Everest Base Camp Trek – Writing a memoir.

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Just putting this out there.

Last year I published this post to describe the last day of my trek that took me to Everest Base Camp and back.

Now I’m in the process of getting the whole thing down on paper and trying to put it all together, basically I’m writing a memoir. As those of you who’ve been around a while may remember, a couple of years ago I made a commitment to myself to get serious about writing. Now I’m serious.

My question to you is: Do I start the memoir with this passage? If I did would you want to read on?

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The river of mud, yak poo and urine beneath my feet had become a blur some kilometres back, all that mattered now was that my feet were taking me forward, not what they were stepping in.

As I walked, continually upwards, I began chanting silently to myself, one … two … three… I needed to count, I needed to know I was going forward.

My feet quietly obeyed the instruction that my brain forced down through my exhausted body.

One, two, three, counting my footsteps, counting the steps getting me closer to the end. Every turn on the track spat out more steps upwards, never ending, one, two, three … one … two … three … Yangjing’s encouraging ‘not far now,’ urging me forward, washed over me as the mud ran under my feet and what breath I had left was forced out in short gasps. I’d long since stopped looking for the end point.

The late afternoon dampness enveloped me, so far removed from the morning crispness we had set off in some 10 hours ago. At what point had enthusiasm for the day’s challenge turned into a struggle and then into a determination that blotted out all else? There was no option, I had to keep going. The end was in sight, almost.

Ironic, that as we headed theoretically down the mountain, this final section of the track took us upwards to our destination. This was our starting point just over two weeks ago, obviously we set off in a downwards direction, in those first two hours we descended hundreds of steps that took us down three hundred metres, but who realised or remembered that this is what we would face at the end. I certainly never thought that one of my biggest struggles would face me on this last day.

The entrance to Lukla, the archway marking the beginning of the track, that we’d originally passed through fifteen days ago, enthusiastically and with a verve that had gone missing in me in recent hours, came into view, but still more steps. Upwards. One … two … three …

Finally, after what seemed like forever, I walked under that arch, through that entrance way and back into Lukla. That main street didn’t seem so long the last time I walked it. One … two … three ….

One, two, three. The slippery rocks that paved the way through the main street of Lukla needed a watchful eye and careful footwork in the dim light of a drizzly late afternoon. The open ditch needed to be crossed, I almost stumbled and needed Yangjing’s steadying hand.

More steps from street level up to the lodge. My purple hiking pole moved across to my left hand to allow my right one to grab the handrail, I needed all the help I could get. It was no longer one, two, three, but one … one … one.

And then it was over, I’d done it. I’d returned to my starting point. I’d trekked all the way to Everest Base Camp and back.

But I’d done more than that.

I’d proved something to myself and along the way I’d learned some lessons and started to understand how my life had taken me from being a shy, naïve and insecure young woman to the confident and capable woman who’d challenged herself to leap so far out of her comfort zone that it had taken everyone by surprise. I’d also begun to figure out the part that I’d played in that process. 

As I made it to the landing at the top of the stairs and walked into the dining room of the lodge the tears that had been held determinably in check for the last couple of hours erupted, there was no stopping them. The emotions flowed, exhaustion and exhilaration in equal measure. The seat that I collapsed onto was so welcome, my legs no longer capable of supporting me.

Some of the group would arrive an hour later but others who’d made it to Lukla fifteen minutes in front of me shouted their congratulations and high fived me, but all I could do was sob. Anan put a warming cup of mango juice in front of me, he accepted my gulp of thanks and refilled the cup as I emptied it.

From my sitting position I clicked the catches on the straps of my pack and unloaded it from my back, leant my hiking pole against the wall, leaned back and breathed. 

Yep, I’d done it and despite the tears streaming down my face I was grinning inside.

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The Avon Descent – Western Australia’s white water event.

We’ve been flooded with international sport lately.

When I turned on the T.V. last weekend I had so much choice. I could ooh and aah over the stunning scenery in Scotland, home to this year’s Commonwealth Games or take a ride through the French countryside and down the Champs Elysées in Paris with the Tour de France or I could fly down the track with the Formula 1 drivers in Hungary (brilliant job there Daniel Ricciardo!), or stay in Australia and watch our AFL teams fight it out in these latter stages of the season.

For those of us here in Western Australia though we can give up the T.V. this coming weekend, get out in our own backyard and watch the exciting run down the Avon and Swan Rivers by a variety of power dinghies and paddle craft in the annual Avon Descent.

Early morning at Bells Rapids
Early morning at Bells Rapids

This 2 day time trial has been running every year since 1973, it follows the course of the river from Northam to the finish line at Riverside Gardens, Bayswater and attracts competitors from all over Australia and around the world.

The Avon Descent passes through some of the most picturesque landscape on offer within a couple of hour’s drive of Perth.

On the first day the course heads down river through the farming regions of Northam and Toodyay before stopping overnight at Cobbler Pool, 30kms from Toodyay. On the second day competitors then head down through the SwanValley with its world famous vineyards and tackle the major white water sections of the course, including Emu Falls, Championship Rapids and Bells Rapids.

Bells Rapids at low water level
Bells Rapids at low water level

The final 30 kilometres of the course is a flat water stretch from the valley to the finish line in Bayswater.

This year’s Avon Descent should be spectacular, for entrants and spectators alike, with water levels high after recent good rains and the weather forecast promising fine and sunny weather for the whole weekend.

As those of you who’ve followed me for a while may remember, Bells Rapids was my training ground when I was getting ready for my Everest Base Camp trek and I still take a hike around there every few weeks. There have been times when there was barely a trickle of water trying valiantly to make its way down stream but when I was there 2 weeks ago the picture was very different with the run off from the Darling Escarpment creating a turbulent and fast flowing river.

After a bit of rain
After a bit of rain

Why don’t you pack up the kids and a picnic and head off to one of the vantage points, and spend a few sunny hours this coming weekend cheering on those brave souls who undertake to challenge themselves in this once a year event.

WHERE? Avon & Swan rivers between Northam and Bayswater.

WHEN? 3rd – 4th August

HOW FAR? 

Day 1 – 52 kms

Day 2 – 72 kms

BEST VIEWING SPOTS (with parking):

Day 1

  • Start line in Northam.
  • Extracts Weir.
  • Wetherall Reserve
  • Cobbler Pool (finish line day 1)

Day 2

  • Emu Falls – parking at airstrip on Quarry Rd.
  • Bells Rapids – parking at State Equestrian Centre
  • Finish line at Riverside Gardens, Bayswater
  

The Avon Descent – Western Australia’s white water event.

We’ve been flooded with international sport lately.

When I turned on the T.V. last weekend I had so much choice. I could ooh and aah over the stunning scenery in Scotland, home to this year’s Commonwealth Games or take a ride through the French countryside and down the Champs Elysées in Paris with the Tour de France or I could fly down the track with the Formula 1 drivers in Hungary (brilliant job there Daniel Ricciardo!), or stay in Australia and watch our AFL teams fight it out in these latter stages of the season.

For those of us here in Western Australia though we can give up the T.V. this coming weekend, get out in our own backyard and watch the exciting run down the Avon and Swan Rivers by a variety of power dinghies and paddle craft in the annual Avon Descent.

Early morning at Bells Rapids

Early morning at Bells Rapids

This 2 day time trial has been running every year since 1973, it follows the course of the river from Northam to the finish line at Riverside Gardens, Bayswater and attracts competitors from all over Australia and around the world.

The Avon Descent passes through some of the most picturesque landscape on offer within a couple of hour’s drive of Perth.

On the first day the course heads down river through the farming regions of Northam and Toodyay before stopping overnight at Cobbler Pool, 30kms from Toodyay. On the second day competitors then head down through the SwanValley with its world famous vineyards and tackle the major white water sections of the course, including Emu Falls, Championship Rapids and Bells Rapids.

Bells Rapids at low water level

Bells Rapids at low water level

The final 30 kilometres of the course is a flat water stretch from the valley to the finish line in Bayswater.

This year’s Avon Descent should be spectacular, for entrants and spectators alike, with water levels high after recent good rains and the weather forecast promising fine and sunny weather for the whole weekend.

As those of you who’ve followed me for a while may remember, Bells Rapids was my training ground when I was getting ready for my Everest Base Camp trek and I still take a hike around there every few weeks. There have been times when there was barely a trickle of water trying valiantly to make its way down stream but when I was there 2 weeks ago the picture was very different with the run off from the Darling Escarpment creating a turbulent and fast flowing river.

After a bit of rain

After a bit of rain

Why don’t you pack up the kids and a picnic and head off to one of the vantage points, and spend a few sunny hours this coming weekend cheering on those brave souls who undertake to challenge themselves in this once a year event.

WHERE? Avon & Swan rivers between Northam and Bayswater.

WHEN? 3rd – 4th August

HOW FAR? 

Day 1 – 52 kms

Day 2 – 72 kms

BEST VIEWING SPOTS (with parking):

Day 1

  • Start line in Northam.
  • Extracts Weir.
  • Wetherall Reserve
  • Cobbler Pool (finish line day 1)

Day 2

  • Emu Falls – parking at airstrip on Quarry Rd.
  • Bells Rapids – parking at State Equestrian Centre
  • Finish line at Riverside Gardens, Bayswater.
  

Searching for some sunshine.

I’m sitting here on a very wet, very wintry Saturday afternoon in Perth and trying to think warm thoughts. If you’re in the same boat this weekend and trying to keep warm hopefully these will help.

Cable Beach, Broome

Cable Beach, Broome

Crete

Crete

Santorini

Santorini

Margaret River, Western Australia

Margaret River, Western Australia

Augusta, Western Australia

Augusta, Western Australia

Margaret River, Western Australia

Margaret River, Western Australia

  

Have you missed me?

 

If any of my followers are still out there you may have noticed that I went missing a while ago and that my blog has lain dormant for quite some time. My only excuse is that life got in the way, which maybe sounds like a bit of a cop out, but it all became too time consuming and I know we’re all in the same boat these days – too much to do, too little time.

Anyway, long story short and all that, I’ve made a few lifestyle changes and decided to get back to doing the things that I enjoy, writing this blog is one of those things.

Having said that, for my first post in a long time, I’m not going to do a lot of writing, I’m actually going to point you in the direction of another blog. I’ve been following Maria and her Mum’s Word blog for a while and today this post popped up.

http://mariatedeschi.com/mumsword

Maria and her husband are considering spending 12 months in the UK with their 3 children, the children it seems are taking a bit of convincing but are gradually coming round to the idea.

My ex and I did exactly the same thing when our girls were younger, we thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that we ended up selling our house in Perth and moving over there for 6 years.

Have you done anything daring like this, do you have any tips for Maria?