Otherwise the mountain will not let you pass.
Those were the words our guide started with on day 1.
It was my mantra by day 3. Today we trekked 8hrs from Phading to Naamche- most of which was a steady incline. Just after lunch we passed the 3000m above sea level point and at this point we also began the bulk of our 800m incline. It was also the point my lungs said wtf.
While I have been lucky and suffered next to no major altitude sickness symptoms- breathing is SO HARD. Especially doing rocky, make shift trails. I literally was repeating “don’t bring your problems to the mountain” the whole climb today. And taking breaks every 30 steps to do some deep breathing. If you’re wondering what it feels like to breath here (and come from the prairies where you reside at 50m above sea).. It’s like tying a scarf over your face, and then 3 plastic bags, and then running a marathon.
The rest of my body? Feels amazing. Seriously. My muscles didn’t really fatigue, probably because my brain was so focused on getting oxygen in it didn’t have time to notice. If I put my hands on my ribs I could feel them expanding and exhaling to their absolute maximum- something not many of us experience ever. Truly amazing and truly uncomfortable all at once.
There are so many moments where I am hit with a sudden realization of where I am and what I’m doing. Like walking over a swinging bridge over a rushing river, 6stories (at least) in the air surrounded by mountains. Prayer flags tied everywhere and the clouds at eye level.
This is real and this is where I am. Unbelievable. I’ll write more tomorrow- we stay in Naamche for two nights to acclimatize (thank god). Now I eat some more garlic soup, momos and tea before bed!
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