I can’t believe it’s only been one day since yesterday. Our day started with a wake-up knock at 4:30am. I was glad that despite the coughing fits, I was able to get a decent amount of sleep. However, I wasnt ready to be up yet. Too bad I didnt really have a choice.
After attempting to force down a small breakfast, we were off towards the summit of Kala Patthar. To say that I was nervous was an understatement – I was nervous it would be too hard or I wouldnt be able to finish. It was hard, but not too hard. One of the guides was in front of me the whole time – he helped me fish out my heavy gloves (I thought it would warm up quicker, so had started out in my lighter gloves), he held the top of my water bottle so I could drink with my gloves on, and when we got to the top, he turned to me and said – just two more steps. And as with every other day on this trip, I did something I didnt think I’d be able to do – I made it up to the top of the 18,500 foot peak. I wasnt the first, I wasnt the last, but in the end, it didnt matter. All of us that set out that morning made it to the top.
And the view….it doesnt get much better than a completely unobstructed view of Everest – the Hilary step and the South Col. We took great photos and got some group and individual shots too. Definitely some of my favorite shots from the trip.
Then, we made our way down for what felt like the longest day of hiking ever. We had some tea and cookies in the lodge at Gorak Shep before we officially departed. It was hot…it was cold…we were pretty much too exhausted to eat lunch. Nine miles later, we reached our destination.
Once I reached my tent, I barely had the energy to dust myself off (literally) and change clothes. We had some tea and then we were off to the Himalayan Rescue Association Hospital. It was interesting to learn about the center, how many people they support – 600 trekkers each season, plus the locals they treat for free during that time. They’re completely funded through donations and receive no government support.
We had pizza for dinner again – this time with sausage, and spaghetti with yak cheese instead of parmesan cheese. I thought we were supposed to lose weight on this trip, but these cooks have been amazing. The things they come up with at several thousand feet of elevation.
After dinner, we had an interesting conversation with our guide about the expedition season ending and the sherpa strike, and he had a very different point of view than we thought. They’re concerned for the impact to the economy in Nepal – lodges, hotels, shops, etc. in future seasons, if people are afraid something similar might happen, and thus decide not to sign up.
Alright, today has drained pretty much all the energy I had, and the cough is kicking my butt. Off to sleep with my hot water bottle.
And…there are stray yaks. Awesome. But, luckily theyve put up a make shift metal fence to keep them out. Does that actually work? We shall see. And, there are some tied up in here with us, hopefully with a thick rope.