The journey continues
I have made up my mind. Things are not improving. Another night doesn’t help. My lungs have turned in their resignation. My body is on strike. I tell my ego to take a hike and I decide to descend. That was my Dr’s advice before I left. I am now making a u-turn and heading back to Namche Bazzar. Descending about 1000 feet. I am hoping that my breathing will come back to normal. And I feel good about the decision.
With each meter I descend, my breathing improves. Magically. I am tempted to go back up again. I wish I had more time. Maybe another day of acclimatizing. Maybe better food. Better accommodations. Maybe something. Everest Base Camp is just 13 km away. A mere 8 miles. I have trekked 50 km. And would be lying if I told you I’m not disappointed.
The way back looks different. It feels different. Gone is my dread of the ass handing hills. Gone is my fear of those bridges. Those cliffs. The slippery rocks. The knee testing descends. I am looking forward to the 50 km back. And I want to slow them down. I am even looking forward to the duct tape flight from Lukla.
I spend the night in Namche Bazzar and another in Deboche. Our final night will be in Lukla before the early morning duct tape flight.
I am passing caravan after caravan of yaks and donkeys delivering goods to nearby towns. Porters performing super human feats. One is taking a break. He is carrying 105 kg. 230 lbs. Wearing a pair of worn out crocks. Some wear sandals or shower shoes. They move inch by inch. They know that eventually they will get there.
It is potato planting season. Men and women are digging up fields. Women crouched over piles of just harvested potatoes. They are grading them. Separating the better ones to go back into the ground. For next year’s harvest.
I stop at one last tea house. The Himalayan Sherpa Coffee Tea House. They roast their own coffee and have a Lavazza espresso machine. The Rolls Royce of espresso machines. The owner makes us a cappuccino that would put any Soho coffee shop to shame. Where did you learn to make such great coffee. I asked. A Tibetan friend taught me. She replied. I am speechless.
At one ridge nearing Lukla, I look back one final time. The mountains are dotted with pink and blue villages. I see clouds hovering near the peaks. A fog has overtaken the valley. A cold mist is polishing the rhododendron leaves. The sound of the Milky River fills the air. The screeching of the crows has turned to laughter. The wind is calm. I am dissolving into this nature. Into this moment. This very moment. And I choke up. Tears are flowing. Uncontrollably. I don’t want Dawa to see me. He will ask me why. I will not be able to answer. That would be for anther day.
The journey continues