hiking, travel

Pooping at 4,300 Meters

September 16

4300 meters! Woo! (14,100 feet)

Today was pretty chill. Started with a late breakfast at 7:30am, so slept in until about 7:15 which was nice for a change. Constantly tired here, maybe that’s the altitude or could be something actually wrong with me. If I go home before I turn 26, I’m definitely going to get the full check over, like literally test me for every disease. Gotta use the insurance while I’ve got it right?

I also have a stupid toe infection, it doesn’t hurt much but enough so that it’s annoying. I’ll have to get it fixed, maybe when I’m back in Cat Ba.

Had tea and chapatti with honey and orange marmalade for breakfast. Chapatti seems to be like roti, which is similar to tortillas. The fog cleared in the morning so we could see Mera Peak! It’s getting more and more real by the moment.

Hiking towards lunch in the morning, surrounded by mountain peaks

Headed off, the sun came out, passed through the Climber Registration, saw some yaks and had a lovely stroll up the river to lunch. We followed the river the whole way to lunch, passed a lot of sheep and goats along the way. It got warm enough that I was back down to just a t-shirt and my leggings, bit chilly when we stopped walking, but beautiful out.

Sometimes I felt as fragile as these flowers on the trail

I’m constantly amazed by what Sherpas and porters can carry here. Our porter does the same trek I do with at least 30-40 pounds more weight than I do strapped to his head wearing what looks like orthopedic sneakers and jeans. The people out here are some tough motherfuckers. At lunch this kid came through with a head basket absolutely piled with stuff with nothing more than flip flops on his feet. You may think you’re tough and all, go to Nepal for a trek. On the hardest climb a Nepali grandma will pass you on an Everest like slope with nearly triple your load in flip flops, wearing traditional clothing, and does it without breaking a sweat and smiling the whole time. Makes you feel a bit like a delicate flower.

Had french fries and a fried egg for lunch, Astani and our porter (lets call him Simon since I still don’t know his name because I’m absolutely a terrible person, there so much I want to do but don’t… maybe more on that later) didn’t have lunch. So again I felt like a terrible person, typical foreigner eating and putting their needs before everyone else.

Winding trail to the Mera Guest House

Luckily, it was a calm walk to our spot for the night in Thangna. At 4,300 meters! Still have to go around 2000 meters up to reach Mera Peak, so I’m going to hope for the best on that one. Also met a couple from Denver at lunch, on their honeymoon. They had just done Everest Basecamp and were also headed up to Mera Peak. Funny thing though, because apparently I was listed on their climbing permit as part of their group. As we came to the lunch spot they asked if i was Leah Thomas, I was a bit shocked that they knew my name. We sorted out what might have happened with the permits, and we chatted for a little bit. They were hoping to get Mera done faster, so scooted ahead to where I’ll be tomorrow night.

Got to our guest house for the night, Mera Guest House and Restaurant. Had some tea, the boys finally got some lunch, boiled potatoes and another super delicious chili sauce. I need the recipe for it, it’s hot and sweet and everything you want in a chili sauce.

After we went on a little climb up one of the mountains behind the guest house. When Astani said little I was expecting maybe 20 minutes up. That was not so much the case. I think I almost died on the way up. It was step step rest, step step rest. I didn’t know the altitude would be this much of a factor, but maybe coming straight from sea level in Cat Ba didn’t help. The views were amazing, so it was worth the hard breathing to get there.

The top of our small climb, surrounded by towering peaks

Absolutely stunning views of the surrounding peaks towering over us. Makes you feels pretty small and insignificant. Anyone who thinks too much of themselves should take a hike to the mountains or anywhere where they become just a little blip on the radar of life. And if you still feel egotistical after that, it might be time to reevaluate your life.

Bit chilly, bit exhausted, but loving it

It was real cold at the top. I hadn’t felt that kind of cold in so long, but the air was so fresh and crisp it was nice. Like breathing in something good for you rather than the smog and heaviness of the Vietnam air. I kind of miss the cold weather. I’m starting to think maybe I’ll see if I can find another place abroad to work, then maybe go home and work with Mom, make some money then do some more traveling somewhere else. Since when I’m done with this trip I’m going to be super poor.

Sun setting on some massive mountians

Came back and had dinner, some mushrooms that Simon picked up from the hike, plus I had spaghetti with more veggies. And a hot chocolate, and a black tea. I should spend less, I’m going to have to figure out what a good tip amount for Simon would be. Then it was bedtime and I slept as well as possible. My body is seemingly falling apart, just ever so slightly. 3 infections on my right side, still fighting a cold, my left elbow hurts and now I’ve got runny poop.

Awesome.

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