Base Camp, Mount Everest – Part I
I sit here trying to find the words to describe the experience, but truly, there are none. Like I said here, the entire month meant more to me than words or photos could attempt to express. But as always, I’ll try…
I was so nervous walking towards my group the first day. I saw them sitting in a circle on the lawn of our hotel, with an empty chair on the far side. An empty chair for me. Terrifying. Meeting a lot of new people is always scary.
Hi, I’m Liz. From Canada.
There were 17 of us a total, a relatively large group, but within moments of meeting everyone I knew we’d all get along. After all, we all already had something huge in common; we were all in Nepal, away from our real lives, and about to hike to Base Camp, Mount Everest.
I’ve never been scared of flying, actually, I usually embrace a little turbulence as a fun side effect to flying, but flying into Lukla airport, declared the “world’s deadliest (as in number of deaths) airport” in 2010 was absolutely terrifying. The runway is 450 meters long, 20 meters wide and on a steep 12 degree angle. (video of landing here). It was scary. Super scary. And an experience I’ll never forget.
~ The following is copied out from my hand written journal that I wrote in every day. It’s quite personal. ~
October 9th, 2011 --> Kathmandu, Elevation: 1,400 meters.
I’m currently waiting at the airport in Kathmandu, on route to Lukla, the town we’ll starting hiking to Base Camp from. The last few days have been something I’ll never forget - for lack of a better word, it was is insane. A different world only known to me before through movies and television, but until you’re standing in the street, surrounded by the hustle of Napoli life, it’s really impossible to truly imagine. I feared for my life in my taxi from the airport as it darted amongst motor bikes, scooters, bikes, pedestrians, dogs and then cows taking naps in the road. There was no distinction between either side of the road, no traffic lights, no stop signs. No rules.
The pleaing eyes of a woman with her new born baby are still sketched into my memory, and the vision of a man washing his baby in a puddle will forever remain with me…
And now I wait, here at the airport, on route for the Himalayas. There are 17 of us total: 3 Canadians, 3 Britts, 2 Swiss, and 9 Australians. A good group, it appears, from where I sit, the ages range from 23 to 48. 9 males, 8 female.
October 9th, 2011 --> Phakding Elevation: 2,652 meters.
3 hours of hiking later, I sit in my sleeping bag, ready for bed. I’ve already concluded no photo can do this world justice. The depth of the mountains, and the snow-capped peaks on all the horizons truly has made me stop and get lost in every moment. Embarrassingly I think I uttered the words “oh my God,” more times than one ever should, which has lead to me being proclaimed “the girl” one of the group, but oddly enough I realized today only two of the girls on the trip aren’t wearing makeup. Myself included. (Woot!) What you see, is what you get when it comes to me, and bring on the showerless days, as I’m sure they will be abundant.
And Dear Diary, I must be truthful too. There is a boy here I like. Well, I should say captured my attention. He’s not my type in the slightest, we’re talking tattoos, piercings, ear spacers, and he’s a drummer in a band in Melbourne. See? Not my usual suit boy. But he seems different. Lighthearted, funny and fun. He sat next to me tonight at dinner and I’m nearly certain I saw him purposefully place himself there. Hmmm. I don’t know. I hate how I’m even writing about him, as here I am, a world away from my regular boy-crazy world, writing about a guy(!). For shame! And on that note I am off to sleep, as tomorrow we hike for over 8 hours.
October 10, 2011 – Namche Bazaar, Elevation: 3,440 meters
Eight hours of walking (my. feet. hurt), a hot Australian boy (who I am THISCERTAIN likes me(!!)) and breathtaking (literally, I’m starting to feel the high altitude levels) views later, I find myself in Namache Bazaar - the largest mountain town we’ll encounter throughout this trip. We have an acclimatization day tomorrow, which will be eagerly welcomed after 8 hours of hiking up rather strenuous
Today also marks exactly one year from the Chicago marathon. The day my life changed forever. Corny? Of course. True? Absolutely. October 10, 2010 will always hold such a special place in my heart. I crossed the finish line after a 42.2 kilometer (26.2 mile) run, accomplishing a goal I never a year before had thought in the realm of possibility for my life.
An now, one year later, I sit here and write this as tears fill my eyes, and am in awe of the faith I have in myself. I wanted to run a marathon. So I did (actually three). I wanted to go to Base Camp, Mt. Everest, so I am. I wanted to travel the world, see new places, so I’m going to. I have no intention of dying anytime soon, but I suppose if I did (knock. on. wood), at this stage in my life, I’d be rather content with the life I lived. I’ve tried hard to be the best person I can be, and live the life I want. I think I am. I realize, Dear Diary, how lucky I am to say that. And then believe that.
Someone (hint: hot Australian) told me today that where someone is, at this very moment in their lives, is because of a combination of decisions they’ve made. It’s not by chance. It’s not by accident. It’s people taking themselves to where they want to go (that we manifest…). I often forget this, and pass off all the cool things I’ve done to chance, but the truth is I did it. All of it. I decided to do it, then I did it.
Today, one year after the Chicago Marathon, and a hard hike through the Himalayas, I can finally see how far I’ve come, how I’ve changed, and how I’ve moved from someone who didn’t believe she was worth anything, to someone who thinks nothing can really stop her. Anything is possible now… anthing.
October 11, 2011 – Namche Bazaar, Elevation: 3,440 meters
This morning we woke up at 5:30 am to watch the sunrise over the mountains and get our first peak of Mr. Everest. It was only a 15 minute walk to the lookout, but I was more tired than the end of a marathon by the time I reached the top. However, it was more than worth it – watching the morning sun hit the snow capped peaks of Everest was beautiful.
Then after a 4 hour up-then-down hike to acclimatize, the day was ours, and I spent it with Damion. He’s different from anyone I’ve ever met. The most positive, enthusiastic, glass-half-full person I’ve ever encountered. He’s actually sitting next to me as I write this. Writing in his own diary, however, I’m certain he only told me he writes to spend time with me. Or it’s all in my head and I’m just looking way too into everything….
His story is incredible too. Every day I learn a little bit more about him, and am more fascinated with his life. Today I heard where his enthusiasm for life comes from, which I don’t have time to write about now as he’s just offered to give me a massage (!! See? I think he likes me…. I mean c’mon).
The people you meet while traveling, the strangers you come across, they create your experiences, touch your life, become a part of you…
October 12, 2011 —> Kenjuma, Elevation: 3,870m
AM: Remember that time the Australian and I stayed up late talking/writing, then after some “back massages,” and a hand hold (yes, we’re in grade school again), we made out like two make out bandits in the Himalayas? We had just finished brushing our teeth and he ‘pushed’ me against the wall, ready to kiss me, but then didn’t, so, wait for it… I kissed him. And then we made out. At 3,500 meters, we kissed. I then slipped into my sleeping and despite feeling stupid, couldn’t take the grin off my face. Damo’s nice. So nice. And hot. So hot. So me thinks the next weeks are gonna be funnnnn.
Today we hiked for only about 3 hours and then reached this tiny town called Kenjuma, our home for the night. What a different way of life. So much harder in so many ways, but also so much simpler. I appreciate being born where I was born, I don’t know if that’s a bad thing to say, but I do. I consider myself lucky. So lucky.
PM: Majestic. I’ve never used that word before, I suppose I never really felt the need to, but tonight, as I write this, it’s the only word that comes to mind with my surroundings. The mountains’ snow capped peaks are lit up by the moon (the moon!) and I’ve never seen stars as big or bright as the ones in the night sky.
Also, I saw a quote today, up in a small mountain town, it made me think so much. Especially how I’m in the middle of no where, and someone thought to put this quote up. Food and weight casts its spell on people all over the world.
Eating food is a necessity. Eat well is an art.
Ohhh, and! Damo and I have kept ourselves a secret, which is actually quite fun, or at least, so we thought… Simon, one of the guys from Australia apparently asked him, “so? Are you moving to Canada?” as he had picked up on the flirting. Fail. I really thought we were being sneaky. We usually stay up late after everyone has gone to bed to spend time together. I find him so fascinating. His life and mine are the complete opposites. To say Damo is a “bad boy,” would be a massive understatement too, as I think his criminal record could go from my finger tips, to my shoulders. On both arms. Tonight he also somewhat dropped a bomb on me. He’s 34. He has a 14 year old son. Umm what. But yes. He had overheard me talking to Steph, and saying, “I would never date anyone with kids,” and then boom, he goes and tells me this. He was 19. She was 16. The kid is now 14. That scared me a lot. I didn’t know what to say. Like, at all.
But his eyes. And lashes. His smile. I’m just so amazed by him.
Part II - I’ll post when I find a moment.
Full Mount Everest Photos Found Here