This post is the second part to my journey through the himalayas, if you missed the first part, you can find it here. At this point in my journey I was becoming quite ill and disheartened. I wasn’t too sure what to do.
Due to the level of my sickness, I had to make a choice and alter my route and cancel my trip to Gokyo lakes in order to add extra days to try and get acclimatised to the height. This really got me down even more. The lakes are something I had very much looked forward to but my health will always come first. Friends who I had met in Namche had arrived in the town and made an ideal rest day. Together myself and William took a walk down to the river which hugged the town, sat and spoke about everything and nothing, admiring the view and laughing at each others stupidity. The afternoon followed by a visit to a much hyped French cafe at the bottom end of the town. And much to my amazement it lived up to expectations. Although my appetite was practically non existent, blueberry cheese cake certainly managed to go down rather well. It’s really simple but when you feel that low, having caring people around you really solves a lot of problems, unfortunately not my sickness.
I have no idea how it happened or what I did, but with the sun rising over Dingboche the next morning, I awoke having slept nearly 10 hours (countless nights before I had only managed 2/3 hours) fresh faced, headache-free, no sickness, – nothing! I cannot put into words how ecstatic I was. The night before, I was prepared to turn back and now I was looking ahead again, positively. Motivated and ready, I seized the opportunity to carry on to Lobouche which sits at 4900m. Making good time, we arrived at midday and I’m happy to say I was still feeling fine although I was still uneasy with the fact I might fall sick again and be in the same position I had been the day before. During our lunch the weather seemed to lift and open up the view of the amazing surroundings. No more were we in the valleys of lush woodland and gorges lined with green landscape, instead it was traded in for these beautiful mountain views and rocky desolate pathways etched into the mountains. Still feeling confident about my health, a few of us took an adventurous stroll to the glacier located just outside the town. The glacier was at the foot of extensive panoramic of mountains, it was well worth the walk and maintained the positivity we were all feeling.
Today was the day! Today was the day! After such a strong comeback, I was about to hit base camp at a massive 5380m. The weather wasn’t at its best unfortunately and my sickness started to return with the headaches and uneasy feeling creeping back in. BUT I HAD MADE IT. Everest base camp is sat on top of another glacier with huge ice peaks and small streams running within, a lovely addition to what would be a slightly underwhelming climax. It’s obviously an achievement to reach and go as far as we did, but when you arrive to the base camp itself, it’s pretty bleak and baron. BUT I MADE IT. I think if I wasn’t starting to feel unwell I could have easily spent a few hours running in-between the crevices and drips within the glacier. That evening was met with cheers and happy people all round. We had reached and achieved our goal!
The following morning was met with a very early rise at 3:20am, opening the door to a fiercely cold wind and snow! Having to wear a head torch, the light beam was picking up the flakes as they were dropping and being some of the first up, we left fresh tracks into the ground. The walk was harsh and difficult, climbing to around 500m from Gorashep to reach our highest destination of 5600m. Kala Patthar is a point where you are supposed to be blessed with the most amazing views imaginable, weather-permitting of course. Unfortunately the snow didn’t give us much hope on this matter, but nonetheless we persevered in the hopes a miracle would happen. At around 5am the sun started to rise and the clouds started to drop. Something amazing was happening. The sunlight kissed the edges of the clouds and lit the sky with an incredible warmth. Finally reaching the top, the bitter cold was still whistling through our many layers – even stopping my phone and camera from fully functioning – but it didn’t matter. The visibility was enough to stop us in our tracks. With views of every peak I was beside myself with this ending. I was feeling incredibly dizzy and unwell at this point and the clarity of the mountains didn’t last as the weather started to deteriorate rapidly.
What an achievement though. I don’t think I can put into words how happy I am that I managed to persevere. In retrospect, whilst writing this back in the warm cafe in Namche, it is a really manageable trek – providing you don’t get sick. It was far from easy and the steep climbs were extremely tough, but I have come away with one small blister and minimal muscle ache. You soon learn that you need to set a steady pace and power through. I can’t put into words how rewarded I feel and what incredible views and photos I have managed to capture. I think for now my trekking experience is complete, but I won’t shy away from doing it again in the future. I would love to return to the Himalayas and even do the Annapurna circuit, however, for now the thought of being sick again is still too fresh for me. I’d like to also add that no one else around me really got unwell or felt the effects as I did, so don’t let my pains put you off.