April 21, 2018

Just a reminder to everyone that I’m doing brief weekly summaries from the Great Himalaya Trail through inReach satellite messenger device. Again THANK YOU to my good friend Julie for typing these up and posting them while I’m out of range. The goal is to have some of the daily blog posts up by May 1st when I will possibly get enough service to post some.

This week was full of many literal and figurative ups and downs. It unfortunately started off with Griggs unable to shake the mystery ailment that was zapping his energy, possibly the flu or the altitude or a combo. As Buck-30 and I continued on (with our guide Kishor) to hit two major passes, Griggs returned to Kathmandu, which required 3 days of hiking, a bus, and waiting 24 hours for skies to clear enough for a plane to takeoff. He just got to KTM today and is planning to meet us in another week in Lukla to continue on. Not having a continuous hike is tough for any of us, but we know this hike is very different. It is one reason we have 3 of us. Any of us can get sick and need to wait a leg or section to recover.

Buck-30 and I went over the snowy and foggy Nango La Pass at 15,600 ft/4755 m.  Then we had an unexpected zero day at a tea house due to foul weather when we needed to be properly setup for Lumbha Sambha Pass at 16,926 ft/5159 m, our highest point yet. We said goodbye to our Kanchenjunga region guide, Kishor, two days before the pass.  It was a good test for Buck-30 and me. We survived! Now we are diving back down to the heat and steep terrain for the upcoming week as we take the lower route around some technical passes we knew we were not going to attempt.

The trail is really relentless with VERY SLOW progress. All we have are the grossly underestimated mileages from the CalTopo track Buck-30 created from home since the guidebook doesn’t do mileages. We are lucky to make 10 of those miles that are likely 10-20% more with the countless steep ups and downs. Good news is that both our stomachs were fine this week, and we got to tent 3 times, and we are still on schedule. Bad news is we may fall behind schedule at this pace, we are sometimes feeling like our time may run out by the time monsoon season hits us in a couple months.  We never get an easy mile, (or even step it seems,) and I have a nagging pulled muscle in my inner thigh that I’m reminded of with every step.

I look forward to hopefully getting more of the details and photos out there in the next couple weeks.  I hope that by next week’s summary, I will report that our trail legs have finally kicked in.  We are desperately waiting for that to magically happen one day because this terrain is relentless! Did I mention that it’s relentless!?

Here are some fun stats from Buck-30:

Buck-30’s The Numbers Say……

# of nights in a tent:3

# of nights in a teahouse: 11

# of of nights that I’ve been soothed to sleep by Nepali techno music blasting: 2

# of times Kishor, our guide, answered a question, ” Maybe yes, maybe no”: 50+

# of times I’ve said “namaste,” one of the only two Nepalese words I know: 300+

# of days we’ve had either knee shattering descents, lung bursting, ascents, or both: 12 out of 14 days (we had two zero days)

# of miles that have been flat out of 116 mi: Maybe 1?

# of days we have exceeded 11.5 mi of hiking: 1, the first day downhill

# of lbs a porter today was carrying: 80+lbs

# of days I feel like I’m not going to be able to finish this trail before the monsoon hits, my visa is up, or I accidentally step off the trail and fall 2,000 ft to my death: 14 out of 14

-Buck-30

 

 

 

 

 

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