5:10 PM local time (7:25 A.M. EDT)
After being thoroughly soaked by the surprising rain that fell on the trail to Namche last evening, and encountering my first mild altitude sickness symptoms, I have now completed the classic Himalayan traveler’s trilogy—severe diarrhea. So as you’d imagine, I spent the day resting as much as I could, and starting a course of the antibiotic Cipro. Sleep never seemed so lovely. The rest of the crew went hiking and into town, and I burrowed in my thick down bag and welcomed hours of oblivion, punctuated by trips to the bathroom and sips of water to keep from getting dehydrated. Folks, this is truth in journalism—no one said it would be easy, only possible.
The cook staff fixed me a light lunch of tuna, bread, salad, fry bread, and tea, all of which I could barely touch. But now, I’m happy to report, I’m feeling better, my spirits are rising, and some cookies and water made me feel like I’d eaten like a king. Jerry, our third climber, an EMT [emergency medical technician] as well as an experienced high-altitude climber, assures me that all of this is completely normal. Tomorrow’s another hard day—going up to about 13,000 feet—but luckily, other than the altitude, the distance is not so great.
Viewing the vicinity of Namche from the cook tent was inspiring (perhaps made more so by illness?). It made me think of colors, and that’s what I’d like to share with you this evening—a corny cornucopia of colors.
Sky blue: The corrugated rooftops and window trim that are a welcoming site standing out from among the dust.
Sepia: The ridged peaks below the snowline
Dark khaki: The ever-present dust that blows in alpine gusts, coats our computer with a fine film in seconds, coats the inside of our tent, and grits our faces. The terraced fields are not yet green but have this khaki dirt everywhere.
Deep green: The evergreens that rise up on the hillsides
Emerald: For the rushing alpine streams
White: A brilliant color of fresh snow that coats the sharp peaks and trickles down like rivers into the lower altitudes.
Red: The Buddhist monks’ tunics, and the petals of the flowering rhododendron on the hillsides
Dirty white: The ever-present clouds that blow in, obscuring the peaks, and bringing with them sudden drops of temperature.
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Mike Jackman is an editor in chief of TechProGuild, an editor of PC Troubleshooter and Windows Support Professional, and also works as a freelance Web designer and consultant. Together with his co-editor in chief David Bard, he is traveling to Nepal to report on high-altitude technology and to climb 20,285-foot Imja Tse. In his spare time (when he can find some), Mike’s an avid devourer and writer of science fiction, parent to two perpetually adolescent cats, and a hiking enthusiast.