Namaste Nepal.

It is difficult to recap the last 4 weeks in Nepal, 19 days with my trekking group, 14 days on the mountain. I feel blessed to have seen the Himalayas. It has been one of the most beautiful and majestic places I have ever been.

It was a challenging trek as I became increasingly sick every day. My cold started before I arrived to Nepal, and I never gave myself the time to recover and rest. We pushed harder and higher every day, finally reaching Everest Base Camp at 18,000 feet. I tried every type of medication in two weeks, finally starting anitbiotics on our descent.

I washed my hair (not very well) in an aluminium bowl on Day 9, only because it started to dread. I gave myself a birthday present of washing my hair with hot water and a taking a shower on the last day of our trek, Day 14.

We were invited to our trip leader’s home in Namache, where he shared with us, stories of his family, his culture and his journey from being a monk to a trip leader.

We played cards most evenings, struggling to stay awake past 8 p.m.

In October, Nepal celebrates a Hindu festival for the entire month (children are off from school), but only offers one day off for Buddhists and Muslim holidays.

Porters earn $7-$12 a day carrying 50-115 kilos. Everything is carried up the mountain, from plywood to kerosene.

I bought a snickers bar and a can of Pringles at a tea lodge above 14,000 feet. The cost equaled half a nights rent.

I walked above tree line.

I played tag at 16,000 feet on the trail and was left winded after sprinting only 50 meters.

Sherpa with a capital S refers to a people. s with a lower case refers to a guide.

After this trip, I recognize my limit for winter camping is likely 7 consecutive days, not 14. I should have brought with me my alpine jacket and I should have spent more money on a warmer sleeping bag. I pushed myself through my sickness, likely by sheer will to get to Everest and it was an incredible experience that I will have for the rest of my life.

I already feel as if I left my heart in the Himalayas, mostly with my favorite mountains Pumori, and Ama Damblam. Maybe I might return one day to summit.

I miss our new Nepali friends already, our chef, helpers, guides and staff – all who lead us to safety and cared for us like family.

Next up Hong Kong… pictures from trek coming soon, when I have better wi-fi.

11,000 ft or 3440 m

Lukla to Namche
altitude 3440 m or 11,000 feet

Today was a 6 hour hike, 10 miles, difficult at times. I have been very impressed by the porters on the trail. They carry upwards of 50 kg. and do not complain about the work. Never before have I ever felt so privileged. Their livelihood is dependent on tourism and carrying the weight of the West.

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Zop Kyo (yak-cows)

Some people spend their ruppees buying gifts and souvenirs, I pay for wi-fi.

We flew from Kathmandu to Lukla in a Twin Otter plane on Tara airlines (27 minute flight). Lukla is the beginning of our hike. Lukla was the shortest runway I have ever seen. Landing requires skill as you enter from a cliff, land uphill and if you don’t stop in time, you slam into a rock wall.

For 14 trekkers, we have 23 porters and guides. They carry in everything we need for our hike. Kitchen utensils, cooking tools, pots, pans, food, tents, sleeping pads. It is a very plush experience. I am definitely not roughing it. I feel well cared for. We share the trail with yaks, yak-cow mix (zop kyo), mules, and other animals. The guides make sure we are safe at all times.

There are 2-3 men who are yak-cow drivers. The yak-cows mostly carry our duffle bags and tents. We also have a chef and an assistant chef. They make the most amazing meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am eating better on this trip than I have ever eaten on any of my travels. I also have enjoyed Nepalese food because they have many vegetarian options.

Lots of photos to come, when there is stronger wi-fi available.

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Going dark… to Base Camp

Wish me luck, send positive thoughts – I am on my way to base camp, ascending 18,000 feet, round trip in 14 days.  I have never before not showered, camped consecutively for such a long period or been above 12,000 feet.  I am considering taking Diamox, a prescription to help with altitude sickness, however the side effect is you have to urinate frequently and who wants to pull down their pants in sub zero degree weather on a mountain.  I will try to post messages when I can but internet on the mountain may be expensive.  See you back on October 30.