Its been about one month since our return from Nepal and our trek to Everest Base Camp… and I’d do it again in a heartbeat! This was the rare vacation that was so indelible that I often find myself reflecting back on the whole of the trip and happily sharing the experience with anyone who finds interest in the story. So why, you may ask, does a two-week hike in the mountains leave such a deep mark? There are several reasons that come to mind:
- We were immersed in the Sherpa culture, with daily opportunities for glimpses into the lives of these amazing people. Although life is simple, when compared to western standards, it is substantive, family centric, grounded in a deep faith, and generally unencumbered by to “noise” of 24 hour news cycles and non-stop social network and news “feeds.” Life is very much outwardly focused and not insular and self-involved.
- We set a goal and achieved it… as a group! Unlike a lot of vacations that are focused on either relaxing or sightseeing, this vacation required preparation and work. We all had to commit ourselves to carving out the necessary time to physically prepare ourselves in the months leading up to the trek. This took on many forms (which you can read about in some of the earlier blog entries), but paid dividends on the trail. As a result, both of our goals were achieved: making it to Everest Base Camp and reaching the summit of Kala Patthar.
- The time spent in preparation, conversation, and shared experience with Ron, Karen, Alan and Deb, and me is something both lasting and unique between us. In the months leading up to the trek, our family bond was reinforced through the numerous voice, email, and text conversations to compare notes about our preparations and gear. During the trek, we were reminded about how different each of us are, but as a whole how our various strengths melded in a way that made us stronger as a group than any of us could have been on our own.
Okay… onto the real subject of this post, the long-promised “Bathroom Blog!”
We all have to expel bodily waste, but sometimes we can’t be too choosy of the “facilities” we get to use. In the Himalaya, we certainly experienced just about every option conceived by man… Of course the most sought after option was the “sit-upon flush toilet,” while the least preferred option was affectionately called the “squatty potty.” Other options were what I call “slats” (the outhouse version of the squatty potty), and of course au natural. But… lest you think that one is better than the other, you also have several additional factors to consider, including cleanliness, flush-ability, and accessibility, before holding your nose and jumping in.
There were times when we’d stop for a tea break along the trail, and the first one to the bathroom would always report to the others what to expect. After awhile, we developed a sort of shorthand, like “nasty squatty” or “wide slats, don’t fall in!”or “normal toilet, pretty clean.”
Of course we got the nature experience too! For the gals, this meant finding a boulder for privacy or some other secluded spot. If none was available, a few of us would simply turn our backs and form a privacy wall. For the guys it was a bit easier to simply move off of the trail… the nice thing about this option were the views enjoyed while doing your business, so in a lot of ways, this was the preferred choice.