Monthly Archives: July 2015

Altitude Adjustment Part Two: Sleeping at Altitude

altitudeadjustmentSome great friends offer to lend me their oxygen generator, for free.  While I was not planning on renting or buy one for HR, I decided to take them up on their generous offer.

Altitude Sleep System

Their altitude system came from Higher Peak.  What I borrowed from my friends:


This is the Mountain Air Generator. The version that I borrowed and used was the MAG-7, which is no longer offered. Higher Peak now has the MAG-20.  The MAG is an air separator, producing low-oxygen (hypoxic) air by taking in fresh air and removing some of the oxygen.  The low-oxygen air can be used for various types of altitude training.The air produced is clean, cool, filtered, and fresh.  The generator has a loud noise and produces heat.

I started out with a face mask. I immediately hated it and felt claustrophobic.  I then ordered the Snowcap canopy from Higher Peak.



The snow cap canopy was PVC piping, easy to assemble.  You then throw the tent over the piping. There is a chain sewn into the canopy in the front, so the part where you wiggle under stays down. It is not unpleasant.



I kept a running diary of my experience in the Snow Canopy.  I had a pulse oximeter, to measure both my oxygen saturation level and my resting heart rate.



My Altitude Tent Diary:

Night One: Set altitude for 5000 feet. SpO2 92, resting heart rate 62.  A difficult night. If it’s your first night sleeping in a plastic tent,  you will not fall asleep right off the bat. Lots of tossing and turning. The oxygen generator noise does not help. The generator also generates heat. I also had a fan in the window. I wonder what our electricity bill will look like for June. I had a horrible run the next day.

Night Two June 1 5000 ft altitude setting. Was tired at bedtime, so slept much better. Much better sleep than Night one. 8 hours. Run on Tuesday was good.
Night 2 5000 ft. 8 hours sleep, slept well again.
Night 3 Changed to 6000 ft altitude?  Need to look at settings. slept ok again. Run on Thursday good.
Night 5 June 4 Changed settings to 6500 feet above sea level. Slept fine.
Night 6 June 5 Changed settings to 7300 feet above sea level. Slept fine. I’ve been very tired this week, sleep has been coming easily. Woke up with slight headache.
Night June 7 Changed to 7400 feet elevation. AC on, consequently room way too warm. Opened window for fan, still a warm night, not good quality sleep.
June 10 Changed to 8000 feet, hot night, had to turn fan up to high, didn’t sleep well until almost morning.

Also had mild “hangover” symptoms at work for several hours. Made sure I drank plenty of water on these days.  Note: these are common mild acute mountain sickness symptoms.

Tried to turn settings higher than “7”. The MAG-7 does not go higher than setting 7.

(The MAG-7 is no longer made, Higher Peaks only sells the MAG-10, which does have settings higher than 7. They now have the MAG-20 also.)

June 11 turned settings back to 7300 ft. Slept well-fell asleep, did not wake up until dawn. Woke up irritable.
June 12/13 no tent. regular bed June 12 for three hours, then  slept in vehicle June 13
June 14 back to 7400 ft. slept okay. room warm even with AC on and fan.
June 15 settings back to 8000 feet. slept okay. power flickered off, MAG-7 gave a loud beep which, with the fan also going off, let me know it was off-line. The Snowcap canopy is not a “sealed” system, there are no worries that you are going to suffocate or anything even close to that.
June 16 settings at 8000 ft, cool night, fan on, slept fine.

June 18 settings to 13.9% oxygen, simulated 8900 ft. Slept awful. Reduced airflow to canopy, very dry air. Hot/cold all night long. Weird long nightmare dreams. Oxygen level 88 per pulse ox. Higher Peak recommends keeping air flow at 100, for the Snowcap canopy. To reduce the oxygen to 13.9%, I had to turn down the air flow to 80.

Jun 19 changed settings to 8000 feet. OK sleep.
June 20 8000 feet. fitful night. tired of sleeping in the canopy. oxygen level 88, rhr 58 per pulse ox.  Last night sleeping in canopy. Left town the next day for a week in Napa on family vacation.
Was the four weeks or so worth the effort? At this time, still back in the East, I do not know.  With the free loan of the MAG, I had about $300 dollars in buying the Snowcap Canopy.  Should I have used it right up to when I left for Colorado? Sure, normal circumstances I would have.
Part Three of the Series will be how I feel in Silverton again, did the acclimation in the Snowcap canopy help any of my adjustment to altitude. Time will tell!


Napa Winery Vacation Day Four

Day Four of our Napa Winery Vacation


We decided to do the Enoteca again at Signorello Estate.

This is a four course food and wine pairing over two hours. It was very good-again.



 Pine Ridge

Our next stop was close by to Signorello, Pine Ridge. They had some tasty wines, but we didn’t feel compelled to buy any 80-120 dollar bottles of wine.



Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar

Last stop of the day was Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar. They had built a brand new tasting room from our last visit in 2010.





Stag’s Leap, in case you have never heard of the “Judgement of 76” was where two wines from California was judged in a blind taste test-in France-with French judges-and came out on top. This really put California wines on the same level with French wines.

“The unthinkable happened. The 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon – the first vintage produced with grapes from vines a mere three years old – was judged the best. The Cabernet had bested four top-ranked Bordeaux, including first-growths Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Haut-Brion.”




The old Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar Tasting Room 2010

Another great vacation spent in Napa!

Run Around Napa

I was able to get out for a run around Napa just about every morning of our winery vacation trip.

I love being able to go see the sights without a car. This is how I found where our restaurants where that we had reservations for.


This was Ristorante Allegria. This was probably my best meal in Napa. Other than the music being a bit too loud (yes I’m old)  it was a great meal.


The Bounty Hunter is both a wine bar and restaurant. We had a good BBQ dinner there. They also have good prices on wine. This is a good place to buy a bottle of wine or two to take back to your room.


The rest of my photos downtownart

are just scenes on my four mile run around downtown Napa. Enjoy!






Napa Wine Vacation Day Three

On Day Three of our Napa Wine Vacation we again went on a Platypus Wine Tour.  Different driver, different fellow wine drinkers, and different vineyards on this day.

Our first winery was Hopper Creek-which we had actually visited five years ago on Platypus. We recognized both our host, Dan, and the small tasting room.

hopper hopperred

The next spot was Tudal Wineyards, where, guess what, we had visited five years ago!


Here’s proof!

Napa 2010

Napa 2010



Next stop was Razi Wineyard. The wine was good, but we did not buy any wine there.  There were giant artichokes outside.




St Clair Brown The last stop was back in Napa proper. I had run by this greenhouse and structure earlier in the day, wondering what it was. We started with a little non-alcoholic drink at the greenhouse, then moved across the street to an industrial building.








There are rules in Napa about having food/restaurants in wineries. St Clair Brown, by moving their winery into the city of Napa, will be able to have food-wine-and beer. Here is their vision:


This area is right by the railbed. There are big hotels right on the other side of the street.  The area is full of auto body shops and auto glass repair-so, it probably will be a good spot to buy property at a fair (for Napa prices) price.  It will be interesting to revist St Clair Brown in a few years and seeing it complete.


Trails in Napa!


Today was a day to do a little trail running in Napa. I decided to find the park that I spotted on the map. My only concern was getting across the highway, but I found there was a sidewalk across the bridge.

One mile down the road from our hotel is Westwood Hills Park. Address:

 Westwood Hills Park
3107 Browns Valley Rd, Napa, CA 94558


Westwood Hills Park

My little online googling had told me that there were many intersecting trails. I started up the first one to my right, making sure to watch my turns, in case I needed to just retrace my steps backward.


Nice steep climb to the summit of the hill with some great views!

   Yay, dirt trails! trailtosummit





Some great views from the top of the hill



View to the west



A bit hazy but already hot at 7am





Vineyard right next to the trail


I was able to look down into the city of Napa and see the highway, so I knew the trail back, so  I did not have to backtrack.


I caught some movement in the bushes next to me, and slowed down. Sure enough, saw two deer in the woods!

This was a nice little park to run around in, it felt good to get some strain and burning on my calves as I power hiked up the steep hills.  I’ve been able to get runs in on almost all our Napa vacation days!

Napa Winery Vacation Day Two



We went with Platypus Tours again this trip. We have fun with them five years ago, and had another great trip this time.

First up was McKenzie-Muellel Vineyards, where my husband surprised me by buying a Sauvignon Blanc.  We also  bought several other varietals, as your tasting fee of $15 is waved if you purchase wine from the estate.McKenzie Mueller Vineyards



A huge rosemary shrub

Next up was Laird Estate where we also had our picnic lunch:



Laird Estate

At Laird Estate we got a nice educational tour of a larger working vineyard.


The third vineyard was ZD VIneyard over on the Silverado Trail:


These wines were okay. We did taste an Arneis wine, a varietal we never had before.  This is one cool aspect of visiting a winery, you  may taste wines that are not sold off the property.

Arnies Varietal ZD Wines


But since they didn’t waive the tasting fee for a bottle purchase, we chose not to buy any wine here.


Last vineyard was Merryvale in St Helena:



This was a cool tasting building but we did not see any need to buy any wine there.



A Platypus tour covers 4 wineries and about six hours of time.  There is a picnic lunch provided, at one of the winery stops, and lots of lots of water to drink along the way.  I would highly recommend giving Platypus a go if you are looking to experience wine country without the stress of driving yourself.