Saturday, May 3, 2008

24 April: Base Camp Rest Day

Woke up to the chirping birds, sun beating warmly down on my tent and one of those wondering gazes like.. where am I? This has happened to me several times over the past few years, but primarily when traveling a ridiculous amount. One year while on a global project, I woke up in Seoul and thought I was in Iceland. I wish I were kidding. I also wish I were kidding when I mention that I had slept straight through a meeting that had started 1 1/2 hrs before I finally figured out where I was.

Fortunately, this morning there was no meeting- just G-Man shaking the tent, wondering why I hadn't shown up for breakfast yet. I spent several minutes staring at the tent, blinking and getting bearings. Last night was truly weird. I was shaking and shivering all night, despite the hot water bottle in the bottom of the sleeping bag and down jacket on. If I did have some sort of cold, it was gone by 3 or so, and then slept for the next several hours in some form of peace. Fortunately, I was alone in feeling like crap, Joe, Willie and Francisco all slept well. We have all had moments where we each have slept poorly, so it's not anything unique.

One look at the flurry of activity in the cook tent that takes place about two hours before food is finally served will help understand why it takes so long to get a meal: these guys, led by our Chief Cook, Super Milo, make just about everything by hand. It is sorta funny though- Joe pointed out that no matter what you order, it really doesn't matter. This morning Joe was going to trek to Kala Pathar and woke up early so he could eat and get out of town. His order: two slices of toast and one fried egg. An hour and a half later, when Francisco and I were already seated and laughing about how complex his order was, breakfast arrived: porridge, omelettes and bacon. In the long run, time was gone, so no Kala Pathar.

Willie and the Sherpas were on a gear run, pushing equipment up to Camp II in preparation for our move in two days. These guys are so fast, it's ridiculous. They made Camp II in a little under 3 hours, led by Tendi. When he did return, Willie was approached by our Nepal Army Liaison Officer, who has serious altitude issues. Willie took action immediately and brought him over to the hospital tent where his oxygen saturation rate at one point measured in the high 40s. After diagnosis, it was determined that he'll be heading down to a lower elevation via helicopter tomorrow. Close call...

At some point, Francisco and I decided to walk around Base Camp, toss the football and see what was new. It's amazing how many new tent camps have popped up in just a few weeks. Paths are more established across the moraine and rock field and we even found a legitimate bakery. I'm not kidding. A bakery at Base Camp. We went inside, Francisco treated us to apple pie, and we chatted with a group of friendly trekkers who had come up from Lobuche.

To wrap up the night, The Fuzzies from next door came over to butt snorkel Willie and find out when he was going to start fixing lines up to high camps. We were all watching a movie when they were doing their "oh, Willie you're so great" stuff with just the occasional stifled snort. Oh well.



Hi! I am Francisco's sister Arizbet,
Love your blog, Good luck tomorrow on your way up.
Please tell my brother we say hi and that JJ send his love.

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