Excited to leave our fine digs in Gorak Shep, as soon as the sun hit, we hit the trail. I've been feeling a bit iffy the past couple of days- my gut in an uproar- so while I was eager to depart Gorak Shep, I wasn't eager to leave even gross rudimentary toilet facilities behind. But...onward. Jeff sprinted ahead because, well, he can- and he wanted to make sure base camp was set up for us. Our hike today was over similar rocky terrain, where concentration was critical to avoid injury. Our trail was flanked by huge mounds of dirt and rock on both sides- evidence of the immense power of the glacier- one huge construction site courtesy of God's bull-dozer. It really is impressive. Since we had had intermittent luck with cell service in GS, we made several breaks along the trail dictated by the pings of incoming texts. (I still have difficulty sending out my blog updates, so there may be a blog flurry when we return to Pheriche in a couple of days.)
I am still monitoring my pulse, and if it reaches 135, I have been dutifully following Jeff's advice and reluctantly yielding my pack. Today was no different- I carried it for half the trek, but gave it up at the crest of a hill when I maxed my pulse. (I think it has become obvious that I need to visit a pulmonologist/ exercise physiologist when I return.) It has been an interesting study-just not one in my favor.
After a couple of hours, we climbed down off the lateral moraines and onto the glacier itself. Here we were surrounded by the meringue of icy pinnacles formed by ice melt and the heave of glacier moving downhill, the surface ice pools (also formed by ice melt), the ice fall itself, and those mountains!! Surreal and other-worldly, we picked our steps carefully, inching ever closer to Everest Base Camp.
It seems that the Nepalese government issued a new restriction last week on trekkers spending the night in base camp. The outfitters reacted negatively, of course, and the restriction was stayed for this season. But we may be the last season of trekkers spending the night at EBC. Glad we came now.
We made it to "base camp rock"- an arbitrary rock on the glacier where trekking groups often turn- and we took a break. This time, Linden found a string of buried prayer flags, and Phura helped Corell and me string them up in memory of Tara. It is important to not step on these flags, even though they are often underfoot, and really bad karma to step over, rather than under, the streams. Made it kind of tricky for us on the summit of Kala Pattar...
Jaya, one of the base camp cooks, greeted us about half way on our final slog into base camp with warm mango juice. Talk about a treat and a warm greeting! When we finally pulled into RMI's site, the farthest one it seemed, we were further welcomed. The sun was warm, and we took advantage of a bit of down time to bask in its warmth until lunch was served- and lunch was delicious! A far,far cry from the ubiquitous tea house fare. Salad of fresh carrots and cucumbers, stuffed pastry, and I can't remember what else ( remember the three A's? Alzheimer's, age or altitude? Actually, there is a fourth "A", but alcohol is, for us at least, a non- issue at this altitude!).
After lunch, we settled into our tents- which Corell and I appreciated all the more after some of our tea house stays. That is, in good weather, of course- and we have been blessed with warm sunny mornings and afternoons, when the clouds roll in, where we've been relatively tucked away inside. Corell, Lucy and I- the three heading to Island Peak, had a short training session with Linden- going over equipment. Hard to believe that we'll be tackling another mountain in 4-5 days! And I am just a wee bit intimidated because Corell and Lucy are so much faster than I am, and if they slow down to my granny pace, Lucy will freeze. Guess we will have to see how that all plays out...
Before dinner, and while I was futzing with this iPad trying to catch the evanescent cell signal, I was called down to the dining tent. Linden and Jeff, in their great wisdom and, I think, love for this team of ours, presented us with the best gift of all- down suits! We are all so thrilled with them, regardless of the blimp look. We have had great fun trying to work the "trap doors" and managing the bulk. A few of us swore we'd sleep in them. It is amazing, but the cold hardly penetrates these babies! Corell, Lucy, and I hope we can borrow them for Island Peak- but we haven't heard the word on that yet.
Unfortunately, my gut has been on the warpath all afternoon - yet I am not sure what it is- so I've been popping every GI pill I have. Just praying to make it through the night without having to visit the "blue tent" too often so that I can get some sleep.
Lala Salama! (Oops, that's Swahili for "sleep well"--)
So, in Nepali- Ramro sanga sutnos!!
Love to all!!!
Sent from my iPad