“Above all be strong and courageous” Joshua 1:18b
Day 1: What started out as a dream come true quickly turned into misery. I felt strong for the first 5 hours of hiking…but after lunch things quickly turned. Apparently two eggs and a cup of garlic soup was a bad idea. My legs began to feel like jello and my head began to spin. Imagine having a leg workout where you can barely walk down the stairs…then having to walk UPHILL for two more hours. Add the fact that you’re trying to keep up with three experiences Italian men who climb the alps regularly…even the local Nepali people were moving aside to let us go ahead of them! Needless to say, I was happy when we reached the hotel. Day one…what the heck am I doing? I am by no means equipped for this!
Day 2: last night it rained, this morning it rained, all day today it rained, even now it’s raining (and lightning and thundering!)….and yet we trekked…for 8 hours! Apparently the rain is very rare during this time of year, someone just told us there was a typhoon type storm in India which pushed rain this way. Nonetheless, once again we seemed to go faster than everyone else as we were passing people left and right. Needless to say we were sopping wet, and yet I enjoyed most of the day! It nearly became a game as we had to find which rock to step on between the puddles of water. I think the water slowed down my Italian friends a tiny bit…which was a HUGE blessing to me. I was surprised how much energy I had today…especially after I felt like dying yesterday. The only problem I had was a muscle in my left leg that felt like it was tearing, so I felt it every step and now, due to new hiking shoes, I have bruises on my ankle. I just looked at my bruises in the light here at our hotel…which is yet another blessing. Our original hotel was full because some Trekkers stayed back today due to the rain, so what was supposed to be our rooms is still occupied. But what a blessing! Because we were forced to go to another hotel that happens to be new and we are the only ones here! That means we got to have the small fire place our to ourselves to dry our clothes and warm ourselves (as it’s so cold and windy outside that we can see our breath!) Without this fireplace, we’d be trekking in wet clothes tomorrow. Also, power is a problem: solar power is not possible because of the rain and water power is out because the water mill just broke 2 days ago….thank goodness for flashlights 🙂
Day 3: We woke up this morning to clear skies! Today was nearly a piece of heaven. We only trekked 3 hours then enjoyed a local village (including a yak cheese factory!) with beautiful views of the snow capped mountains. I fear I may not know what I’m getting myself into. Just today alone 3 people told me they were afraid for me! Most Trekkers we’ve met so far stop here, in
Kyanjin Gompa, then trek back down the same way. But our group is going to continue…into the snow and beyond! Today I could barely walk anyways… due to the bruises on my ankles from these new trekking boots. Soooo tomorrow and the rest of the trek should be an adventure to say the least!
Day 4: last night was so cold that it was hard to sleep because every muscle in my body was tensed just to stay warm. This morning I woke up with my achelies (sp?) tendon creaking with every step I took…and the day hadn’t even begun. After I put a bandaid on a blister by my big toe, we ate breakfast, had tea, and began our trek for the day. At some points throughout the day I hated myself…at other points I found myself praising God for his beautiful creation. Every time we reached a peak, there seemed to be another peak – so we climbed up more – then another peak – so we climbed up more – then another peak…until we were knee deep in snow – still climbing. The peak we were climbing to is typical for most tourists to climb…but today was different. Because of all the rain two days before, there was so much snow. Fresh snow. Which made it nearly impossible to trek through. We would take a few steps and find ourselves hip high in snow! For the first time this trip I was so thankful to be in the back…because my Italians friends and guide left footprints of compact snow for me to follow. Although, I still felt like I was doing tire drills I always saw my brothers doing during football practice because their footprints were compacted so deeply into the snow. Yet somehow I sill found sinking into the snow at points, unable to get myself out of the snow-hole I had somehow created and fallen into. Several times someone pulled me out. One thing I seemed to have strength in was the altitude though! Thanks to one month of living in Humla, I found breathing at 4,700m rather simple, but my Italian friends not so much. Thankfully this slowed them down a bit! But unfortunately, after 5 hours of hiking uphill (3 hours in thick snow) because of the crazy amount of snow we were not able to make it to the peak. We had to turn around. But downhill was just as hard, if not harder, than uphill! I found myself on my butt more than my feet because of the melting snow. At this point i barely noticed the bruises on my ankles, hurting achelies tendon, and growing blister. Instead I was worried about not dying. On the way down, one man got a bloody nose and another man passed out completely while vomiting on himself! Needless to say, we were bummed we couldn’t make it to the top of Tsergo Ri, but I was more than happy to see our Kyanjin Village 🙂
Today we were supposed to climb up another mountain similar to yesterday’s…only this time we were supposed to camp there and cross Ganja La Pass (something that most trekking tourists don’t do). BUT 200 people just went missing from Annapurna (mountain nearby) and 16 people are dead due to avalanche from the recent snowstorm. Therefore, our plans have changed. We are no longer doing the pass, but instead are taking different route for our livelihoods. Although we we’re disappointed, a big part of me was relieved. Just getting this far has been a challenge!
So today: This morning literally every step I took felt like my achelies tendon was going to rip. I put an extra sock at the arch of my foot and another sock I wrapped around my ankle in hopes that would help. Despite pain, we walked another 8 hours…but this time mostly downhill. Now, normally I’m slightly afraid to walk down rocky mountain terrain…but today I felt like we literally RAN down the rocky mountain like little kids running uncontrollably down a green grassy hill. Talk about facing fears! But other than a growing blister and continued bruises on my ankles from my shoes, I’m alive and well and actually really enjoyed today. In fact, I’m growing in a love/hate relationship with trekking…
-Taking in God’s beautiful creation everywhere I look
-Feeling so accomplished at the end of the day
-Sipping hot tea next to a warm fire
-Seeing how strong the body God has given me actually is
-Meeting Trekkers from around the world
-Time to pray and think
-My fragile feet that don’t allow me to fully enjoy trekking
-Feeling incompetent and weak at times