I know it’s been a while, and that’s because I’ve been deep within the foothills, as well as high above them in the Western Himalayan Range for the last 10 days. I never dreamed that I would see the himalayas in my entire life and to get to experience them first hand was quite an experience. Our starting altitude was 2000 meters (3.28 ft= 1m) and we ascended an average of 800 m a day the first 4 days. I believe our highest altitude was 5300m was atop a giant glacier…and believe me there is nothing quite like walking on a giant glacier. Remember that awful winter that you, my fellow NY’ers went thru this year that I so skillfully missed…well I more than made up for it on Memorial Day weekend. Walking thru snow on a 70% grade is not easy, especially when there is a 200 m drop below. Although on the last day on one on the drops the guide let me slide down the side of the moutnain….which was most exciting, especially since I was completely pooped from ascending it on the other side of the Pass. So we camped at 6 different locations and believe me it gets really cold at night in the mountains…especially when the sky is so clear and that’s when you learn the value of body heat. Anyhow, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. At any moment you feel like breaking into the Sound of Music…if it wweren’t for the fact that you are so short of breath! The weather was really nice. 70’s in the day and 20’s in the night. One of the most interesting things I saw, and this may sound dorky, was 2 sheperdesses. Sherpardesses! I mean, I’ve heard of them, but to actually see them in person! It was really cool. We also saw lots of Shepards as well. Lots of snow, wild flowers, cows, sheep, goats, and vultures. The valleys can be cruel and I saw several dead cows…not quite dead enough, if you get my drift. which was a little hard to take at first. And so quiet, especially at night. we barely saw any other people while out there and coming back today to electricity and cars was a bit of an adjustment. I think I did OK, but I have to say that trekking thru the Himalayas makes the Adirondacks look like…well, a walk thru the park. And unless you’ve ever experienced altitude sickness first hand you really can’t understand it. Although my wasn’t so bad that I saw Papa Smurf or heard rocks talking to me, I just got really light headed, dizzy and short of breath. ACtually I was wheezing the first few days and wishing I hadn’t quite smoking as it seems that smokwers do much better since they are already O2 deficient. Anyhow, by day 3 I had aclimatized, but the real problem was 1.) I started off the trekk with a miserable head/chest cold that produced copious amounts of thick yellow snot which required me to blow my nose 10,000 times a day, which was made even worse by the high altitude and by the end of the trek my nose was so dry and cracked it looked like it might fall off. 2) remember the bad egg in delhi????? well, it’s still around. i’m going to the Dr. tomorrow, but it might well be Salmonila poisening seeing as I was constantly nauseous, acidic, unappetetic, and puking most of the time…not a good combination when you are trekking thru one of the most challening mountain ranges in the world. and believe me, by day 4 my muscles could feel the lack of nutrition. 3.) I have 3 infected toes, 1 that is a step away from gangrene. BOY, I just sound like the poster child of health. On the flip side, between all the trekking and lack of food, I lost 10 pounds and 4 inches! Yeah! And I can proudly say that I completed the entire trek…maybe a bit behind my travel mate, but even he was surprised that I stuck it out! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention a few other highlights of the trip, like the fact that I learned that Horse Dung makes an excellent fire ingredient. One night when there was no wood available we made an entire fire out of it…with the help of a little kerosene. so ladies, the next time you’re walking thru Central Park, just think…I picked up that shit…literally. Also, on the final day after we went over the pass the terrain suddenly turned from a glacial tundra to a rocky, sand desert. to reach our finaly destination we had to scale the side of a rock cliff to reach the other side and you had to be very careful because if you slipped there was a 500 m drop that plopped you into an icy river (which we had crossed upstream! at 2 degrees C) which immediatly went underground!. And We’re talking McGyver rock scaling. Not so fun for a girl who’s 2 biggest fears are heights and falling. But once again, I still did it. So yes, I may not be the world’s fastest trekker, but I think I’m a trooper for making it through with all the above mentioned odds stacked against me…which by the way, is not a pity party. I just think it makes for more exciting reading and anyhow, I couldn’t very well vent all of that to 4 men, now could I? (“oh boohoo!!! put on your backpack and keep walking.”)
Anyhow, what can I say…after 10 days…I’ve almost got perfect dreds going…BOY, I can’t wait to take a shower!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You’re tired, achy, dirty, blistered, thinner, emotionally venting friend,