Remember that travel tip post in which I lauded the benefits of having a big breakfast during a trip. Yes, this one. I would now like to amend that. Know yourself and your weaknesses and limitations and plan accordingly. For me, that means eat a lot, get some caffeine, and realize that you come from a flat place at sea level.
Let me back up. I recently took a trip to Arizona/Utah and had an absolutely wonderful time and I cannot wait to share pictures, tips, and stories with you guys! But it has been awhile since I have been on such a physically taxing vacation, so I was a little out of practice. On my first day, I had a wonderful and large breakfast (omelets, hash browns, the works...). But in my excitement for seeing the Grand Canyon, we bypassed lunch. Halfway through one of the trails, most likely due to a plethora of reasons ( lack of food, no caffeine consumption, the cold) I got a massive migraine.
Here is the thing. I normally drink a lot of chai (which is difficult to make when you are on a trip), snack a lot, and eat early lunches. Plus, I am not accustomed to the cold (the Grand Canyon was doing this thing when it kept threatening to rain and would get really windy). I tried to remedy my migraine with an Advil, and some snacks. I even downed an entire ice cream in the cold and I don't even like ice cream.
I learned my lesson. Determined not to feel sick for the rest of the trip, I downed down bitter hotel coffee in the morning and kept eating enormous breakfasts. Since stops in Arizona and Utah are far and I don't like overspending on food, I would buy a sandwich from Subway in the morning (with copious amounts of guacamole) and eat my soggy sandwich later when I was hungry. And it worked!
This also applies to physical limitations as well. I am from Florida which is flat and at sea level; the terrain is completely the opposite of Arizona and Utah. So, I didn't try to be too over adventurous and tackle the harder hikes. Did I miss out on some views? Probably. But who says I can't go back when I am in better shape to tackle it? All of the parks I went to talked about the dangers of overexertion and dehydration. Also, on a related note, don't get so close to the edge - is that picture really worth it? Don't do anything silly or risky for a photo. I saw a woman twist her ankle at Horseshoe Bend. Be smart, people. Please. Know thyself and understand that Nature is a force to be reckoned with.