Note: if ever doing an experience like this again, bring chapstick with sunblock. Severely chapped lips are the worst. They are so swollen and blistered, it hurts to open my mouth. Peeling off layers of lip skin is satisfying but painful and gross. Pretty sure lip blisters are one of the most horrifying things ever.
Today I was thinking as we made our way from Khara to Khote, that I like suffering. Not the kind that has no end, but the one where you know at the end of the day you’ll be dry and warm and fed well. I like trudging through the rain all day, with wet shoes, cold hands, in a damp sogginess that doesn’t let up. I like having minor pains and aches and I like being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because maybe it lets me know that I’m alive, that I’m far more capable than I think I am. That despite all my shortcomings in all other aspects of my life, I am fucking stubborn and if I really put my mind to it, I can and will actually do whatever it is.
I also think I like knowing that I’m a part of the select few who enjoys suffering a little and finds it almost fun. It makes for a very close knit community, no matter the activity, if there is come aspect that absolutely sucks for a majority of the time, you know those are some good people.
This morning we slept until about 8am, it was amazing, although I did wake up with stiff, swollen lips. There was a thin covering of snow, but pretty much melted by the time I was packed and eating breakfast. Muesli with hot milk is amazing. Intended to leave around 9ish, but went with Astani to say hi/bye to the rescue training ski team at the next lodge. Saw Justin (from High Camp on Mera, from Oregon) so stayed and talked with him a bit. Which ended up being a while. He gave me some aloe for my sunburnt face and a cough drop, which we later used the wrapped for some antibiotic cream. Justin seems like a pretty cool guy, although anyone out this far seems like a pretty cool person.
From what I could tell, Justin’s a ski/mountaineer guide in Oregon/California. He was issued the first ski permit for Mera Peak, which was pretty cool. He does a lot of outdoor things, skiing, climbing, trekking. I was able to talk to him pretty easily about a lot of stuff, which is sometimes hard for me to do. We talked about where to travel, what to do in Kathmandu, thoughts on the book “Into the Wild,” and Buddhism and the type of people who enjoy adventures like this. Really interesting guy, but I think pretty much anyone who gives up the comforts of home to pursue something not better or bigger but something uncomfortable is bound to be an interesting person.
Went out to climb a rock, I watched, Justin climbed. One first ascent probably, then it started pouring so we went back for more tea.
Overheard one of the guys from the double amputee summit mission saying he did heli-sking and the logistics of that sounded super cool. A lot of knowledge required to pull off something like that. I could listen to people talk about that kind of outdoor adventure stuff for ages. I love listening to people talk about the things they are interested in, no matter what it is, if they light up while talking about it I’m in.
Justin talked a bit about future plans, what we both thought would be ideal (a remote job, ability to work anywhere) and then we had lunch. Astani, Simon and I left around 1pm. A bit later than ideal, but still all good.
As we headed out MP found us again, and gave us a lovely farewell follow, pretty much all the way back to Thangnak. Such an awesome dog. I would take her home if I could.
We hiked the whole afternoon, about 5 hours or so, but it was good. I felt pretty great, could zone out a bit, let autopilot take control and let my mind wander. Easy hiking down hill the whole way, everyone was in pretty good spirits.
Had pizza for dinner, it was delicious. Used the internet for the first time, so many notifications. Some work stuff, some not. Sent a message to my mom letting her know I was still alive. Nice to communicate again, but also nice to be away from it all.