Dropped a bit of altitude

So i woke up this morning at Gorak Shep - from where you can see Everest Base Camp and spectacular views of the Khumbu Glacier - and just didn't feel quite right.

My heart and head really wanted me to take the hike up to 5,600 meters to see the view from Kala Pattar - it is widely famed as a highlight of the Himalayan experience - but my instincts told me I simply wasn't fit enough to do that without likely paying a price health-wise.

As I was debating what to do the light was just striking Lhotse, one of the world's 14 8,000+ meter giants so I hiked up to the ridge above my inn to see how it felt and to look at the sunrise. What a spectactular view! Lhotse has a few different kinds of stone, and one part of it is very light with veins of darker colour, covered with a sheen of ice. Unbelievable! I would show you photos, but when I went to turn on the camera, the battery was flat! It is OK though, I have a lot of other footage from the hike down today, I'll post it soon.

Just that little hike up took a lot out of me, which told me the answer: it was time to drop some altitude. 

So, that's what we did - all the way down to 4,100 meters in Pheriche. It is pretty funny, the idea that this is a great drop in altitude when it is still higher than all but a handful of places in all of Europe, yet I am looking out the window from the absolute bottom of a valley, surrounded by Himalayan giants.

My porter, Bikram Rai, the ever-cheerful, has picked up a cold himself now too (a pretty heavy dry cough) - I will take him to the medical clinic here in Pheriche in the morning if he sounds worse. Despite being ill and carrying a big load on his back, he still cracks jokes, laughs, and smiles at the drop of a hat!

That's enough for now from me, I'm exhausted and going to bed soon. I hope everyone is having a great Sunday wherever in the world you are.

Mental Stamina, High Places, and Homesickness

This is the first time I have ventured alone into the world’s highest mountains, and it is a revelation in every way, an incredible experience I wouldn’t trade, but being so far from my loved ones especially when the connectivity is a challenge means that I have some very homesick moments. It is especially tough on days when I cannot talk to my husband at all, which has happened more than a few times. Last night was the low-point of my entire trip, my stomach was bothering me slightly (something at lunch left swiftly) I felt the altitude, generally just didn’t feel that well, and thought, bloody hell, I am at the end of the world, and I still won’t be home for three weeks! My Nepali host sensed I was not in a great place as did Tashi my guide and with a few kind words and gestures really helped cheer me up.

Fortunately, too, my mobile worked here for a good while and I did get to speak to Enrique (and get a bit weepy even!) which also helped. He keeps sending these wonderful photos of himself and our cats from home too. (He's a really great artist, by the way, you can see his work online here.)