Examining the effects of high altitude and alcohol.

A change of plans due to some gnarly weather around Kansas City means it’s at least one more day of recovery in Denver before Athens for 11Fest. And after how rowdy Denver got, I can definitely use the recovery. Or at least a lower altitude.

I’ve been spending a lot of my time here in Denver at a local coffee shop on Bannock and 10th where Ohio University graduate and gracious host, Megan Heileman, works: Rooster and Moon. Free wifi, strong coffee and fresh sandwiches like The VIP are just a few reasons to dig Rooster and Moon. They also have a nice selection of craft beers for patrons who think like I do: better after a drink or two. The Vinifera Stout, a beer brewed with grape juice, ended up being one of my favorites with a Guinness-y consistency and the tasty-but-not-sweet hint of grape. From my first brew at Rooster and Moon I knew that it would be a conducive environment for me to get work done. I did not know or fully appreciate then, though, that Colorado’s altitude would have me exceptionally dehydrated and drunk after only a few beers.

That first day in Denver, after a day of alternating between coffee and beer and ignoring the most important part of the liquid triangle, water, I was feeling miserable. Megan had been urging me since the moment I arrived to drink water but ach! I’ve been in Denver before. Who knows my body better than me, right? A long walk up to the Lower Highlands would teach me a thing or two about being so headstrong.

I’m not sure how long the walk actually was, maybe a couple miles, only a fraction of the distance of my longest journey in Austin, TX. But it was definitely the most ass-whooping.

Megan did most of the talking on the way up since every step and breath took a concentrated effort on my part. She joked that if she ever invited someone to Denver and they ended up with altitude poisoning after ignoring her warnings, they wouldn’t be invited back. Ha… We walked block after block and the whole time I kept thinking, “I’m going to pass out and Megan’s never going to invite me back hereCoors Field.”

Thankfully, I didn’t pass out. I would say thanks to Megan, but every time I asked if we could grab some water, she would say something to the effect of “no, I told you to drink water!” or “we’re almost there!”. Fair enough; I was warned. So, to reward myself for such a brave effort, I ordered the most amazing burger I have ever tasted: Highland Tap and Burger’s “TAP Burger,” a monster topped with onion ring, pulled pork, signature sauce and the optional cracked egg. Also, plenty of water.

Besides getting closer to passing out than I’ve ever been in my life, I’ve managed to check out a handful of Denver’s nightlife haunts and catch a Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field. PNC Park in Pittsburgh is my favorite MLB stadium I’ve ever been to still, but Coors Field’s Rocky Mountain view from along the first base line is definitely a unique attribute. Plus it was awesome to hear everyone cheer after the line “From the mountains…” when the song “America the Beautiful” was performed!

Oh and I puked outside a bar while out with a girl I met on my second to last night here. You’d think I would have already learned to expect a quicker response to alcohol from the altitude, but again, I know my body better, right? Wrong. Maybe next time I’m in Denver I’ll know better than to mix tequila and high altitude

Author: Eric White

Eric graduated Ohio University in 2012 with a degree in Advertising and immediately went out to San Diego, California to start not using his degree. At the start of 2013, Eric quit his job, let his lease run out and started backpacking North America. Eric has worked with Amtrak, Crowdtap, HootSuite and others, and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA... when not on the road.

Share This Post On

1 Comment

  1. Coors Field is awesome, but they totally copied us. PNC Park for liiiiiife!

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *