Sunday, November 16, 2014
Himalayas DAY TEN
It came to my attention that I am not only missing Sundays but also All Saints Day Masses on this trip. Last night I found a litany to the saints in my Magnificat book so at least I was able to say that.
I believe it snowed last night in the mountains. This morning it is crystal clear with a blue sky and gleaming white mountain tops in the distance.
Last night a cardiologist at the lodge pulled out a pulse-oximeter and we all checked our oxygen levels. Mine was only 86%! Then it went up to 88% (should be above 90%). And we still have another 1500m to climb! Kind of intimidating. Two girls I met at breakfast told me they had a member of their group flown out by helicopter after he developed HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema) and another two after they came down with food poisoning. Guess this altitude things is real! And nothing to disregard. Very grateful to still feel excellent. I'm sleeping a little less but since I was averaging 10 hours a night my first few days here I believe I'm doing fine.
Finally reached Thorong Phedi, base camp of Thorong La Pass (La means pass in Nepali but they say both in English), 4450m above sea level. We then proceeded to hike another 400m upwards to high camp to help acclimatize after lunch. Turns out the Russian guys are pretty funny...we sat and had tea together at the top. Lesson in not judging! One of them even gave me his hiking stick (he had two) to help get back down to base camp. This was super helpful since we returned through snow, then mud, then gravel and finally dirt. Even my guide was slipping.
Tomorrow morning we will be up and gone by 4am. To make it though the pass with good weather, the guides recommend this early start. I have my parka, gloves, etc. all ready to go.
Oddly enough I have a private toilet but no electricity in this room. And not that this needs to be shared but I FINALLY learned to squat correctly. After trekking in Peru and however many days here it's such a relief to go without making a mess! This is definitely a life skill, up there with being able to swim and start a fire, I'm sure of it!
This has been an awesome, amazing trip. I keep feeling like God has fulfilled a dream I didn't know I had. Today at lunch I ate a piece of apple pie and listened to a recording by Bob Dylan playing in the background. "How crazy!" I thought, "I'm on the other side of the world in the remotest region where there is no contact with the outside world, staying in a tiny little lodge run by a German lady and her Nepali husband, surrounded by people from all over the world except the US and I'm eating apple pie and hearing Bob Dylan played aloud." So funny. God must smile sometimes when He plans my life.
My room ended up being too cold to sleep in...it was outmost on the mountain and no one realized the lights were broken. They moved me inward after I requested to sleep in the dining room and I now have a private toilet, working lights, and a relatively warm bed (my nose probably won't fall off from frostbite by morning!). I've been told to go to sleep. 4 am comes soon!