Reaching the top of the World!

Trip Start May 03, 2011
Trip End May 24, 2011

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Flag of India  , Sikkim,
Thursday, May 19, 2011

Goecha La trek Day 4

After a acclimatization day at Dzongri it was day four on our trek and Karin woke up with a crazy headache and feeling over all pretty bad. It was time to tell our guide as she had felt some chest pain and nausea since day one. We knew that altitude sickness can hit anyone and often it is the most fit people whom end up having to turn around due to discomfort. Young or old, out of shape or Mr fitness, it really doesn't matter. After a long conversation, some tears and hugs we decided for her to head down to a lower altitude. It was such a hard decision and it broke my heart to see her tall and slender figure disappear down the mountain with one of our porters.

This morning the chef served only three cups of masala chai tea along with our porridge. I did know that she was with us in spirit all the way from now on, but still, this was a heavy morning. I was so proud of her to make this difficult decision and I admire her for listening to her body instead of pushing her limits too far.

This day the trek scenery changed to more desert looking landscape, with low bushes and lots of sand and rocks. Pine trees and some rhododendron bushes still lined our path as we followed a beautiful river all the way to our camp at Lamuni. I kept reminding myself that this was the warm season as we shivered in the below 32F degree weather ( below 0C). We arrived quite early and I had some time to think and reflect.

I must admit that missed having some kind of communication with the rest of the world. I missed my man, Joshua, and I wished he knew how much I was thinking about him. I missed my family and was curious to know weather my sister Astrid had given birth to her twins Lea and Oliver. It is an interesting thing to be so out of touch with what was going on in the world at that very moment. Just living from hour to hour, hiking from one point to another. Staying warm and looking forward to the next meal. A very simple and beautiful day to day life. What time is it anyway? It really doesn't matter, we wake up with the sun and go to bed when the moon rises.

Someone told me to pack my bags and get lost, not to check in for a while. Maybe this is a beginning of something really big, at least a little taste of it!

As I zipped up my sleeping bag, lots of thoughts circled in my head. The following morning Ben, the guide, would knock on the tent at 2.30am and we would get ready to head up for the final push to Goecha La pass. I was so incredible excited and a bit nervous, did I have what it would take? What would the weather be like? I fell asleep to the sound of the dzo's bells and the river rushing by close to the tent. Life was good. And I was about to trek the worlds third highest mountain. Tomorrow...

Day 5, May 13th
On top of the World

I was awake way before the alarm went off at 2.30am. It was a crisp and cold semi-clear morning and we started to climb the steep mountain under the starts with our headlamps showing the way. I was short of breath and it felt like my heart would jump out of my chest. My head dizzy and legs weak. I kept sending lots of love to my legs like I do in Yoga and they listened and gave me strength.

Our lamps made a little trail snaking up the mountain, steam coming off our bodies in the chilly -4 C (29F) morning. My shoes making prints in the snow. I prayed to the mountain Gods to clear the sky for a beautiful sunrise. And I evoked my inner Adventure Goddess to keep pushing my body higher and higher up the mountain. As the sun made it over the massive Khangchendzonga mountain ridge, I stopped and looked around. We were sourrounded by the highest mountains in the world: the Himalayas. The Land of the Gods. I felt so small and so fierce and on fire at the same time. As we reached the Goecha La pass at 4940m (17,000feet high and just a few feet shy of the Mt Everest base camp!)
I felt like I could touch the sky. I was one with Mother Nature, I did it. I really did it. with Karin in spirit and with the strength from my mother that showed me never to give up and from the Love of my family and friends, I did it.

I hung a prayer flag for the health of my sisters children, Lea and Oliver and let it flow in the chilly wind along with 100's of other flags and other lucky items that other trekkers had decided to sacrifice to the mountains.

The rest of team Sweden, Marcus and Gustav, had brought their IPod and speakers and yes, we thought that Queen's "we are the champions" was appropriate to play. We jumped and danced around. I felt victorious and strong yet humble for Mother Nature. She is in charge and we are so incredible lucky to have the honor to experience her vast beauty. Remember that no matter were in the world you might be. And that my friends, is how I Love to Live my Life.

Peace Love and Powerfulness from the top of the World
Yours truly,
the Swedish Vagabond
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