Today was our first day of real work! We woke up around 6am to stumble around in the grass and somehow make our way to the dining tent, where we had breakfast. And breakfast was delicious. So we had the usual option of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, and also pancakes, scrambled eggs, and corn flakes with sliced banana and hot milk. I thought I would be losing weight on this trip, what with all the hiking, but our kitchen staff is working hard to stop that from becoming a reality.
Lovely porters and sherpas packed up our campsite—a LOT of porters!—and we began to make our way out of Jiri. It was flat at first, and then we reached the foot of the mountain and I could swear it was basically vertical. Well not really, but for some pathetic, unfit American like me, it was pretty steep. Our guides were super kind about it, though, and gave us adequate rest stops and humored us as we put on our rain jackets, took off our rain jackets, put on our dry sacks, took off our dry sacks, drank water, sat down…we bumbled a little.
But we did indeed make it to the top of the mountain! Today’s hike was up and down what I would consider a mountain—at least large enough to ski. A number of us were sure we couldn’t make it, especially since when we looked at the mountain beforehand the top was obscured by some fog/clouds/daunting weather, but we all did it! In fact, Alda even led the charge at some point J And Andrew all along the way gave out Jolly Ranchers to all the kids we could see. And if anyone wants to know what Nepal smells like outside of Kathmandu, it smells like nature. Dirt, grass, and the occasional whiff of poop. The last which this particular group of eight medicine-focused individuals happen to love to talk about at mealtime. Oh, and we saw a lot of cute baby goats.
Lunch was in the home of some really nice farmer, I think? And it was so good! Our kitchen staff can make potatoes better than anyone. Also grilled cheese. Also cold beans from a can. Also cocktail weenies. Anyway, after hiking up the mountain and having lunch we had to walk down. It was slippery and wet. This is when Kelly got a leech. There were also two metal bridges, which some of us walked with no problem and some of us got freaked out at. Around this time Kelly got a baby leech on his neck.
Tonight we’re camping near a roaring river in Shivalaya. It’s only 8:30pm but we’re all exhausted. Pulah, our lead guide-Sherpa-in-charge-awesome-person, answered all our pesky questions about Chyangba (where he’s from and where we’re going), Nepal, culture, his kids, everything. He also showed us a magic card trick that was pretty cool. Had dinner, which was yak cheese pizza (actually pretty good), shrimp chips, chicken soup, vegetable momos, vegetables, and I feel like something else I’m forgetting. Dessert was sliced bananas and lychee. I swear, the food we’re getting while hiking is better than at Stanford.
We began going over lectures tonight. So Frank, Kelly, and I talked about the trauma section we’ll be doing first (yikes!), which took about forever and then ended on the lighthearted note of drowning and respiratory infections. But we’ve started the trek, literally and figuratively, so that’s exciting.
All in all, Nepal is a beautiful country to hike, especially when the team working with us does so many nice things to accommodate us (seriously, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate EVERY time we sit down for a meal. And we sit down for every meal. Luxury camping at its finest). If Andrew’s last post was lacking, we all say hello to friends and family—myself in particular to Mom, Dad, the family, Jamie, the other Goldfields, and any other friends who have nothing better to do than read blog posts from Nepal. Hope we all survive and catch no more leeches.
Number of survivors: 8
Kim: 2 (one from Kathmandu)
Alda: .5 (a leech got slimy on her but didn’t get to bite)