7 was not our lucky number today. The morning of day 7 started out pretty rough. Eleni was feeling very sick and spent most the night coughing up mucus. It seemed that the past few nights seemed to be cold enough to cause the sickness. We tried to figure out a plan so we had a late start. We all thought that Eleni could make it to the next camp and stay at the camp as Alex and I carried on the rest of the trek and then meet up with here later. About 400 meters away from camp we had to change our plans and Eleni headed with one of the porters to a very close town named Pheriche. We all felt a bit bummed because no one wants to mess up the plan and we want to keep on schedule.
Alex and I exchanged all the necessary goods and contact information with Eleni so we could keep in touch and make sure her symptoms did not get worse. Once we got everything settled we headed on our way. The trek was beautiful; it was one of the first non-cloudy days. It felt like we were trekking to Mordor and crossing the tall mountains. The trail today was flat which was nice so we were able to move quickly. We stopped and ate lunch outside and then hit the only elevation for the day. Afternoons are generally worse than mornings when it comes to cloud cover.
The top of the climb contained a memorial for a lot of people who have died on Mt. Everest. The first name I recognized was Scott Fisher. He was one of the best well know trekkers when he started his climbing company. He lost his life in the 1996 disaster that is described in the book, Into Thin Air. There is also another memorial that Chhiri our guide pointed out to us, Babu Chhiri Sherpa who has three world records. He passed away when he tripped and fell on the crevasse when get off from tent to take pictures during Everest Expedition. One of his records was spending 21 hours on the top of Mt. Everest. Another was two summits in a week.
Alex and I then arrived to Lobuche where we are at an elevation of 5,000 meters. We got to the hotel called Mother Earth; Chhiri got us some tea and cookies so we could then go out and trek around the area to help acclimatize. As we roamed around some of the small hills Alex and I felt the altitude and we head back to the Hotel where we sipped on some garlic soup and relaxed. We now feel great and we are getting ready for our 5:30am wake up to make our last trek to Everest Base Camp.
The weather should be clear and we will shouldn’t have to wear much extra warm gear.
Colman Wipes left: LOW!
Red Pandas spotted: none!
Notes from Elini
As a kid, you loved sick days. Any time you were not feeling great or had the tiniest bit of a cold you got excited, because sick meant being in your parents bed watching Disney movies. The way to truly solidify the sick day was coughing up some green mucus. You hoped for green or yellow or brown.
Color meant a guaranteed sick day.
As an adult you start to feel the opposite. You hate getting sick because that means time off work, time away from your to do list, and it no longer means Disney movies in your parents bed. Last night was the most unwelcome sighting of green mucus ever.
I had not been feeling great the past few days but we all assumed it was just altitude. And don’t get me wrong altitude was starting to kick my butt, but luckily we have diamox and the diamox was working wonders. Yet I still had a sore throat, runny nose, and cough. And I ignored it all. I popped a few Halls, expired Sudafed, and started going through biodegradable toilet paper very quickly. (Biodegradable toilet paper is AWFUL Kleenex. Id like to give a shout out to Gill from NYC for hooking me up with the real thing.
My nose appreciates it)
So last night as I got up to pee multiple times due to the diamox I also started coughing up lots of green. Lots. At that point I knew there was no way I was going to make base camp.
I wanted to try to reach our next village, Labouche, since it was going to be an easy hike. So I got up, chatted with Chhirri and the boys, and we decided to give it a go.
It didn’t go well. I didn’t make it very far and it became more and more clear that I’m sick. Stupid Green Mucus!!
There was discussion on pulling out evacuation insurance and letting me take the speedy and scenic way back to Kathmandu. But I’m not ready to make that call yet. So with the help of one of our wonderful Porters, I descended to a village called Pheriche. I am going to try to wait it out here until the boys meet me in two days and then hike out together. Don’t worry if I get worse there is a helipad steps from my guest house and I will not hesitate to go the scenic route if I get worse. I just really hope that is not the case.
I have enjoyed this experience so much, not because of the end result of base camp and kalapathar, but because of the people we have meant along the way, the glimpses we have had of village life, and the amazing views. I’m not ready for if to end.
While I sit here outside of my guest house in Pheriche on this beautiful day I sort of feel like a wimp. I think I could have made it to Labouche with the boys. But then I get up and walk around and realize, I made the smart decision. It still sucks, but sometimes you have to be an adult. An adult who accepts when they are sick. So fingers crossed, some rest, lower altitude, and antibiotics will help me get better and I will be able to hike out with the boys. So I sit in Periche and wait and read. I also have a lovely river to my right, and rivers all around, as well as some yaks. Since I have to time I may go hunt red panda.
I would also like to note that both boys downed some emergen-C this morning after hearing the cough. Also when I passed off one of my trekking poles to the boys, Tom whipped out a Coleman wipe and disinfected as fast as he could. He wouldn’t even hug me goodbye, worried about germs. Boys…