So we returned to Kathmandu from Lukla on the 25th. It was an interesting flight as everyone is aware that the Lukla airport is the one that is touted as "the most dangerous" in the world. Though we had no problems and the flight (two actually cause our group was so big) was pretty smooth, taking off from a runway that ends in a cliff drop of hundreds of feet is always a little disconcerting. We returned to the Yak and Yeti hotel and we all re-emerged a couple of hours later after taking a hot shower (boy that felt good!). The rest of the day was spent getting luggage in and walking to the shops in Kathmandu to buy presents for loved ones back home. We gathered again and spent the afternoon at the Tibetan refugee house which sells amazing rugs and cashmere products to help those who have settled here from the Tibet region. Everything was made in the house by hand. It was a worthy cause and we bought a great heap of stuff to help support their cause..... and because the stuff was just amazing. We ended the night with a great dinner at one of Wongchu's favorite places .... a Korean restaurant here in Kathmandu. Since then we have spent our time grabbing last minute souvenirs, confirming flight plans and packing our bags.
I am really proud of our group. We all remained relatively healthy due to the vigilance of everyone! We all made it to base camp which is phenomenal ! Most groups this size have a 50% success rate at best per Wongchu. In addition, Dena completed her leucine study and we added to the acetazolamide study as well. We completed all 19 hours of CME and may have sparked further investigations and trips into Nepal. The work we did was not just for ourselves.....there was some science and education involved and .......we accomplished all of these goals as well.
As we each have prepared to leave we begin to think about the the trek, the things we accomplished .... Maybe pushed ourselves a little beyond our own envelops and have discovered that we have changed and grown because of the experience..... Though the true growth and change that Nepal has begun in us may not be realized for months .....the seeds of change have sprouted and taken root..... Lastly however, I think we all are left thinking about the Sherpa family we are leaving behind. They have all made a lasting impression and we will forever close are eyes and be able to recall them ( hey that chipeta with jam is mine!).
It is with a little heaviness in my heart that I conclude the last blog ...and I'd like to say lastly thank you to all ....the participants, the Sherpas, the porters and the people in Kathmandu for making this experience the best possible experience it could have been! But especially thank you to my friend, Wongchu, who helped to organize and lead this whole endeavor. And as Wongchu would say "everyone leaves in good condition! Tourism!"