Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rest day in Pheriche

Today was a  rest day...again, a day free from packing exploded bags!  This rest day also began with a bit more rest, as breakfast was delayed a bit.  I had a fitful night sleep- had a difficult time breathing and even felt as if  the sleeping bag was a bit restrictive.  This new altitude of over 14K feet can play havoc with my physiology.

We took a day hike up the hill behind the HRA clinic, and when we reached our break, we had an awesome view up the Imja Khola valley to Island Peak- the objective for Lucy, Corell, and me...but all in due time.  We will think more about that later.  Island Peak, or Imja Tse, looks so...tiny compared to the surrounding peaks.  The views from the top must be astounding- and I hope I get the chance to share my reflections on that experience.

Kathryn joined our "heart rate study" today...she's the third subject, well, fourth, including me.  Her heart rate, after a steep bit of hill, was 99.  Mine? An unfortunate 133.  And so the story goes... My calves did feel a bit of burn today on the second part of the hike.  We went up to over 15K, and the views were again, amazing.  I don't know if I could get tired of these "hills" and my new "mantra song" may be
"Sound of Music"- 

"The hills are alive, with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
the hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears.
I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I'll sing once more."

And so, I've been singing that one quite frequently.  That is, when I'm allowed to, and not being told  to focus on my breathing!  At any rate, we had to come down from our high point, and we were grateful that this wasn't the Khumbu highway up the valley because we didn't have to dodge any yak trains.

We made it back for lunch, and, like so many days, our major decision was what to select for lunch.  We put our orders in an hour or so ahead of time, so that we can sit down and eat without waiting.  The Himalaya hotel is known for its good food- at least, we've been hearing about it for days from Jeff and Linden.  So we tried our first Dal Bhat last night- lentils, vegetables, curry sauce and rice.  And it was delicious!  We all took hot showers...probably our last hot showers until we return to Pheriche after Everest Base Camp.  There may be some glacial showers up ahead on the trail, but I think we'll choose to pass.  As it is, last night's showers were the first the hotel had been able to offer this season because the water has been frozen.  Same for laundry.  But they love us, because we are spending a ton on laundry, showers, internet, and water.  And I didn't bring enough rupees with me up valley- I think that this hotel stay will find me paying with US Dollars. Oh well.

We went over to the HRA for an altitude lecture,and it was fun to chat with one of the docs there about her experience- as it is also one I've contemplated doing...someday.  She'll be doing the Diploma in Mountain Medicine program as well, so I'll see her this summer in Whistler. How cool is that?

Every day we're thankful for being in good shape- for not being too sick.  Linden actually told us last night that we are the healthiest group he's had at Pheriche.  Guess we women take our preventive meds seriously.
That's not to say that Jeff and Linden don't have their hands full with all of us.  They keep coaching us to have "PMA"- positive mental attitude, and to not have "UMS"- ugly mood swings (and yes, I asked Jeff if they say that to men as well...and they do!), and to not have a "TTSS" - to the sh** show fallout.  Rest days can be difficult because it feels like we're not progressing further, yet we are, as Jeff says, "setting ourselves up for success later on" by becoming better acclimatized.  Even though we can appreciate that, it is still difficult to be far away from home for so long.  So morale is important.  Luckily for this crew, there are lots of laughter and lots of hugs.  And today, as a treat for us and for Lucy's son Christopher's 12th birthday, Lucy put together a Skype call- and we all sang to him!  They didn't hear us, but they saw our lips moving!

For now, we are about to dine...they are setting our places and lighting our candles.  We have flowers, and, our own personal "eye candy"- Jeff and Linden.  Eat your hearts out! Our nightly entertainment consists of  reading Linden's blogs, looking at the posted photos, and reading the comments. Our favorite one last night was Christian Halsey's "Remember that the world is flat"!  Cracked us up! They are our huge morale booster, so post away!  After that, it's hot water bottles for the frigid rooms, and stuffing our bags in preparation for our trek to Lobuche tomorrow.  I think it's gonna be a tough day, so I'll be spending more time with my new friend Phura, and he'll teach me something new.
So for now..."Pheri betola"- See you later!
Love to all back home...miss you!


  1. I'm enjoying your blog immensely. Not sure if Laura told you about my similar EBC trek in October. But one thing my guide told me which helped when my PMA sagged towards a UMS from fatigue, loneliness or cold was "Start a day, finish a day." It was amazing how helpful that little mantra was. Not that any of you need it--you all seem so ready for the hard part. Savor the Khumbu...Give Laura a big hello from me.

  2. Will do! Thanks for the mantra, Beth!

  3. Lucy! I am blown away by you and your friends. How could I have a daughter as amazing as you. Can't wait to hear all about it. Best love, Mom

    Lucy! It is so exciting what you are doing. We all think you are wonderful. We will be thinking of you on these next days and praying the climb goes well. Way to go! love you, all the Broughtons