View from the top of Kala Patthar
After the trek ended, we flew back to Kathmandu where the dreaded 'Khumbu cough' finally won the battle against my immune system. Gerard had nursed a sore throat and a chest infection on the trek for which he'd taken antibiotics- and we'd been sleeping in close quarters every night. My sore throat and fever came on strongly in Kathmandu and I resisted taking any antibiotics- instead I settled into three days of beautiful, fever-induced sleep in the hotel room as my body turned up the internal heat to fight against the infection. Waking up just to eat and then go back to bed. This was fine with me because I was also physically exhausted and my body needed the time to recover. It felt like I'd just run 12 marathons in a row. You know how you would feel tired and sore the next day if you randomly decided to spend hours upon hours hiking up and down mountains all day? That's how I felt… times a factor of 12. Plus a raging fever.
Painting hanging in the hotel lobby.
Having traveled back from Kathmandu to Lake Tahoe over a week ago, I am almost back to normal again. I have battled the jet lag and overcome the sheer physical exhaustion of the trek. Its nice waking up in my own bed again. Also its nice being with my wife again. Without Sarah and all the sacrifices she made on my behalf while I was away, none of this would have been possible. Thank you, Sarah. I am also grateful towards my brother for coming up with this crazy idea and then convincing me I should come along on the adventure. And I am thankful for my Dad for helping to make the trip happen- for pushing through both pain and sickness- and for making it all the way to Everest base camp at the ripe old age of 66- you really did me proud. And thanks to uncle Geoff and Dave who were always in a balanced, positive state of mind regardless of how exhausted we all were. I have also gained new appreciation for my life back in Lake Tahoe, co-creating Well Being with Sarah, and being with my dog, Ralphie- living the good life here in the mountains by the lake.
Good boy, Ralphie.
What had it all been for? That' s a question I keep asking myself. I like to think that we went to base camp for the same reason that other climbers go to the summit of Everest. Because it's there... and because it's a challenge... and because it's beautiful. The fact that we were immersed in such a stunning environment meant that often I forgot all about the grueling physical task and my mind would just wonder off into a peaceful place. I spent hours just putting my right pole down as my left foot hit the ground, then I would I plant my left pole just as my right foot hit the ground- and so on, ad infinitum. Every once in a while I would lift my focus away from the uneven ground and take a moment to appreciate just how amazing my surroundings were. 360 degree beauty for days on end. That said, I hope you enjoyed my blog. I tried my best to be both entertaining and informative. I also hope you are inspired to do this trek yourself one day. I promise it will be the most challenging/most rewarding experience of your life.
Thanks for reading,
Nick Hughes is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and co-owner of Well Being. Influenced by the ideas of Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, Nick presents his unique take on human existence with the goal of helping others live a happier life.