I was born ready

By Jenna McCarthy

I’m not gonna sugarcoat it or beat around the bush: Today was a little rough. Some people are feeling under the weather. It also hailed, followed by a lovely combination of snow and rain that made us all, well, cold and wet. 

We hiked for 4 miles today with some steep climbs and stopped for the classic tea and biscuits in between. Personally, my favorite part of the day was all the waterfalls we saw on the trek and the temple that was built next to them. There was also a small batch of hidden pink flowers. 

Today and tomorrow are less intense as we acclimate to the higher altitudes and lower temperatures. 

Although we got to the lodge cold and wet, morale with this group is never low! No one ever complains. Instead, we all simply find our roommates for the night, change out of our wet gear, and exchange it for warm, dry clothes. Then, we head to the indoor communal space, where we see how much tea we can drink in one sitting and eat a late lunch. 

Next, we take a break for 2 hours, and people just hang out, playing games together, napping, chatting, knitting (shoutout to Elizabeth Siminitus who is creating a beautiful sweater), reading, journaling, or painting with small watercolor sets in mini sketchbooks. Some games include cards, SET, and bananagrams. Books include both books for school and books for fun. Needles to say, chill vibes. 

Finally, we eat dinner which has a lot of different components, including what appears to be seasoned french fries. After dinner, Andrew tells us that tomorrow is going to be one of the toughest workouts of our lives and that we’re all gonna regret applying to go on this trek. Just kidding. 

But, he does tell us to break out all of our winter gear, including, but not limited to, the micro spikes!!! 

(That is when you know things are getting real serious around here) 

He also says we might feel some symptoms of altitude sickness either tonight or tomorrow AM but assures us that it’s nothing to worry about because we will be walking at a manageable pace. However, he tells us to expect waking up and feeling like we have to gasp for air to catch our breaths - can't say I am looking forward to that. He also tells us that we may lose our appetites. 

Warning TMI: Some of us have travelers diarrhea, constipation, or HAF (high-altitude farts). It’s just the name of the game/nature of the beast I guess, but the toilets here are different (there’s no toilet paper, and the toilet is simply a hole in the ground). And, whether or not you have symptoms and which symptoms you do have seem to be completely arbitrary so think Russian roulette. 

Anyway, I’ve been taking the altitude sickness meds since night 1 at Kathmandu, and they are giving me dreams that are vivid and lifelike. 

But yeah, tomorrow it’s go time, and as my brother also always says, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” 

Anyway, I’m coldly, but I hope the people reading this are warmly, 

Jenna (“I can’t tell which is colder: my fingers or my toes”) McCarthy ‘23

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