Everest Trek 2009 Journal For May 6th

Here’s the second journal entry from the Everest Trek. This entry is the first from the trail, and I found it interesting that I was concerned about how I’d handle the trekking the further in we got. The reality for me was, the higher we got the better I felt, the opposite of many others. Anyway, on with the entry…

Yesterday was spent in Kathmandu, visiting the largest Buddhist and Hindu temples, Swayambhunath and Pashputinath. Swayambhunath, the Buddhist temple, was a very powerful experience. I was so filled with joy and happiness that I was nearly in tears most of the time. Amazing. Pashputinath had several open-air cremations being conducted. The bodies are wrapped in cloth and burned right out in the open. Breathing in the smoke of the burning bodies was a powerful, if slightly surreal, experience. Seeing, and being photographed with, the Hindu holy men/shamans was also amazing.

Holy Man at Pashputinath

Today, we flew to Lukla and began the trek officially. The plane was very small and tight, and quite loud. And the runway in Lukla was astonishingly short, and right on the end of a cliff. Not for the faint of heart, I suppose.

Having arrived in the Himalayas now, it has become clear to me that no picture or movie or any words could ever describe the scale of things here. It simply must be seen with one’s own eyes, nothing else will suffice.

The trekking itself is challenging so far, and today was the easiest day! I’m hoping I will be able to keep up on the hard days. I suspect the lack of food in my system and lack of sufficient sleep is greatly magnifying things. Sleeping, as I’d feared, has been a real challenge. So far, not more than 3-4 hours at best. Thankfully I’ve been able to get some sleep aids to help knock me out, so hopefully that will turn around.

The food, however, is an all different challenge. My stomach is in knots tonight, to the point where I’ve had to skip diner. Eating in general has been difficult the last day or so, very hard to get things down. Not helped by the fact that I’ve not cared much for the trail food so far. Just not agreeing with me at all.

Jon Miller had gone above and beyond in helping me with these issues, so I am very much in his debt for this.

Looking back now, this was probably where Jon began moving into his role as a sort of caretaker for the trekkers. He kinda stepped aside and yielded the instruction/workshop aspects to Chris and really stepped up in helping take care of all of us, making sure we had as good a time on the trek as we could. He was invaluable in this role. I, for one, would probably not have made it through the whole trek without his help.