Saturday, December 1, 2012


I just said goodbye to the brave and amazing base camp trekkers, who loaded a bus for the airport and their harrowing flight to Luklah. They were good sports, down in the lobby at 4:30 am, the hotel door wide open and letting in surprisingly frigid air, no morning caffeine in site.

All their duffle bags and backpacks came from trek sponsor, Marmot. Lined up you cannot tell them apart ex

cept for the names magic marker'd onto their duffles like little summer campers, and the occasional sun hat or bandana carabiner'd onto a back pack.

I was particularly tickled to see Cy Curnin has no backpack. He's got a fanny pack with a water bottle, which he'd slung over his shoulder for the moment. When I asked, he told me he hates carrying anything on his back. SO DO I. This month I've been practicing packing with a backpack, but I hate it. To me, Cy is daring the mountain to let him be himself, and I respect that. I wasn't brave enough to trek without all the emergency stuff they tell you to tote along (well, I wasn't brave enough even to DO the trek). So I love Cy's bravado.

I hugged Sarah Ewalt goodbye, and she gifted me with her map of Pokhara, where she spent a week on her own before joining the Love, Hope, Strength group. Last night over dinner, she gave in to her fear about the airplane ride to Luklah so I was glad to see she was together this morning. When Tony asked me how she was doing, I confessed to not asking. No point in poking at the courage she mustered. I admit the plane ride is one reason I did not want to do this trek. I am going to be graced with my first grandchild in May, and although I could keel over at my keyboard this moment, it just seemed wrong to put my grandma self at any risk at all.

I took a photo of Lisa Miller and the small stuffed tiger she found hidden by her husband in her bag. I chatted with the inimitable Meghan Buchanan about her Lulu Lemon gear, and the fact that we both color-coordinated our trek clothes. Yes, girls DO want pretty gear. We are girls. What can we say!

I asked Lisa (whose husband is named Tony), Brett Dunnen and Meghan to take care of Tony for me, and was promised. Tony has been full of endearments this week, and he kept muttering them as he kissed me goodbye. I like this side of him. I know he wishes I was going along, and part of me wishes I was going to share this adventure with him. But a bigger part of me knows that it is good that we are splitting up. It was brave of me to back out of something when it wasn't really right for me, and it was kind of him to let me off the hook. I know I will like him a whole lot more if I don't have to poop above the tree line, in 30 degree weather, where there is no cover and everybody can see my frozen tush hanging out and will know exactly what I'm doing - not to mention avoiding that freaky ride to Luklah.

After they were all packed into the bus, and nobody was left in the lobby except a couple of the Mountain Trekking staff who were still counting bags, I stole an uneaten hard boiled egg from somebody's abandoned breakfast box, and slipped back up to the room. My own adventure begins at 6:30 a.m. - about 30 minutes from now - when I have to haul my bags to the bus station, where I catch the greenline bus to Pokhara.

And even though I am excited about my trip, it's a little bit sad and very quiet here now.

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