Just remembering to put one foot in front of the other
Today we hiked as high as 4700 meters. The air is definitely thinner and we are all breathing harder but getting up to this point is amazing - well worth the effort. The days are getting long and for the past few days of hiking, I've found it hard to focus on anything but the boots in front of me ... just remembering to take one step and then another step. This hike is by no means easy and a lot of endurance is necessary. Although I still find myself in the first "fast" group, it is still a tedious climb up the mountain. Some days we are climbing mostly up, other days we go down valleys and then up again. This is a concern as the way back will not be easy by any means.
Three days ago we left Namche Bazaar, heading toward Khumjung. Unfortunately we still weren't blessed by the weather and found ourselves staring out into a thick fog were Everest should be, so some imagination was necessary!
The next morning we left for a relatively long hike. But the long trek, and being in the first group really paid off - as we arrived at our destination, Tengbouche, we caught our first quick glimpse of Everest... What an amazing sight! Unfortunately,the slower groups missed the sight this evening as clouds quickly took over.
But yesterday morning ... wow! I woke up at the usual 5am to an amazing view outside my "room." Everest and all the mountain ranges just crystallizing through the fog. It is so hard to describe it. Every direction you turn there are the most amazing mountain ranges. Before leaving, we were blessed by the local Buddhist Llama and off we went for another long hike. Yesterday we arrived in Pherishe (at aprox. 4200 meters) and are still here acclimatizing until tomorrow morning.
Today's acclimatization hike to 4700 meters was unbelievable - amazing mountain ranges in every direction. They are so sharp and magnificent that it seems we can just reach out and touch them! In fact, I think they are relatively close as we are only 2 days away from our destination at Everest Base Camp!
Most of the group are having some trouble with the altitude - whether it's as little as stomach upsets or headaches or more problematic for some such as feeling completely exhausted in bed or fainting or fever. It is scary that two of our fittest hikers were feeling quite ill. As for me, I'm still surprisingly ok (just a little short of breath at times which is normal at this altitude) but I can't take it for granted as anything can happen here. Many people have a loss of appetite and are not eating much, whereas I'm eating more than I've ever had to keep my energy levels up. But everyone assures me I am still burning more calories than I can ever eat during these long days. In the evenings we generally play cards or tell stories - it is amazing to speak to Werner about all the mountains he's summited, including how he reached the summit of Everest.