Today we had a lie-in! Up at 7:30am and off by 9am on what would become a 7.5 hour acclimatization walk amidst some of the most stunning scenery any of us had ever seen. The Himalayas maintain this otherworldly quality that is simply impossible to capture in a photograph and equally difficult to express in words. It is like “walking in the heavens,” as our guide Tashi says. With each turn there is a new panoramic view, a new angle to take in, and a new peak to measure up.
Last night the whole team was feeling fairly broken by the altitude, the distance covered, and the thought of what lied ahead. After a good night’s sleep, however, we were pumped and ready to go. Especially StavMan, who was literally falling asleep at dinner last night. Boy did he bounce back! Everyone brought their A-game. K2 (the other Kyle) and J-Rod (Jarrod) were their usual ridiculous selves posing in Kung-fu position at the edge of mountains. K-Dax (Kaine) and Chook (Paul) remained level-headed, good humored, and an all-around joy to trek with. Jazz showed everyone up when we hit heavy snow on a downhill, literally skiing down the Himalayas in her trekking boots.
While the day was one giant highlight, a few moments did stand out. The first was when Chook ran into an old Navy buddy he hadn’t seen in TEN YEARS. His wife will, apparently, not be surprised as he runs into someone he knows on every corner of the globe. The second was when we met Apa Sherpa, the world record hold for number of times summiting Mount Everest. How many times has he summated the world’s highest peak, you ask? Oh, just 21! Not only did we have the honor of meeting him, we actually got our picture taken with him while Everest itself loomed in the background. We sports our bright orange Cure Cancer trekking buffs and he flew his Everest flag high. It was one of those moments you never forget.
Tomorrow it’s back on the trail, with 8 hours of mostly uphill steps ahead of us. What does this team have to say about that? BRING IT ON!
One final note: Wendy officially has a new nickname. It’s “Wu!!!!” It was inspired by the profession of our IA team member Nadia’s partner. Just too perfect.