Had a brutal case of nocturnal orthopnea last night. Had dreams of stupas rushing over me in a flood of water. Pretty sure I was actually drowning this time. Sat up in a panic. I couldn’t breathe. Was sweating and freaking out. I knew what was going on but I couldn’t get out of my sleeping bag and get the layers off quickly enough. Oy. Sleeping at elevation sucks. Once again the backpack bolster came into play and I rested my eyes for the rest of the night.
Had a double down day today. We are headed down so our days are getting longer. Today we are trekking what we did in two days on the way up. The views are just as lovely this way as they were the other.
In Lobuche, we saw that a body had been brought down from base camp. Some of our group had seen a trekker stumbling around at base camp the previous day. We found out later in the day that it was the same guy. A fatal case of high altitude pulmonary edema. A reality check about the severity of the environment we are in and the critical need to keep a good handle on all symptoms and not overlook anything. I am relieved our twice daily medical checks are there so you have another person tracking changes in certain stats. On your own you may not realize the severity of the change or that there is anything amiss. Scary.
We walked back through the Everest memorial before lunch. Had a really different impact this time.
We walked the high ridge to Dingboche after lunch and I was waiting for Julie Andrews to jump out from behind a rock and start singing “The Hills Are Alive”. It really looked like a scene out of the movie.
The “Caboose Crew” is strong today. Having a few laughs and enjoying the relatively oxygen-rich air.
We stayed at Mingma’s family lodge today in Dingboche (the Sonam Friendship Lodge in Dingboche – in case you find yourself in such parts in need of a great lodge). Our room was a lovely warm cave. The walls and ceiling were draped in heavy woven fabric which made the room dark and cozy and quiet. Most lodges use plywood as walls – might as well use sheets for the same sound dampening value.
We got to meet Mingma’s wife, Mingma, and their daughter, Tawnsy, who was home from school waiting for year end results. Interestingly, Sherpa babies are sometimes names for the day of the week on which they were born. So The Mingmas were both born on a Tuesday.
We left a souvenir in our room (in the form of about 8 Canada pins stuck to the walls) and hopefully our legacy will survive!