~ Click here for Base Camp, Mount Everest - Part I ~
~ Click here to view all my Base Camp, Mount Everest Photos ~
~ The following is typed out from my journal ~
October 13, 2011 —> Tengboche, Elevation: 3,870m/12,696ft
Good day. Amazing day. I lie in bed as I write this with thee Mr. Mount Everest himself out my window, tears in my eyes from laughing with Natalie, my Australian roommate. We hiked for 3 hours today, only moving another 100 meters into the air, putting us close to the half way mark of Mt. Everest’s summit (8,848 meters (29,029 ft)). The beauty of the land constantly stops me, makes me stand still for a moment, makes me realize how impressive this Earth is. If I could only capture what’s outside my window, in some sort of time capsule, as it’s sad to think the tourist game will soon take over this place, leaving its pollution behind. But. But the local life here depends on tourists, they need us, and my guide today told me Nepal will never limit the number of people allowed to hike here as they want the money too much. Sad.
Damian (Australian) and I went for a walk this afternoon, we sat perched on a rock, me between his legs looking out over the little town we’re staying in. 360 degree views of mountain peaks. Including Everest. Then the sun slipped behind a mountain, and the clouds rolled in, and we just sat there, together, in silence. It was SO beautiful.
Damian. What is there to say about Damian? He’s 34, large, blue eyes, long lashes, stubble that I can’t stop touching, ear spacers, rocker/punk/different-than-me style, and piercings. All signs point to Not-My-Type, but there is something about him that infatuates me. I remember seeing him that first day, before even talking to him, and thinking, “oh shit, he’s going to be trouble.” And he is.
He comes from such a different world than the manufactured, step-by-step, do-as-I-say, world I come from. He’s a drummer in a band in Australia. Music is his life. I am the most unmusical person I know. Sometimes he sings to me, I feel more awkward than anything when that happens, and end up smiling too big for my own good. He’s obsessed with my smile. He tells me that the whole time, which in turn makes me smile. There’s something about the way he looks at me too. Like, he knows me better than he should. Or something. I don’t know. But our lives, they’re just so different. At 19 he got a 16 year old girl pregnant, which yes, means he has a 14 year old son. I was so not prepared to hear that. He only told me because I was chattering away to Steph about how I wouldn’t date a guy with kids…. File under: that was awkward times.
But it’s his optimism about everything that truly intrigues me. I’ve never met someone who is as positive as him, and then hearing his life story, which isn’t mine to write about, but literally involves sex, drugs, rock and roll, and jails, is like a movie, or something, I don’t know. There is just something about him… infatuation, I suppose.
Also, and this sucks, I can tell he likes me more than I like him. His words, the way he looks at me, his long term plans… I am not there. My head is swirling at the moment. I also keep thinking about Rob… like, a lot, like, too much. Ugh. I am so confused. I came to Everest to see something, do something purely for me… and despite writing about boys, I’m still thinking like that. This trip is about me, and accomplishing something on my own – not with a boy holding my hand. Hmmm, I don’t know. I hate letting people down, and I’ve been doing that a lot lately. I hope he’s just caught in the moment, caught in the magic of being in the Himalayas.
Anywho, I am so tired. Tomorrow we’re heading above the tree line! I’ve never been above the tree line before, I’m a little nervous about the whole peeing-behind-invisible-trees thing… we shall see! Night Dear Diary, Sleep well
October 14, 2011 —> Kenjuma, Elevation: 3,870m
~ No Entry ~
October 15, 2011 —> Dingboche, Elevation: 3,860m/12,664ft
4,358 meters above sea level. Unless you’ve experienced being his high into the sky, I’m not sure words could transcend what it feels like. I find myself out of breath from rearranging in my sleeping bag, brushing my teeth, going to the washroom, or….. ummm, this is awkward, Dear Diary, making out.
I now sit in a tiny town in the Himalayas called Dingboche. It’s our acclimatization day, which means this morning we did a two hour hike, which took me to 4,700 meters. I was scared going into the hike, as yesterday I (hence the lack of writing) got my first glimpse into altitude sickness (headache, nausea, fatigue). It sucked, but Damo and I took a nap in his bed, which slightly helped - just being warm in the dark. It’s freezing here. The moment the sun disappears the temperature plummets. I feel like I’m always cold.
During our 5 hour hike yesterday to this little town, Damo gave me a piece of paper folded up, on the front it read, “The Beauty in You!” He told me to find a quiet moment to read it. It was a poem he had written me the night before. And so, somewhere alone in the Himalayas, I read it:
Beauty in You
As the sunrises, giving life to the Earth
We see all that is beautiful, for all that it’s worth
As the rain falls over fresh green fields
We sow the crops that our labour yields
Dolphins play in the ocean spray
While birds flock night and day
There is beautiful in this I swear it’s true
Like snow capped mountains in full view.
But the greatest beautiful through and through
Is the beauty that’s inside of you!
I keep being in awe of myself that I’m here, that I decided to do this, and then actually did it. That this is my life. I’m not naïve enough to say that life is about only experiencing everything like this, because at some point, no matter what, real life will catch up with you, but I believe in balance, and taking moments to experience the world we call home, because the beauty and yes, lame alert, the magic this world has to offer is truly incredible. The Himalayas are INCREDIBLE.
October 16, 2011 —> Lobuche, Elevation: 4,930m/16,174ft
Damo sits to my left, hand on my knee, as I write this. He definitely likes me more than I like him. He’s never seen me with make up on, my hair done, or umm, well, even showered, yet through the days he tells me how beautiful I am. Constantly. It’s flattering. I say thank you and smile, and he’ll kiss me gently. It’s the little, light kisses, that are my favourite. But I am worried. He is falling. Falling for me. But I am here for me. Not him. He is not my priority. Not what makes me excited to get out of bed each morning. He makes me smile, but the scenery makes me smile more. He speaks about me visiting him in Australia. Watching his band play. We are living in a fantasy world. I am aware of this, I hope he is too.
October 17, 2011 —> Base Camp, Everest, 5,380m/17,650ft
~ No Entry ~
October 18, 2011 —> Lobuche 4,930m/16,174ft
Finding time to write has been hard. Fatigue and exhaustion has set into my body, everybody’s bodies, we’re all so tired, the whole, damn, time. It’s also really cold here, and due to my craptacular planning skills, my sleeping bag isn’t warm enough. I’m lucky if I get a few hours of sleep. But yea, point is, I’m writing a lot less these days, although I don’t mind that too much, actually, I find it’s sometimes easier to put things into words after the fact…
Yesterday, October 17, 2011 I made it to Base Camp, Mount Everest.
It was without a doubt the hardest, yet most rewarding thing I have ever done. It was breath taking (literally and figuratively) and something I will never forget. As my mom said, no one will ever be able to take this experience away from me. No one. Until the day I die, I, Liz, will be able to say I hiked to Base Camp, Mount Everest. Pretty cool, eh? (note to self: stop saying “eh” as the Australians are really on my case for it).
We arrived at Base Camp at the end of an 8 hour hike. I was exhausted, tired, and cold, but as one can imagine, arriving at the foot of Everest, 5,364 meters above sea level, nothing else seemed to matter. Hugs, kisses, high-fives, and congratulations were given to all. Then suddenly our head Sherpa (Luckpa) whipped out some delicious hot lemon tea and baby cookies. I was in heaven! It took our group 7 days of constant hiking, moving us only 65km from our starting point, but we did it! All 17 of us, we did it! I did it! Me! I’m still on a high from the moment, and am craving the Internet to share the news with my mom, the true reason I’m here. So amazing.
I want to write more about the experience, yell to the world how lucky I am, but once again I know silly, little, words in my diary won’t be able to convey the experience, so I’ll just be incredibly lame here and quote the movie The Beach,
Paradise, it’s not some place you can look for, ‘cause it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something, and if you find that moment… it lasts forever…
That was Mt. Everest for me.
Mount Everest isn’t the most photogenic mountain the world has to offer, actually, it’s incredibly hard to photograph (it’s the dark, black (with little snow) mountain in my photos) and despite what most people think, you can’t actually see Everest from Base Camp – as there are two shorter (1km shorter) mountains in your way, which means most people who head to Base Camp, will the next day head another 300 meters into the air, to a lookout spot called Kala Patthar 5,643m/18,513ft which is were you actually get to see Everest, up close and personal.
We did that this morning.
The sherpas knocked on our doors as the clock struck 4:30am, “wakey-wakey,” with the usual hot tea. All 17 of us were exhausted, but stumbled out of our sleeping bags, and into as many layers as we could stuff under our down jackets. It was cold. So cold. I am from Canada. I have felt -30 degrees before. This felt colder (ed note: It was apparently only -7, but felt bloody freezing). But each of us started the 300 meter trek from Lobuche to Kala Patthar to watch the sunrise over Everest and all its neighboring mountains.
This. Heading nearly vertical at 4:30am, in freezing conditions, took my body to its absolute peak. I was the slowest by far, and on the verge of collapsing the whole time. It was so hard, I couldn’t possibility even remember it properly to translate it into words.
Then, at 6:30am, less than 50 meters from the top, and still, in my opinion, “seeing Everest at sunrise,” I (and 6 others) called it quits. The altitude had taken its affects. Each breath of air was a painful struggle to find, I was legitimately worried about losing my toes and/or fingers. The other people on the trip claim it was their highlight, making it to the top, and I so wish I could have joined them, but pushing through wasn’t an option for me, I had hit my physical peak. Enough was enough. I was ready to go down.
To put things in perspective when people summit Mt. Everest they go another 3km into the air. ANOTHER 3KM!! That’s so insane to me, I have so much respect for anyone who has gone past Base Camp, the extreme conditions truly are not meant for human beings.
Live-Liz Now :)
So yup, those are just some entries from the good old leather diary. I wrote every day on the descend too, but won’t publish it. Damo and I parted ways in Kathmandu, but him, along with the other 15 people and I all remain friends (and nothing more. Re: Damo, although he truly is a very good person, and taught me a lot about living in the moment, turns out friendship was in the cards for us. And besides, I have my eye on another boy now :)).
It was an incredible thing we all did together, and I have no doubt most of the friendships will last my lifetime. And, of course, the spectacular memories.