds.
            >
            > The next day my son was also in bad shape and said that he hadn't eaten the night before. It took us four hours to climb out of shadow lake. The downhill started off well, but I still handn't had a nibble of food, and my energy level was zero. By early afternoon I couldn't take water anymore and knew I was in trouble.
            >
            > About three miles out of Reds I hit the wall. At the slightest uphill I could take only a few steps at a time and stop. But I was determined to get out under my own power.
            >
            > I had by this time decided that we'd go to Mammoth to get lower and perhaps get to a doctor, and it was after five when we reached the Soda Springs ranger station and saw a beautiful sight: the Mammoth shuttle.
            >
            > I was able to drink a coke when I got into town and later ate a little bit. After spending a day at Mammoth I recovered, but we decided that we'd call it a hike and come back to continue where we left off next year.
            >
            > Lessons learned:
            >
            > 1) "2-3 days to acclimatize" means 3 days if you're coming from sea level. Our decision to start at Tuolumne and go early was a very bad one.
            >
            > 2) Altitude sickness isn't an inconvenience. Your condition will deteriorate until you reach lower altitudes or get supplemental oxygen. Period. If you get it you have to get down.
            >
            > 3) We need to be much more careful about nutrition planning and ensure that the food we have works. I believe that much of the problem I had was due to the protein drink, and we did not have good options for liquid energy when I stopped being able to take solids.
            >
            > 4) Test EVERYTHING before you go. We might have discovered the protein drink problem before the hike.
            >
            > 5) Don't just take the JMT map with you. You never known when you might need to look for an out, and heading down a trail without a map is a bad plan.
            >
            > Bottom line: it was still a great experience for my kids and I. That's just how awesome the JMT is. Next time we will be more careful.
            >
            > Marty
            >



          • martypicco
            After having seen a doctor and getting a blood test, it appears that I had a relatively rare reaction to cholesterol medication that caused my kidneys to start
            Message 5 of 9 , Jul 12, 2013
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              After having seen a doctor and getting a blood test, it appears that I had a relatively rare reaction to cholesterol medication that caused my kidneys to start shutting down. The altitude, protein drink and medication are hard on kidneys, and the combination put me over the top. Fortunately there's no lasting consequences, but had I pressed on there would have been.

              I've done a bunch of reading since this incident, and I've discovered that all sorts of meds need to be discontinued or have their dosage modified before traveling to altitude: blood pressure, cholesterol, beta blockers, etc.

              So if you're on meds and living in the lowlands, you might want to check with your doctor before an extended trip at altitude, e.g. the JMT.

              Thanks for everyone's comments.

              Marty

              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Carolsteveyoung <carolsteveyoung@...> wrote:
              >
              > You are a wise hiker, dad and trip leader.
              >
              > I have advised more than a few people over the years about carefully planning the start of a hike at altitude. However your blow by blow concise statement is more powerful than anything I've ever been able to cook up.
              >
              > One year on the JMT randomly met and hiked together with two MD researchers who were blood specialists, so naturally I questioned them about the mechanisms of acclimatizing to altitude and for their best advice. I was really looking forward to the inside scoop from the experts.
              >
              > You can probably guess they just said they live by the standard 1000 feet per night or you're living on (or over) the edge. Still it was good to have them say they live by that too.
              >
              > Thanks for posting here. You will have a blast when next you pick up the trail.
              >
              > Steve Young
              > Geneva IL
              >
              >
              > On Jul 5, 2013, at 2:08 PM, Steve Thaw <steven_thaw@...> wrote:
              >
              > > Marty,
              > > These may be symptoms of possible serious health issues. Please check with your doctor and get a complete physical exam plus blood test.
              > > Best,
              > > Steve Thaw
              > >
              > > From: Cynthia Harrell <cbharrell@...>
              > > To: "johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
              > > Cc: "johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
              > > Sent: Friday, July 5, 2013 5:42 AM
              > > Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Bailing at Reds
              > >
              > >
              > > Yes, Marty, thanks for posting. Mistakes are just that: mistakes! Your 'fessing up speaks volumes of the kind of person you are and that you care about the rest of us.
              > >
              > > Cynthia
              > >
              > > Sent from my iPhone
              > >
              > > On Jul 5, 2013, at 4:08, "basecampbound" <kjonmyway@...> wrote:
              > >
              > >>
              > >> I don't post often, but I read each and every one! I applaud your candor in listing the mistakes you made. Your honest assessment will save someone like me, (who is planning for 2014) from making the same mistake. Thank you for your honesty and really appreciate you listing your experience.
              > >>
              > >> --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "martypicco" <marty@> wrote:
              > >> >
              > >> > We started our trip a week ago with the intention of going the distance, but wound up bailing at Reds. Here's what happened.
              > >> >
              > >> > As some of you might have surmised in my earlier posts, I prepared for the trip in less than a month, which was quite a scramble. Having done numerous 2-3 day trips in Yosemite over the years, I figured I could pull it off. One of the things that I shortchanged was food planning, and we wound up going with a last-minute choice of a protein drink to up our calorie and protein count. Someone on this list advised against unproven food on the trip, but we were out of time and went with it. Strike One.
              > >> >
              > >> > Then I made a rookie mistake. Coming from sea level, our plan was to spend a two nights in Tuolumne obtaining a permit, and then an additional night in Lyell before heading higher. However, when I checked the Ranger station on the afternoon of our arrival I had the first-time (mis)fortune of obtaining a permit on the spot with no waiting at all. We set out the next day. Strike Two.
              > >> >
              > >> > You don't get three strikes. The experienced among you know what's coming next.
              > >> >
              > >> > The climb on the exposed switchbacks leading up from Lyell fork were more difficult than I expected, and we wound up staying at a small lake at about 10K feet rather than pushing over the pass. I was a bit out of shape and expected to pay the price the first few days, but the first sign of trouble was that hours after relaxing at camp my resting heart rate was over 110 bpm. My older son also seemed to be struggling, though neither of us had nausea or headache.
              > >> >
              > >> > The next morning my heart rate was down to about 100 bpm and I was able to eat some breakfast, though I didn't finish. I had heard that it was normal not to be particularly hungry at first, so I didn't think much of it. We set off, with a plan to cross Donahue and Island passes and camp above Thousand Island Lake.
              > >> >
              > >> > We had a late start and made slow progress over Donahue, so it was mid afternoon when we were about halfway between Donahue and Island passess. I couldn't eat lunch and had felt very nauseous for the previous couple of hours when my body went into full revolt: diarrhea, vomiting, the works. I immediately lost energy, was very wobbly, though I (think) still had my wits about me. I couldn't tolerate anything but water.
              > >> >
              > >> > We decided to camp near Rush Creek, and I figured that if I spent some time resting and could get some food in me we'd be OK, but I also knew this could be altitude sickness and that the only thing to be done would be to go lower.
              > >> >
              > >> > The next morning I still couldn't eat, but going back didn't seem like a good option. (And I didn't have side maps that would have told me that Rush Creek trail might have been a good bailout option.) I figured if we could make Shadow lake we'd be a bit lower and then in striking distance of Reds, so we pressed on.
              > >> >
              > >> > We did make Shadow lake, but I still couldn't tolerate ANY solid food. I had some electrolyte powder which I had been able to add to water, but even this was difficult. I gagged taking asprin. I was feeling very bad, but once we made it out of Shadow Lake it'd be all downhill to Reds.
              > >> >
              > >> > The next day my son was also in bad shape and said that he hadn't eaten the night before. It took us four hours to climb out of shadow lake. The downhill started off well, but I still handn't had a nibble of food, and my energy level was zero. By early afternoon I couldn't take water anymore and knew I was in trouble.
              > >> >
              > >> > About three miles out of Reds I hit the wall. At the slightest uphill I could take only a few steps at a time and stop. But I was determined to get out under my own power.
              > >> >
              > >> > I had by this time decided that we'd go to Mammoth to get lower and perhaps get to a doctor, and it was after five when we reached the Soda Springs ranger station and saw a beautiful sight: the Mammoth shuttle.
              > >> >
              > >> > I was able to drink a coke when I got into town and later ate a little bit. After spending a day at Mammoth I recovered, but we decided that we'd call it a hike and come back to continue where we left off next year.
              > >> >
              > >> > Lessons learned:
              > >> >
              > >> > 1) "2-3 days to acclimatize" means 3 days if you're coming from sea level. Our decision to start at Tuolumne and go early was a very bad one.
              > >> >
              > >> > 2) Altitude sickness isn't an inconvenience. Your condition will deteriorate until you reach lower altitudes or get supplemental oxygen. Period. If you get it you have to get down.
              > >> >
              > >> > 3) We need to be much more careful about nutrition planning and ensure that the food we have works. I believe that much of the problem I had was due to the protein drink, and we did not have good options for liquid energy when I stopped being able to take solids.
              > >> >
              > >> > 4) Test EVERYTHING before you go. We might have discovered the protein drink problem before the hike.
              > >> >
              > >> > 5) Don't just take the JMT map with you. You never known when you might need to look for an out, and heading down a trail without a map is a bad plan.
              > >> >
              > >> > Bottom line: it was still a great experience for my kids and I. That's just how awesome the JMT is. Next time we will be more careful.
              > >> >
              > >> > Marty
              > >> >
              > >>
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
            • woodyrtt
              Marty, Thanks for your insightful posts. About meds: many are to protect you long term. That is, if you don t take them for a day or two - or even three
              Message 6 of 9 , Jul 14, 2013
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                Marty,
                Thanks for your insightful posts. About meds: many are to protect you long term. That is, if you don't take them for a day or two - or even three weeks on the trail - your health is not going to be adversely affected. For example, I have high blood pressure. 140/100 is not good long term, but for a day or two, it's no big deal. Hiking and other exercise naturally lowers that pressure to a better-than-average level, so I would not suffer were I to leave my BP meds at home while hiking the JMT. The same goes with cholesterol-lowering statins. It's keeping your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels low over the long haul that makes them valuable. If we needed to keep our LDL levels ideally low all the time, we would never have a steak or a chicken thigh (did you know poultry is really high in cholesterol?). Even the best cholesterol-reducing drugs will not prevent blood level spikes caused by our western eating habits. The point I'm making is that, if you're on some long-term meds the lack of which has no immediate effect, maybe you should consider leaving them home.
                Rod
                ps Though I once played one on TV, I'm not a doctor, so please consult yours before following any of my advice.

                --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "martypicco" <marty@...> wrote:
                >
                > After having seen a doctor and getting a blood test, it appears that I had a relatively rare reaction to cholesterol medication that caused my kidneys to start shutting down. The altitude, protein drink and medication are hard on kidneys, and the combination put me over the top. Fortunately there's no lasting consequences, but had I pressed on there would have been.
                >
                > I've done a bunch of reading since this incident, and I've discovered that all sorts of meds need to be discontinued or have their dosage modified before traveling to altitude: blood pressure, cholesterol, beta blockers, etc.
                >
                > So if you're on meds and living in the lowlands, you might want to check with your doctor before an extended trip at altitude, e.g. the JMT.
                >
                > Thanks for everyone's comments.
                >
                > Marty
                >
                > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Carolsteveyoung <carolsteveyoung@> wrote:
                > >
                > > You are a wise hiker, dad and trip leader.
                > >
                > > I have advised more than a few people over the years about carefully planning the start of a hike at altitude. However your blow by blow concise statement is more powerful than anything I've ever been able to cook up.
                > >
                > > One year on the JMT randomly met and hiked together with two MD researchers who were blood specialists, so naturally I questioned them about the mechanisms of acclimatizing to altitude and for their best advice. I was really looking forward to the inside scoop from the experts.
                > >
                > > You can probably guess they just said they live by the standard 1000 feet per night or you're living on (or over) the edge. Still it was good to have them say they live by that too.
                > >
                > > Thanks for posting here. You will have a blast when next you pick up the trail.
                > >
                > > Steve Young
                > > Geneva IL
                > >
                > >
                > > On Jul 5, 2013, at 2:08 PM, Steve Thaw <steven_thaw@> wrote:
                > >
                > > > Marty,
                > > > These may be symptoms of possible serious health issues. Please check with your doctor and get a complete physical exam plus blood test.
                > > > Best,
                > > > Steve Thaw
                > > >
                > > > From: Cynthia Harrell <cbharrell@>
                > > > To: "johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
                > > > Cc: "johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
                > > > Sent: Friday, July 5, 2013 5:42 AM
                > > > Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Bailing at Reds
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Yes, Marty, thanks for posting. Mistakes are just that: mistakes! Your 'fessing up speaks volumes of the kind of person you are and that you care about the rest of us.
                > > >
                > > > Cynthia
                > > >
                > > > Sent from my iPhone
                > > >
                > > > On Jul 5, 2013, at 4:08, "basecampbound" <kjonmyway@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > >>
                > > >> I don't post often, but I read each and every one! I applaud your candor in listing the mistakes you made. Your honest assessment will save someone like me, (who is planning for 2014) from making the same mistake. Thank you for your honesty and really appreciate you listing your experience.
                > > >>
                > > >> --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "martypicco" <marty@> wrote:
                > > >> >
                > > >> > We started our trip a week ago with the intention of going the distance, but wound up bailing at Reds. Here's what happened.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > As some of you might have surmised in my earlier posts, I prepared for the trip in less than a month, which was quite a scramble. Having done numerous 2-3 day trips in Yosemite over the years, I figured I could pull it off. One of the things that I shortchanged was food planning, and we wound up going with a last-minute choice of a protein drink to up our calorie and protein count. Someone on this list advised against unproven food on the trip, but we were out of time and went with it. Strike One.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > Then I made a rookie mistake. Coming from sea level, our plan was to spend a two nights in Tuolumne obtaining a permit, and then an additional night in Lyell before heading higher. However, when I checked the Ranger station on the afternoon of our arrival I had the first-time (mis)fortune of obtaining a permit on the spot with no waiting at all. We set out the next day. Strike Two.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > You don't get three strikes. The experienced among you know what's coming next.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > The climb on the exposed switchbacks leading up from Lyell fork were more difficult than I expected, and we wound up staying at a small lake at about 10K feet rather than pushing over the pass. I was a bit out of shape and expected to pay the price the first few days, but the first sign of trouble was that hours after relaxing at camp my resting heart rate was over 110 bpm. My older son also seemed to be struggling, though neither of us had nausea or headache.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > The next morning my heart rate was down to about 100 bpm and I was able to eat some breakfast, though I didn't finish. I had heard that it was normal not to be particularly hungry at first, so I didn't think much of it. We set off, with a plan to cross Donahue and Island passes and camp above Thousand Island Lake.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > We had a late start and made slow progress over Donahue, so it was mid afternoon when we were about halfway between Donahue and Island passess. I couldn't eat lunch and had felt very nauseous for the previous couple of hours when my body went into full revolt: diarrhea, vomiting, the works. I immediately lost energy, was very wobbly, though I (think) still had my wits about me. I couldn't tolerate anything but water.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > We decided to camp near Rush Creek, and I figured that if I spent some time resting and could get some food in me we'd be OK, but I also knew this could be altitude sickness and that the only thing to be done would be to go lower.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > The next morning I still couldn't eat, but going back didn't seem like a good option. (And I didn't have side maps that would have told me that Rush Creek trail might have been a good bailout option.) I figured if we could make Shadow lake we'd be a bit lower and then in striking distance of Reds, so we pressed on.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > We did make Shadow lake, but I still couldn't tolerate ANY solid food. I had some electrolyte powder which I had been able to add to water, but even this was difficult. I gagged taking asprin. I was feeling very bad, but once we made it out of Shadow Lake it'd be all downhill to Reds.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > The next day my son was also in bad shape and said that he hadn't eaten the night before. It took us four hours to climb out of shadow lake. The downhill started off well, but I still handn't had a nibble of food, and my energy level was zero. By early afternoon I couldn't take water anymore and knew I was in trouble.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > About three miles out of Reds I hit the wall. At the slightest uphill I could take only a few steps at a time and stop. But I was determined to get out under my own power.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > I had by this time decided that we'd go to Mammoth to get lower and perhaps get to a doctor, and it was after five when we reached the Soda Springs ranger station and saw a beautiful sight: the Mammoth shuttle.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > I was able to drink a coke when I got into town and later ate a little bit. After spending a day at Mammoth I recovered, but we decided that we'd call it a hike and come back to continue where we left off next year.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > Lessons learned:
                > > >> >
                > > >> > 1) "2-3 days to acclimatize" means 3 days if you're coming from sea level. Our decision to start at Tuolumne and go early was a very bad one.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > 2) Altitude sickness isn't an inconvenience. Your condition will deteriorate until you reach lower altitudes or get supplemental oxygen. Period. If you get it you have to get down.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > 3) We need to be much more careful about nutrition planning and ensure that the food we have works. I believe that much of the problem I had was due to the protein drink, and we did not have good options for liquid energy when I stopped being able to take solids.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > 4) Test EVERYTHING before you go. We might have discovered the protein drink problem before the hike.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > 5) Don't just take the JMT map with you. You never known when you might need to look for an out, and heading down a trail without a map is a bad plan.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > Bottom line: it was still a great experience for my kids and I. That's just how awesome the JMT is. Next time we will be more careful.
                > > >> >
                > > >> > Marty
                > > >> >
                > > >>
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > >
                >
              • krishna9012
                Marty: Thanks for a honest description of what happens 1. if you dont properly acclimatize (this year sleeping at Mammoth for two nights), 2. you dont try the
                Message 7 of 9 , Jul 15, 2013
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                  Marty:
                  Thanks for a honest description of what happens

                  1. if you dont properly acclimatize (this year sleeping at Mammoth for two nights),
                  2. you dont try the foods you intend to eat on the trail (add beer and chips at VVR to make one very sick in tummy in the night) and
                  3. dont have proper JMT exit strategies (now I carry crib sheet and my reading glasses)

                  All three happened to me in earlier years. Thanks for the reminder.
                  Krishna

                  --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "woodyrtt" <rod.tayler@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Marty,
                  > Thanks for your insightful posts. About meds: many are to protect you long term. That is, if you don't take them for a day or two - or even three weeks on the trail - your health is not going to be adversely affected. For example, I have high blood pressure. 140/100 is not good long term, but for a day or two, it's no big deal. Hiking and other exercise naturally lowers that pressure to a better-than-average level, so I would not suffer were I to leave my BP meds at home while hiking the JMT. The same goes with cholesterol-lowering statins. It's keeping your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels low over the long haul that makes them valuable. If we needed to keep our LDL levels ideally low all the time, we would never have a steak or a chicken thigh (did you know poultry is really high in cholesterol?). Even the best cholesterol-reducing drugs will not prevent blood level spikes caused by our western eating habits. The point I'm making is that, if you're on some long-term meds the lack of which has no immediate effect, maybe you should consider leaving them home.
                  > Rod
                  > ps Though I once played one on TV, I'm not a doctor, so please consult yours before following any of my advice.
                  >
                  > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "martypicco" <marty@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > After having seen a doctor and getting a blood test, it appears that I had a relatively rare reaction to cholesterol medication that caused my kidneys to start shutting down. The altitude, protein drink and medication are hard on kidneys, and the combination put me over the top. Fortunately there's no lasting consequences, but had I pressed on there would have been.
                  > >
                  > > I've done a bunch of reading since this incident, and I've discovered that all sorts of meds need to be discontinued or have their dosage modified before traveling to altitude: blood pressure, cholesterol, beta blockers, etc.
                  > >
                  > > So if you're on meds and living in the lowlands, you might want to check with your doctor before an extended trip at altitude, e.g. the JMT.
                  > >
                  > > Thanks for everyone's comments.
                  > >
                  > > Marty
                  > >
                  > > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Carolsteveyoung <carolsteveyoung@> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > You are a wise hiker, dad and trip leader.
                  > > >
                  > > > I have advised more than a few people over the years about carefully planning the start of a hike at altitude. However your blow by blow concise statement is more powerful than anything I've ever been able to cook up.
                  > > >
                  > > > One year on the JMT randomly met and hiked together with two MD researchers who were blood specialists, so naturally I questioned them about the mechanisms of acclimatizing to altitude and for their best advice. I was really looking forward to the inside scoop from the experts.
                  > > >
                  > > > You can probably guess they just said they live by the standard 1000 feet per night or you're living on (or over) the edge. Still it was good to have them say they live by that too.
                  > > >
                  > > > Thanks for posting here. You will have a blast when next you pick up the trail.
                  > > >
                  > > > Steve Young
                  > > > Geneva IL
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > On Jul 5, 2013, at 2:08 PM, Steve Thaw <steven_thaw@> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > > Marty,
                  > > > > These may be symptoms of possible serious health issues. Please check with your doctor and get a complete physical exam plus blood test.
                  > > > > Best,
                  > > > > Steve Thaw
                  > > > >
                  > > > > From: Cynthia Harrell <cbharrell@>
                  > > > > To: "johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
                  > > > > Cc: "johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com>
                  > > > > Sent: Friday, July 5, 2013 5:42 AM
                  > > > > Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: Bailing at Reds
                  > > > >
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Yes, Marty, thanks for posting. Mistakes are just that: mistakes! Your 'fessing up speaks volumes of the kind of person you are and that you care about the rest of us.
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Cynthia
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Sent from my iPhone
                  > > > >
                  > > > > On Jul 5, 2013, at 4:08, "basecampbound" <kjonmyway@> wrote:
                  > > > >
                  > > > >>
                  > > > >> I don't post often, but I read each and every one! I applaud your candor in listing the mistakes you made. Your honest assessment will save someone like me, (who is planning for 2014) from making the same mistake. Thank you for your honesty and really appreciate you listing your experience.
                  > > > >>
                  > > > >> --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "martypicco" <marty@> wrote:
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > We started our trip a week ago with the intention of going the distance, but wound up bailing at Reds. Here's what happened.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > As some of you might have surmised in my earlier posts, I prepared for the trip in less than a month, which was quite a scramble. Having done numerous 2-3 day trips in Yosemite over the years, I figured I could pull it off. One of the things that I shortchanged was food planning, and we wound up going with a last-minute choice of a protein drink to up our calorie and protein count. Someone on this list advised against unproven food on the trip, but we were out of time and went with it. Strike One.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > Then I made a rookie mistake. Coming from sea level, our plan was to spend a two nights in Tuolumne obtaining a permit, and then an additional night in Lyell before heading higher. However, when I checked the Ranger station on the afternoon of our arrival I had the first-time (mis)fortune of obtaining a permit on the spot with no waiting at all. We set out the next day. Strike Two.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > You don't get three strikes. The experienced among you know what's coming next.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > The climb on the exposed switchbacks leading up from Lyell fork were more difficult than I expected, and we wound up staying at a small lake at about 10K feet rather than pushing over the pass. I was a bit out of shape and expected to pay the price the first few days, but the first sign of trouble was that hours after relaxing at camp my resting heart rate was over 110 bpm. My older son also seemed to be struggling, though neither of us had nausea or headache.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > The next morning my heart rate was down to about 100 bpm and I was able to eat some breakfast, though I didn't finish. I had heard that it was normal not to be particularly hungry at first, so I didn't think much of it. We set off, with a plan to cross Donahue and Island passes and camp above Thousand Island Lake.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > We had a late start and made slow progress over Donahue, so it was mid afternoon when we were about halfway between Donahue and Island passess. I couldn't eat lunch and had felt very nauseous for the previous couple of hours when my body went into full revolt: diarrhea, vomiting, the works. I immediately lost energy, was very wobbly, though I (think) still had my wits about me. I couldn't tolerate anything but water.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > We decided to camp near Rush Creek, and I figured that if I spent some time resting and could get some food in me we'd be OK, but I also knew this could be altitude sickness and that the only thing to be done would be to go lower.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > The next morning I still couldn't eat, but going back didn't seem like a good option. (And I didn't have side maps that would have told me that Rush Creek trail might have been a good bailout option.) I figured if we could make Shadow lake we'd be a bit lower and then in striking distance of Reds, so we pressed on.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > We did make Shadow lake, but I still couldn't tolerate ANY solid food. I had some electrolyte powder which I had been able to add to water, but even this was difficult. I gagged taking asprin. I was feeling very bad, but once we made it out of Shadow Lake it'd be all downhill to Reds.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > The next day my son was also in bad shape and said that he hadn't eaten the night before. It took us four hours to climb out of shadow lake. The downhill started off well, but I still handn't had a nibble of food, and my energy level was zero. By early afternoon I couldn't take water anymore and knew I was in trouble.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > About three miles out of Reds I hit the wall. At the slightest uphill I could take only a few steps at a time and stop. But I was determined to get out under my own power.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > I had by this time decided that we'd go to Mammoth to get lower and perhaps get to a doctor, and it was after five when we reached the Soda Springs ranger station and saw a beautiful sight: the Mammoth shuttle.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > I was able to drink a coke when I got into town and later ate a little bit. After spending a day at Mammoth I recovered, but we decided that we'd call it a hike and come back to continue where we left off next year.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > Lessons learned:
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > 1) "2-3 days to acclimatize" means 3 days if you're coming from sea level. Our decision to start at Tuolumne and go early was a very bad one.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > 2) Altitude sickness isn't an inconvenience. Your condition will deteriorate until you reach lower altitudes or get supplemental oxygen. Period. If you get it you have to get down.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > 3) We need to be much more careful about nutrition planning and ensure that the food we have works. I believe that much of the problem I had was due to the protein drink, and we did not have good options for liquid energy when I stopped being able to take solids.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > 4) Test EVERYTHING before you go. We might have discovered the protein drink problem before the hike.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > 5) Don't just take the JMT map with you. You never known when you might need to look for an out, and heading down a trail without a map is a bad plan.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > Bottom line: it was still a great experience for my kids and I. That's just how awesome the JMT is. Next time we will be more careful.
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >> > Marty
                  > > > >> >
                  > > > >>
                  > > > >
                  > > > >
                  > > > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  >
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