It was with some trepidation I collected my car from the station car park at lunchtime on the first Friday of February and started up the motorway to Sheffield. It was the long-awaited pre-trip weekend for the Everest trek and I was a bit nervous. We had to be at the Jagged Globe offices at 9.30am on the Saturday morning so when I got to the hotel I asked the receptionist to help me with some directions. It was apparently a fairly short walk, however she didn’t really know the best way and it all started to get a bit convoluted. Not one for being frivolous when it comes to travelling by taxi, I realised this was an exception – knowing my propensity to get lost at the drop of a hat I decided a taxi was a must as I didn’t want to be late. Fortunately I bumped into two lovely fellow trek-ladies at breakfast, Kay and Michaela, and we walked there together, arriving at the right place and on time!
The morning was very informative, we had a very useful discussion about kit and a session about the scientific research that Xtreme Everest had been working on for the last ten years (see my JustGiving page) and found out that we might be needed to take part in some experiments on our trek. Exciting! We’ll actually be stopping at a place called Namche Bazar for an extra night as the research team are going to present the findings of the research to the Sherpa community. This is one of the things that is going to make this trek very unique and I feel very privileged to be able to be part of it.
After the tea break we had a cheery talk about recognising the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), which we would be likely to experience at some point, and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), which hopefully we wouldn’t. The main reason you get HAPE/HACE is when you don’t properly acclimatise, however our trek has extra days built into the schedule so our ascent is a little slower than most trips. Fingers crossed we’ll all stay well.
The afternoon saw us taking a gentle 5mile walk in the Peaks, and, lucky with the weather once again I wished for my sunglasses which I’d left at the hotel! After watching England beat France at rugby at the pub we went back next door to the Jagged Globe office where the organisers had arranged for the local Nepali restaurant to cook us a traditional meal. We queued up to get our Dal Bhat (lentils, rice, chicken curry and veg) and then all sat at a long table, got to know each other a bit and enjoyed our meal. This was followed by a slide show of pictures illustrating the route and places we were visiting on the trek, it looks amazing. I am so glad I had the chance to taste the food as that was one of the things I was most concerned about. Having experienced Indian food (in India), which I found universally spicy, I was worried it was going to be similar in Nepal. But it wasn’t, it was lovely! I am so happy about that.
We met at the train station at 9am on Sunday and caught the train to Grindleford. Today we would be out for about 5hrs walking and talking. I had finally got my new boots a few days before so I wore them on the Sunday. The going was muddy, wet and slippery underfoot, and after about 4hrs of walking up and down hills I must say that I so wanted to take them off! I guess I’m going to have to start wearing them every day to get myself used to the feel of them …
The weather held and it only got a bit drizzly once, so I also got the chance to try out my new waterproof jacket. I bought a merino wool base layer while I was there and wore it (so expensive! but worth it) so at least I have some kit now. I really liked the Peak District, the views were fabulous when we climbed up to the highest point in the area, and I took some great photos. The people were also really nice and doing the walk and the little talks that Ed from Simon from Jagged Globe, gave us every so often got us all chatting. I got to meet my roommate (Amanda), who is lovely, so I came home feeling a lot more excited about the trek than before I went, and I’m also much more positive about actually being able to complete it!
One last thing … one of the things I am most looking forward on the trek is this … apparently at Namche (altitude 3,440m) there is a nightclub with a pool table!! I can’t wait to play on the world’s highest pool table. Haha.