After 2 crazy days trying to fly out of Kathmandu to Lukla we finally arrived yesterday. For any of you who are familiar with the Lukla airstrip you know what an experience that was. If you don’t know Google world’s most dangerous airport. It was an E ticket ride all the way.
We got under way on Day 1 of the trek and heldover the first night at Phakding. The group is starting to gel and as we learn more about each other all I can say is I am with some of the most accomplished endurance athletes in the world. There are several who have completed 300 mile+ races, The Marathon des Sables (Marathon of Sands), the Iditarod either on foot or bicycle, The Great Wall Marathon,etc. You get the picture. There is an awesome couple from India who are in the Guiness Book of World Records as the ONLY couple to run a marathon on all 7 continents in the same year!! But as the husband clarified for me it really only took them 9 months!! They include Antarctica and the North Pole as 2 of them. He highly recommended I choose Antarctica of the 2.
We set off this morning on a 6 hour climb up to Namche Bazaar where we will stay for 2 nights to acclimatize. You can seriously start to feel the effects of altitude today. Much of the trail (there is only 1) is very steep and narrow and…BUSY. We passed or were passed by many yak trains. You have to give those guys as much rook to pass as possible and remember to stay on the uphill side of the trail. Those horns are sharp. I had the pleaseure of having a train of probably 6 carrying lots of baggage pass me on a long extension bridge high above the river gorge. As soon as I find a card reader I’ll upload the photos from my camera. Words are inadequate.
As I listen to the people I’m with for 27 days talk about their achievements I am struck by how incredibly humble they are. We are all drawn to a race like this for similar reasons. These are World Adventure Racers and everyone’s ego is checked at the door. We have come from all over the world to challenge ourselves, mind, body & soul. It’s very clear that everyone’s first concern is for the health and safety of each other. Do I get lonely at times, absolutely. But I am slowly moving into the present and finding it more comfortable as I let myself become open to all that this trip has to offer. Any loneliness is being replaced by being in one of the most beautiful, humbling and awe inspiring places on the face of the earth. We got our first full on view of Everest today. I sat on rock eating an orange looking at that black granite jagged peak, the highest point on mother earth and all my emotions surged to the surface. There are some things we are not meant to forget and re-experience as if they were yesterday. That was the most delicious orange I’ve ever had.