Today we left a little earlier than the main group to give me more time to hike the trail. I am the slowest of the hikers and the guides continually encourage me to set the pace that does not make me out of breath. This is important at the high altitudes as you can develop altitude sickness which can be fatal. First stage is a headache, then your brain begins to swell and then you develop fluid in your lungs. It is a gradual process so communication with the guides and following their hiking advice is very important.
After hiking for a while in these high altitudes, I developed a headache and I took a small dose of the medication. My headaches went away as long as I pressure breathed and set my pace. We had some very steep climbs today and then some downhill and back up again. Overall we gained 2200 feet in elevation to about 16,400 feet. I have never been this high before.
Hiking to Everest base camp is both physical and mental. You can prepare only so much and then you have to have a gradual ascent to the camp. You have to be aware of your body and it’s limitations and adapt as needed during the climb up.
My 56 year old body does not know what hit it. I trained for this hike. I could have trained more but, I could not simulate the altitude and the hiking at the same time. I sometimes wondered why I ever did this. But then today I was hiking with my brother John who is taking it to a far higher level by trying to climb the summit. I am also with two of my daughters, Erin and Haley who are young and very strong and very energetic. I am very happy to be on this trip.