Everest Base Camp Trek: The Final Hurdle

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe river of mud, yak poo and urine beneath my feet had become a blur some kilometres back, all that mattered now was that my feet were taking me forward, not what they were stepping in.

I began chanting to myself, one … two … three ….

One, two, three, counting my footsteps, counting the steps getting me closer to the end. Every turn on the track spat out more steps upwards, never ending, one, two, three.

One … two … three … Yangjing’s encouraging ‘not far now,’ urging me forward, washed over me as the mud ran under my feet. I’d long since stopped looking for the end point. The late afternoon dampness enveloped me, so far removed from the morning crispness we had set off in some 10 hours ago.

Yangjing, one of our guides - I owe her a huge debt of thanks.

Yangjing, one of our guides – I owe her a huge debt of thanks.

At what point had enthusiasm for the day’s challenge turned into a struggle and then into a determination that blotted out all else? There was no option, I had to keep going, I would reach the end.

Ironic, that as we headed theoretically down the mountain, the track took us upwards to our destination. This was our starting point just over two weeks ago, obviously we set off in a downwards direction but who realised or remembered that this is what we would face at the end. I certainly never thought that one of my biggest struggles would face me on this last day.

The entrance to the Sagamartha National Park, the gate that we’d originally passed through enthusiastically and with a verve that had gone missing in me in recent hours came into view, but still more steps.

Upwards.

One … two … three …

Finally, after what seemed like forever, I walked under that arch, through that entrance way and back into Lukla. That main street didn’t seem so long the last time I walked it. One … two … three ….

One … two … three. The slippery rocks that paved the way needed a watchful eye and careful footwork, the open ditch needed to be crossed, I almost stumbled and needed Yangjing’s steadying hand.

More steps up to the lodge, I grabbed the handrail needing all the help I could get. It was no longer one, two, three but one … one … one …

And then it was over.

I’d done it.

I’d trekked from Lukla to Everest Base Camp and returned. The tears held determinably in check for the last couple of hours erupted, there was no stopping them. The seat that I collapsed onto was so welcome, my legs no longer capable of supporting me.

Others in the group who’d arrived half an hour in front of me shouted their congratulations and high fived me, but all I could do was sob. Anande put a warming cup of hot mango juice in front of me, at least I think it was mango, he accepted my gulp of thanks and refilled the cup as I emptied it.

From my sitting position I unloaded my pack from my back, leant my hiking pole against the wall, leaned back and breathed.

Yep, I’d done it and despite my tears I was grinning inside.

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Photo of the Week: When In Doubt? Travel To Paris…

It’s not often that I reblog but Tahira’s post today spoke to me, it seemed so relevant for me right now. Paris …. hmmm….

tahira's shenanigans

From now on, each Friday (or there about), I will share a photo with you from my little adventures.

 

You know the famous saying “When in doubt? Travel to Paris.” ?

No?

Me either. I just made it up. But it’s an awesome saying, isn’t it?

 

Eiffel Tower in the morning

I feel a major recalibration coming on.  And where better to recalibrate than in Paris or better yet The South of France?

I don’t know what is coming, but what I do know is….

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s wings. Always believe in yourself.”  ~Anonymous

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Pieces of Perth: Forrest Place

An enduring memory I have of Forrest Place is sitting having coffee early one morning and watching as hundreds, possibly thousands, of workers poured from the railway station opposite and marched through Forrest Place. All purposely heading in one direction.

It was like a scene from a sci-fi movie with the population all being drawn by some invisible force towards an unknown destiny. In this case it was offices and shops that were drawing these people to their daily grind.

But I digress from the point of this particular post. Forrest  Place has always been a link between the railway station and the shopping and business district of Perth. Created in 1923 as a thoroughfare for traffic it became a large pedestrianised square in 1987 and is now an iconic spot where you can meet for coffee or a light lunch, enjoy one of the many activities it hosts or just sit in the sun and people watch.

The square is a combination of the old and the new. The west side still houses the beautiful old buildings of the Post Office (built in 1923) and the Commonwealth Bank (completed in 1933). The Donnybrook sandstone of their facades has weathered wonderfully and creates a time capsule that has gradually been surrounded by modern development.

The eastern side of the square has the modern glass and chrome of Forrest Chase the shopping arcade that houses Myer and a multitude of boutiques and specialty shops.

Over the years Forrest Place has become the place to go to, to participate or simply be a bystander as meetings, rallies, school holiday activities, markets and fashion parades take place.

But the powers that be are introducing a sense of fun into Forrest  Place. In 2011 a modern green sculpture was erected at the northern end of the precinct. The winner of a competition to find a suitable work of art the sculpture has had mixed reviews. Officially titled ‘Grow your own’ it’s more colloquially know as ‘The Cactus’ and my personal opinion is that it’s probably been placed there to distract the eye from the road works and extensive redevelopment that’s currently going on behind it.

When I was there recently I spent some time watching as children and adults alike enjoyed the walls of water that erupt from the paving creating ‘rooms’ that change configuration every few minutes.

If you’re in Perth on holiday you really can’t miss Forrest Place and its attractions. If you’re a local who rarely visits the city, make the effort, take the train into the city and spend some time learning what the place has to offer.

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Pieces of Perth: The Muse Cafe

A new series of posts I’m hoping to continue … cause … how many of us really see our own city?

Yesterday I had reason to visit the city  – Perth that is – and found an amazing café that I didn’t know existed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Muse Café is lodged in the old gaol, part of the Perth museum. It’s run by some young things and they have done brilliant things with the small gaol cells available to them. Each one is decked out with comfy couches and quirky coffee tables.

The coffee was really good and the chicken and sage sausage roll, served with salad greens, a lovely twist on the traditional.

Even if you’re not into museums you should search out this café – you could unlock your muse here.

A simple flat white - but look at the spoon.

A simple flat white – but look at the spoon.

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Where’s the best café in your city? I need to know for when I visit.

A Word a Week Challenge: Herd

Sue has set us an interesting Word a Week Challenge this week but I think I can come up with something a bit different. How many of you have encountered a herd of Yaks (if the collective noun for yaks is herd, that is)?

The first photo was taken on a beautiful morning as we moved above the tree line on the trek to Everest Base Camp and headed up the barren slopes of the Dhugla Ridge towards Lobuche. The second was taken at Gorak Shep as the yaks nonchalantly strolled amongst the little yellow tents belonging to the Everest Base Camp marathon runners.

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