the situation

it was the morning of day 8 on my colorado trail hike. as soon as i woke up, i sensed something wasn’t quite right. “why can i see my cheeks?” i thought. i went about my morning routine and finally got to a point where it began to bother me. i shot this pic as i had no mirror. i had some seriously unusual puffiness happening.

i was pretty sure it would abate as the day wore on, but not knowing what had caused it and if it would recur and worsen or not was weighing on my mind as i put my pack on and began hiking. i thought maybe i had contacted something i was allergic to, but had no idea what it could have been. it did dissipate over a few hours and the next morning i was back to my usual mug shot.

campsites on the colorado trail

it’s a hike in steep and high mountains; with lots of rocks. there really aren’t that many flat and level campsites. at least not at the times that i need to stop and set up camp. i think i got to sleep on truly level ground a handful of times. i usually throw down the ground sheet and then take a look at how it’s lying as sometimes the ground can have a deceptively unapparent slope.

what happened was

the night before the morning of the situation, i set up camp on what i thought was fairly level terrain. and it was fairly level. i lay down to sleep but, something didn’t quite feel right. i had the distinct sensation that my head was below my feet. not by much. maybe a degree or two. i even got up twice and exited the tent to look around and see if it was real or just my imagination. i couldn’t see any slope. but, i could definitely feel it. it would have been about 30 minutes of work to turn the tent around. i finally decided it wasn’t important and just crawled back into the sleeping bag and fell asleep.

apparently it was important. i can only surmise that my feet being just ever so slightly above my head caused fluid to accumulate in my face causing the puffiness. i was much more careful after that to ensure that my head was always above my feet.

in the 3 weeks i was on trail, that was the only episode of puffiness in my face

i read a quote from a wild mustang horse trainer which i’ll paraphrase:

good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.

trail lesson learned: always sleep with your head above your feet.

Published On: 2022 September 6

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