|Machhapuchre Base Camp|
3pm is late to finish but I'm the slowest of the group. The path was covered in fog in all directions except for a few feet ahead. I'm convinced I have a healthy dose of altitude sickness (symptoms: severe headache, nausea, feeling drunk) and it didn't help to watch a young girl rushed down the mountain held onto tightly by a sherpa. (The only way out of altitude sickness is to go down the up way immediately.) Eventually we make it to this point in the photo, our stop for the night, where I snap this before rushing off to get some tea and food in me. I end up being fine, the altitude sickness passes by morning. We start the last portion of the trek at 4am, in total darkness, to reach Annapurna Base Camp by sunrise.
The whole dumb thing about all of this is that I'm struggling to make it to the freakin base camp. That's where climbers start to climb Annapurna. It sort of feels like walking to Boston to reach the starting line of the Boston marathon. I don't know how much of this stuff is interesting to people who don't know me at all. A lot of the events of the trip are still sort of frozen in my brain, and it's hard to know how much is interesting to the casual reader of this blog. The trip was great, but it was big, and I feel like I have to take back pieces of it at a time, for me, but it would be great if you read it and enjoy it too. Whether or not y'all want to stick around for that...
Here's some killer Browning better describing what it feels like to barely make it to 13,000ft and see those badass mountains...
These are wild fancies, but I feel, sweet friend,
As one breathing his weakness to the ear
Of a pitying angel—dear as a winter flower.
A slight flower growing alone, and offering
Its frail cup of three leaves to the cold sun,
Yet and confiding, like the triumph
Of a child—and why am I not worthy thee?
I can live all the life of plants, and gaze
Drowsily on the bees that flit and play,
Or bare my breast for sunbeams which will kill,
Or open in the night of sounds, to look
For the dim stars; I can mount with the bird,
Leaping airily his pyramid of leaves
And twisted boughs of some tall mountain tree,
Or rise cheerfully springing to the heavens—
Or like a fish breathe in the morning air
In the misty sun-warm water—or with flowers
And trees can smile in light at the sinking sun,
Just as the storm comes—as a girl would look
On a departing lover—most serene.
- Robert Browning Pauline