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Frostbite and altitude sickness were not exactly the sensations I had in mind when I started planning my Hawaiian vacation.
Yet there I was, listening to a safety briefing from Katie, a guide who was about to drive me and a small group of other tourists up to the 13,796-foot summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii. Pregnant women really shouldn’t do this trip, Katie warned us. Too dangerous. Neither should anyone under 16. And older people, forget about it.
Our group of satisfactorily athletic 30-somethings should be fine, Katie said. But if any of us got a little woozy or cold — even with all the extra layers we were instructed to pack alongside our bathing suits and flip flops — she had some spare oxygen and a set of heavy winter coats in her van.
Going from sea level in the town of Hilo, where it was a balmy 80 degrees, to the thin air above the tree line where there is 40 percent less oxygen and, on that afternoon in late March, a wind chill in the teens, was going to take some mental and physical acclimation. I was glad Katie was there in case I froze or fainted.
Arnott’s Lodge…leads tours of the island, and that’s how we connected with Katie.
Continue reading the full story at The New York Times