Today was the big day: Annapurna Basecamp. It was the highest peak of my trek (13,650 ft or 4,130 meters), and the goal I had set for myself.
Gambu and I started from Deurali and ripped through Machhapuchhre Basecamp to Annapurna Basecamp in 3 hours. Although the trail itself was easier today, the altitude made it incredibly hard to breathe and I had to remind myself to slow down every time I started to feel dizzy.
Nevertheless, we arrived swiftly and were greeted with blue skies and glorious snow covered mountains, and all I could think was, “wow.”
This was living!
I climbing to the highest viewpoint, faced the mountains and dramatically threw my arms in the air and reveled in the glory.
It was everything I dreamed it would be- and I was going to be unapologetically cheesy about it.
After six days of pushing myself harder than I thought I could, it felt so good to be at the top. I’m nowhere near done with my trek, of course, but making it to ABC was still wort celebrating.
Once I was done basking, I decided it was time to rest.
I took my shoes off, unwrapped my toes and immediately knew I had a problem. Blisters had developed under my toenails and the only way to feel any relief would be to drain them.
So I took a big breath and grabbed a needle and tried to get deep enough to hit the blisters. I pride myself on my incredibly high tolerance for pain, but I couldn’t stop wincing while trying to push all the pus out.
I had to make a deeper slit above my nails to let everything drain and hopefully dry by tomorrow. Gambu noticed that I was having a bad time, so he sat down next to me and took my beat up feet in his hands.
He proceeded to go at it, with a pair of old nail clippers and a needle, while I yelped and laughed- my naturally reaction to pain when I’m too proud to cry. It was quite the ordeal, but I was lucky to have him power through my whimpering.
Then, at alarming rate- the perfectly blue skies turned grey and it started to snow. I could see my breath in the cold air, even indoors. I put on almost every article of clothing I had, until I was wearing three thermal layers, two coats, and three pairs of pants.
At 13,000 feet it’s best to keep your head clear, but my body wasn’t warming up so I got a little help from some Nepali rum mixed with hot water.
I spent the evening bundled up in a common room, watching my breath dance in the cold air, while feeling warm in all my glory.
Or the Nepali rum. Unclear.
All that matters is that I made it up to basecamp today and I’m really proud of that.