Today was to the start of the big 3 day journey over the Throng La Pass and it didn’t start well. Despite sleeping better than the previous night I woke up with a dull headache in my right temple and felt very lethargic. To top this off my muscles also felt stiff, probably a result of running back to Manang the previous day. The walk to Gunung (3,900m) was much more strenuous than it had been the day before taking around 2 ½ hours instead of the 1 hour and 10 mins it had taken the day before.
The scenery was of course again fantastic but I found it hard to focus on anything other my headache and my higher than usual fatigue. Oh yes altitude was very much taking effect today. The walk to Yak Kharka from Gunung was relatively flat and short but seemed to take forever as my headache increased from slight and dull to intense and violent. My head felt like it was going to explode and in many ways that was exactly what was happening. The lack of oxygen in air due to increased altitude was causing my brain to swell and crush against my
skull, which in turn was giving me a hideously debilitating headache.
By Yak Kharka I was not feeling well at all, I was finding it difficult to talk and it took all my concentration to walk. At this point KC my guide gave me some raw garlic which he told me was a good cure for altitude sickness. Raw garlic? Really? It was a short walk from Yak Kharka to Ledar our final destination for the night and a full 700m above Manang. I was by this point feeling marginally better (maybe the garlic does work afterall!) but was certainly not on top form.. As I ate lunch I started to feel a little worse, not a good sign. I ate another large clove of garlic after lunch and then went to my room to rest. At this point I knew that if things didn’t improve soon then I would have to take a mule to lower altitude and thus give up my ambitions of crossing the pass and completing the trek. It was crushing to think that this could all come to a disappointing anticlimactic finish today and signal the end of any future high altitude trekking.
However, it was not to be a day for an anticlimax, not when the gods of garlic were watching over me. Over the next 40 minuets I was blessed with a garlic powered miracle which took away all of my symptoms. The feeling of joy and relief was overwhelming, much like when you suddenly feel better after a New Years eve hangover, but times 10 the relief and happiness! I decided to go for a trek to celebrate my new found fitness. Although further challenges lay ahead The Throng La Pass was once again very much on. You may think it foolish that I went for a trek to higher altitude after feeling ill because of altitude, however one of the best ways to avoid altitude sickness is to climb high and sleep low, i.e trek higher than you plan to stay at night. I set off for what was originally to be a 30 min ramble and found myself 1 ½ hours later at 500m + altitude and very near Throng Pedi, foot of the Throng La pass and one of departure points for the trek over the pass. I find that I can cover large distances in the
afternoon when I trek by myself without a bag and had indeed done so this afternoon.
Despite gaining 500m altitude I did not feel the effect of altitude at all, by gaining a lot of altitude today I had had also seriously decreased my chances of my getting altitude sickness tomorrow, bonus. I slept reasonably well that evening although had to get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet which wasn’t fun considering the temperature was below zero and water in the toilet frozen solid.
Tomorrow was set to be another challenging day and I had the very real concern that I would suffer altitude problems again and not be able to make it. I was feeling anxious to say the least, but after my recovery today I had real hope that I would be able to overcome any problems.
Tot: 0.032s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 9; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0078s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb