originally part of training/fundraising for the Hepatitis C Trust's Nepal trek. Now, sporadic musings...

Friday, January 12, 2007

a return to high altitude camping




After what feels like about five minutes sleep, Petra's coughing wakes me, and I can't get back to sleep. I don't mind, because getting out my notebook and torch doesn't seem to disturb her at all, so I settle in to the longest scribbling session I've managed so far on the trip.
I need the loo yet again, so I layer up a bit more, and go outside.
As always, the porters are busy with preparations for breakfast, this time for 'two sittings' - Sergio and Dawa are off to tackle higher things...
There's a layer of ice on the tents, and thick, white frost on the ground, with the tussocks of grass under the trees more gently frosted. I feel as high as a kite from the lack of sleep and euphoria from reaching this point, plus no doubt the effects of altitude. Trying to capture the rising sun's reflection on the snow-covered mountains, most of the photos I took at this point are blurry. I didn't realise until I got back home that this was through shaking so much from cold that I couldn't hold the camera steady enough!
On my wanderings around the camp, I stumble over a dead animal. What killed that, I wonder? It doesn't seem to be mauled, so maybe it just died of exposure. Still, it makes me feel uneasy - a reminder that Jeff's strict rules about not wandering off without telling anyone where you're going are important, and not some arbitrary code to be ignored lightly.
Managing the conflict between being part of the group and my natural inclinations to follow my own internal agenda is an ongoing juggling act.
I'm starving and thirsty and I smell terrible. The thought of a hot shower torments me... Even being able to wash your hands after going to the loo is a longed-for luxury!
Still, I'm vastly cheered by managing to freshen up 'the most important bits' from our morning bowl of hot water, in spite of the temperature - in fact, it's hugely refreshing to have a strip wash in these crisp conditions. I feel a bit like a bird trying to take a bath in a teaspoon...
Longed-for breakfast proves tricker than anticipated - like the previous night, the effort of chewing is practically beyond me, in spite of being so hungry, but I manage a few mouthfuls of porridge and a couple of mugs of milky coffee.
We have a much more leisurely start today. Time for us to take a wander with Jeff...

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I began blogging during training for a trek in the Himalayas... several lifetimes ago. Currently working on my novel - in the tiny spaces left by a 50 hour plus working week...