From the journal
As I travel, I keep a journal. This post is straight from the source – documenting the moments as I experienced them. It has been recorded on the blog on the date it was originally written.
Over lunch, Dawa convinced me to try. My body was so, so tired – but believing it’s mostly mind over matter, I agreed to go.
Thirty minutes into the climb, the trail flattens into a more-than-gradual uphill. At the official halfway point, I tapped out.
“I’m done, guys. I’m out.”
Watching the team walk away, I stuttered, considered continuing and – five steps later – realized I was really done.
I took a seat and caught my breath.
The others spent another 90 minutes climbing. They snapped a handful of photos at the top. Then, spent another hour sprinting down. The photos are beautiful, but I’m still so glad I stopped.
On a day when so much was so accomplished, I was served an amazing reality check.
Once the team left me, I found a rock in the distance to sit and enjoy the sunset. I sat for 45 minutes in the silence of the Himalayas – the brisk winds, rock slides raining down. Lupse. I snapped a few photos of the scene. Caught a few of Everest. Took a moment to relax. Then, started my solo descent.
It was cold. My tired muscles moved slow – resisting the gravitational pull down the path. It felt like no time at all before my feet were slogging through the sandy valley once again. Then, up the steep stairs to the lodge.
Greeted by the dusty stench of the yak shit fire.
The crew busted through the doors nearly an hour later. They celebrated. I did not. All exhausted, we went through the motions of dinner, then retired for an early 7 pm bedtime.
The night was cool, but yet again, I roasted in my sleeping bag. For the third night in a row, the thin air triggered some serious claustrophobia in the middle of the night.
I woke up this morning with multiple layers scattered across the floor. Despite that, I slept shockingly well.
Waking up to the bitter cold and forcing myself to eat yet another breakfast of dry French toast was tough. Still, with a good night’s sleep, I was optimistic about the day ahead.
I did skip the honey. I just couldn’t smother another meal in honey to save my life.
It turns out – that was a real shitty idea.
The first 10 minutes of the morning were straight up – again. Instantly, my body was tired. Every single muscle ached to rest. There were still 5+ hours to go.