Day 6: New underwear day

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We’re still in Dingboche today. This morning’s mini hike was amazing. Tough, but amazing. The higher altitude made sleeping through the night difficult. I woke up kind of grouchy and not really looking forward to hiking, but tossed on my clothes and went anyway.

It’s new underwear day after all. How bad could it truly be?

I’m glad I went today. Overall, I feel dramatically better than yesterday. I love how this experience has forced me to listen to my body again. The doctors have all been very Diamox-happy. I understand their interest but it’s not something I want to do. The symptoms and side effects seem worse than actual altitude sickness.

Flipping through photos this afternoon is completely unreal. Every single day has been loaded with beauty. Even the snapshots are accidentally stunning.

In under a week, we’ve marched through the lively pines. Lazy evergreen dripped from the branches while sunlight cut lines through their shadows. Cool breezes rolled across the glacial rivers and bit at my uncovered arms. My nose pinked in the sun while dark tresses collected dust with each step of my boots.

My hair hasn’t escaped a hat except to sleep. The wild bangs and oily roots are an ode to our cleanliness – or lack thereof – pact.

The rocks are ever-changing. My eyes follow the ground for hours at a time. Mount Everest creeps closer and closer each time I change focus. First, they were just rocks. Then, swaying metal bridges over rushing teal waters. More rocks. Then, sand. Quartz.

The quartz is incredible. And it reminds me of Grandma Louise all along the way. She used to collect the white rocks at the edge of the pond of the farm. They’d sit in clusters around the kitchen as she showed them to everyone that visited.

So it feels like she’s here.

The stupas, prayer flags and prayer rocks move me. The words of so many. Hopes. Desires. Wishes. Needs. Can you imagine something so important to you that’s it’s worth writing in stone? The idea breaks my heart. So much pain seems to be implied there. Loss. Yearning. We walk by so many every day. Piles on piles on piles of them.

Spiritually, this place is incredible. It feels safe. Protected. There’s so much good all around.

I could write for days. Solely because we have about 8 hours of downtime everyday.

We’re still in Dingboche for acclimation and, on Day 2 here, our typical afternoon has turned into lounging in the sunroom.

Today is no exception.

This crew, though, is curious. Katie and Sarah are currently trying to fix the curtains. They pulled one off the wall while trying to block the sun. Boyce has filled one corner while Linda claimed the other. Both are deep into books although it looks like Linda might actually be taking selfies. Yea. She’s definitely taking selfies. Alex is shuffling cards with no one to play with. Keith found a seat in the sun and folded his head into his arms for a nap.

Lakpa, the porters and other guides are playing cards near the entrance with wild exclamations in Nepalese. I only understand the occasional “Dawa!” Something in their language sounds like “Laura.” I hear it often and always turn my attention to them for no reason.

To my left, Marina is writing. She’s had a mess of an afternoon so far. Sewing patches. Telling jokes. Offering Keith career and life advice.

The girls have showered. Katie, Marina and I are the last ones standing. Had the hot water actually been working today, it would only be me. it’s one part gross and one part badass.

I took the coldest shower of my life against my better judgement.

The un-showered segment of the group narrowed to Boyce, Keith and I this afternoon. I caved. As much as I wanted to make it to 12 days, this was still an experience I’ll never forget.

Stripped naked, I stood on my flip flops, careful to touch nothing in the closet. A faucet on one end with a handheld sprayer spewed freezing cold water as I attempted the usual scrub and rinse routines.

Naturally, as I finished, the sun went behind the mountains and I spent the rest of the evening shivering.

I’m glad I went through with it but also not sure I’ll try it again. So. Freaking. Cold.

Everyone was sure to giggle about my lack of beanie. Marina even said I remind her of Zoey Deschenel. They were all amused by the bangs.

The shower did emphasize that I have an enormous rash all over. Generally, I feel fine so I’m chalking it up to an allergy. My guess is that it’s a reaction to the iodine Iv’e been using to purify my water. The good news is that water gets cloudy tomorrow so I’ll be buying bottles for the next few days anyway. We’ll see if anything changes. I’ve been exposed to so many weird things in the last week. It could seriously be anything.

Without a temperature or other symptoms, I’m going to try to leave it be.

My stomach is definitely uneasy tonight, though. I had tomato cheese pizza for lunch and a cheese sandwich for dinner. So gassy. I’m a little worried for how this might go tonight. Guess we’ll find out.

Time for me to bundle up. Here’s hoping my wet hair doesn’t make me sick.