Food Poisoning at 10,000 feet

Annapurna Trek Day 3-7

View from Poon Hill summit

Day 3: Ghorepani 2874 meters (9430 feet) to Poon Hill 3240 meters (10,630 feet) to Tadapani 2706 meters (8878 feet)

I stared up through cold blackness at the barely visible ceiling. The darkness was damp and heavy.  It was 2:30am and most of the generators in Ghorepani were powered down for the night.  Waves of cramping surged through my stomach. Rather than make the trek down two long, unheated concrete hallways to the communal bathroom, I tucked myself deeper into my sleeping bag and hoped that full-blown food poisoning wasn’t looming.  Not here, not at 10,000 feet, with 8 more days of extreme terrain and squat toilets yet to navigate.  I was already exhausted from yesterday’s climb, but sleep eluded me as my stomach continued its violent protests.

At 4:30am, Mandy joined me in wakefulness. Across the valley, icy Himalayan peaks appeared to be floating in the darkness, their icecaps shimmering in the starlight.  We pulled on every layer we had with us, flicked on our headlamps, and stepped out on the day’s first expedition.   Continue reading

Kathmandu

Monkey Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal

Monkey Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal

We awoke late in the morning to more brilliant tropical sunshine.  A few lazy hours flitted past, carried away gently by the warm ocean breeze, before time accelerated to its customary frenetic pace.   Packs loaded, we walked down to the dock where we embarked on a less eventful return journey: ferry ride (minus the puking), overnight bus transport (minus the cockroach infestation), a quick transfer at sunrise, and we found ourselves inside Bangkok’s modern, glassy airport.  It was remarkably devoid of people.  We stood alone on the moving walkway, which, like the hands of time, carried us steadily and inevitably forward into another chapter of our trip. Continue reading