Day 11: Yak Karga to Thurong Phedi and back down to Letr
Since my feet were still a mess,
(I wore my Teva water shoes the entire trek)
the fiance and I decided to hire a porter to carry our bags the last few days of the trek.
We really only needed his help the day of the pass,
but we were unsure if any would be available from base camp.
Originally, we planned to trek from Yak Karga to Letr,
and stay one night in Letr.
but, Michelle was moving onto Thurong Phedi (base camp),
and planned to do the pass the following morning.
At the time of deliberation on what we would do,
the ascent didn’t seem too great-
in fact, compared to previous days, it looked easy.
we couldn’t see any reason why we couldn’t make it.
so, we made our decision:
go up, all the way to base camp,
and tackle the pass the next morning.
and, to be honest, I was ready for a warm shower.
by this point, the temperature was so cold,
that the thought of removing my clothes was unbearable.
Bright and early we were up and out.
The three hour trek was easy,
after all, I had nothing to carry.
We arrived at Thurong Phedi feeling great-
at least as great as anyone could feel at an altitude of 15,000ft.
The fiance, Michelle and I ordered lunch, relaxed and settled in our room.
It was advised that we hike to high base camp,
and back down again that afternoon,
to help with the altitude.
Although I could feel my head start to ache,
I did not object to the idea.
The hike up towards high base camp was completely vertical.
The fiance got nearly half way up the nearly 1100 feet before deciding to turn back,
it was becoming too much for his head.
Although my head also hurt,
I was having too much fun stomping up, and through, the snow.
I hated the idea of turning back.
However, it didn’t take too long for the pain in my head to worsen,
and so, I too turned back.
Here’s the thing about high elevation-
the higher you get, the less oxygen your body receives.
this causes nausea, fatigue, and headaches.
One you return to lower elevations,
your body should receive more oxygen,
and these symptoms should dissipate.
In our case,
they did not.
Instead, our headaches got worse.
And so, we had to decide:
fight through the pain,
or return to Letr (original plan).
After about an hour weighing our options,
talking with the porter,
and really assessing our symptoms,
we decided to turn back.
My head, in all honesty, felt like it was about to explode.
We packed up our things,
and were on our way again, back down to Letr for the night.
The entire hike down,
I waited and hoped that my head would start to feel better.
The fiance’s headache had subsided,
but mine was there to stay, or, so it seemed.
Even after several hours, it remained.
As I look back on this night,
one thing sticks out in my mind-
laying on a dining room bench with my head in the fiance’s lap crying.
I had never experienced such pain in my life.
at times, I thought I was going to die.
As I lay in his lap,
the fiance stroked my hair,
massaged my head,
and constantly reassured me of his love.
he did anything and everything possible to make me feel better.
We discussed different scenarios for the following morning…
stay another night,
or turn back?
We pushed the little wooden twin beds in our room together,
curled up in our sleeping bags,
and said we would decide in the morning.
that night, we went to sleep with the sun still up and night still far off.