Filling in for the sleeping sis
Karen asked me to put up a blog post for her because she’s busy sleeping in a monastery after trekking her way to Thyangboche. She sends me brief little texts. Luckily, I can read between the lines because I’m her older sister and formed her mind when we were much younger.
On Saturday, she texted from Namche Bazaar that her scheduled “rest day” would actually be comprised of a hike, the pinnacle of which would be her first view of Mt. Everest. She didn’t bother to reply to my suggestion that she simply look at a postcard of Mt. Everest while remaining snug in her sleeping bag. When I inquired about the condition of her feet, she replied, “They’re great.” That translates into, “I am very happy I hiked Black Mountain a few weeks before my trip started, stamping my feet with such force that most of my toenails turned black – hey, I bet that’s why they called it Black Mountain, get it? Happily those pesky toenails fell right off, and now I don’t have to worry about them one little bit – get it?”
When I awoke on Sunday, Karen had already been up the “hill” above Namche Bazaar to gaze at Everest. She texted: “Saw Everest.” Now this is worrisome to me. I am beginning to wonder if she isn’t falling under the spell of that malicious mountain, and will conclude her trek with an overwhelming desire to conquer Everest. Though she scoffed at the notion of ever climbing Everest when I brought it up prior to her journey, I detect in her text a seedling, a mere sprout of what could become a full-blown mania. We’ll have to keep an eye on that!
Her next text to me was during her trek from Namche Bazaar to Thyangboche. It said, “Wow. Getting stronger! Hike hike hike!” Translation? “I am doing better than I expected, and I could Indian leg wrestle the Terminator and kick his cyborg ass.” Karen has always had phenomenal leg strength. I told her I bet her legs are like pistons. She replied, “My pistons are slow.” Well, duh! A locomotive’s pistons are slower than those of a Honda CBR 1100 motorcycle. My sister isn’t a flimsy little flash-in-the-pan motorbike: she’s a goddam train relentlessly chugging up a mountain with her whistle screaming, “I know I can, I know I can!” And by the way, the next filthy hippie who makes a disparaging comment to her on the trail had best be prepared to be shoved over the edge into a crevasse.
At 4:40 this morning (5:25 p.m. in Nepal), Karen texted, “Just got to Thyangboche Monastery. Long hard hot and cold day. Hiked down to the river (10,000 feet), then back up to 12,000 feet after lunch. Brutal.” I’ll just bet it was. A five-mile hike is 316,800 inches on the prairie. I’m figuring that in mountains some more inches sneak in. If Karen were obsessive-compulsive, she would count every single inch. Happily, Karen doesn’t suffer from that particular disorder.
Three hours later Karen texted, “Long hard day and another tomorrow – the rest day.” Indeed. Where on earth do the organizers of this trip get off calling something a “rest day” and then forcing people to Bataan Death March it up a mountain? Brimming with indignation on her behalf, I asked my sister about it. She explained that the rest day hikes are to further acclimate the hikers so they don’t fall prey to altitude sickness. Oh.
Karen expects to soon be able to update her blog, and I happen to know she has some hilarious stories. I won’t steal her thunder by leaking the details. Know she is well, persevering, and very happy.