Published: July 17th 2011May 1st 2011
i now find myself looking at my un-updated travel blog with a certain disappointment at myself, however, i still find it difficult to make the time to sit down and write it..
its often the case that i find myself unwilling to get my camera to take photos of an occasion or sit and write a journal.. its strange, its seems that subconsciously i am too busy enjoying the moment that i perhaps do not want to alter it by doing things that are intended to preserve it..
most of the text below was written nearly 4 months ago with the intention of being blogged straight away.. this didnt happen.. there are 47 photos added with this blog, be sure to click the photos button if they arent all displayed..
the everest region trek was one of the most consistently difficult things i have ever done..
the mental challenge was the hurdle of this trek.. physically it is not -so- hard, however, the lack of the somewhat important oxygen in the air, combined with climbing occasionally very steep terrain, lugging 13-15kgs of backpack alone through the mountains, eating only nonsustaining food made for an interesting, enjoyable and rewarding
Getting there is half the fun..
fly to lukla, easy yeah? get a ticket, get on the plane and arrive.. in theory this is easy! in practice, the kathmandu domestic airport is one of the most amusing, chaotic and crazy places i have encountered.. around 50 people at any time literally RUNNING from point to point all weaving in and around each other carrying boxes, bags and sacks from place to place trying to ensure their position on the plane..
the time for my flight comes and goes.. no status change on the screen, other flights are going to the same place from both other companies and the same company as i have a ticket with, but my flight number is never called.. several times i ask what about my flight and i get brushed off with "soon soon! sit! wait!" eventually i ask another lady, she seems to have a sudden look of realisation and then makes a walky talky call to someone and tells me 'now now.. wait..' ...PROGRESS! by this stage it is an hour and a half after due departure.. about ten minutes pass when we get rushed out to a bus and
across the tarmac where a plane is getting unloaded of its luggage, ours is being put on and people are being told to hop back off the plane looking quite confused as to what is going on..
the only thing i can figure, they forgot to run the flight! and when they finally realised, they just put us onto the next plane leaving..
the plane its self was a small, bi propeller, 24seater with an open cockpit.. in a plane this small you feel EVERY bit of turbulence and it was quite an experience.. Before takeoff they give you some supplies for the flight, the hostess presents you with a tray containing cotton wool for your ears and lollies for your mouth..
lukla runway, about 1/4 of the length of a normal runway as it is on the edge of a cliff with a solid looking brick retaining wall at the other end, so you hope the pilot doesnt misjudge, only one chance at this landing! a steep incline has been added to the runway to assist slowing down for landing and help you get a roll start at take off (again the other end is a
massive dropoff.. so only one attempt at takeoff)
And the walking begins..
the next 9 days were spent lugging myself up the mountain.. i was generally trekking between 4 and 6 hours a day constantly cautious of my daily altitude gains to avoid altitude sickness.. i chose not to take the medication to help prevent altitude sickness and i chose to trek alone declining offers of guides or trekking companions..
it was not until i was at high altitudes that i realised how real the dangers of altitude sickness was.. i was told stories of many people getting emergency evacuations, as well as people dieing on the mountain.. these thoughts did worry me when i started to show the early symptoms of altitude sickness, headaches and not being able to sleep definitely had me worried for a couple of days, but by this time i was around 5000m altitude and i would be trekking to higher altitudes during the days and sleeping at around the same altitude for the next 4 nights so i decided to stay on plan.. hopeful, but aware of my symptoms and conscious of them intensifying..
on the recommendation of a group that
had completed the trek previously i chose to take the path less traveled which turned out to be an excellent choice.. often i was trekking for many hours without seeing another person, just me and the mountains..
only one day during my trek did i start to worry i might not walk in the right direction.. i came across a fork in the road, both paths looked possible.. i stood for a few minutes trying to decide '..left or right?' until i spotted the black dog i had seen earlier in the day.. follow the dog? surely the dog knows where it is going? what choice do i have?
..i follow the dog..
the dog was a good companion, his method of directing was to run a little way ahead, then wait for me just after a fork in the path so i could easily see him and knew which way he was going.. this went on for around 6 hours.. he sat patiently in sight while i stopped for the occasional break.. it was very nice of him to be so helpful and patient..
once the path became clear again, the dog was gone.. no goodbyes.. he just
left.. i was grateful to be well looked after..
the 9 day upward trek included summiting gokyo ri - a peak of 5357m, cho la pass 5420m, and kala pattar a peak of 5545 m.. at these altitudes the air is extremely thin, you are breathing quickly and deeply even when resting, your heart rate is extremely high and your blood oxygen is low.. during my time on the mountain i lost 12kgs.. in these conditions your body is working hard just to keep going, let alone carrying a backpack and climbing mountains..
after spending so long going up a hill, the idea of coming back down gets more and more appealing, the idea of eating some decent food, the idea of not being so cold and the idea of not trekking anymore all combine to form an incredibly driving and powerful force in your mind..
having these thoughts pushing you down a mountain turn a 9day upwards trek into 2 long exhausting days down..
back to lukla, and back to kathmandu..
..life is good and mountains are beautiful..
There are more photos below