Tuesday, March 4, 2014

True Roughing It

Before you think this post is about how much "roughing it" we've done, stop that train of thought because it's not. Now, admittedly the trip we made and that P.J. makes multiple times a year is not for the faint of heart. It is crazy hard in a way I could never comprehend before doing it. But these are some of the things we have access to that make a trip survivable:
  • Down sleeping bags rated for -18 degree temperatures
  • A four seasons tent that is warmer inside than outside
  • Sleeping pads that insulate our bodies from the cold ground
  • High quality thermal under layers
  • Warm wool socks
  • Quality waterproof hiking boots
  • Comfortable backpacks
  • Water bottles
  • Camp stove and light food
You get the picture, right? It is physically demanding and cold, but we have good equipment. Let me introduce you to this couple.

They made the same trip we did. We met them on the way down from the second pass. As I staggered on my way down from the dizzying height, I was amazed at how this elderly couple was moving as fast as they were. They camped at the same camp as we did and went on the next day to the same village we did, even waiting for us so they would know the way in the dark. Only here's the thing. They did not have a tent, sleeping bags, or sleeping pads. They did not have a shelter. Period. They did not have state of the art warming clothing or shoes. They had everyday clothing. Honestly, I have no idea how they survived what we had come through. Their clothes smelled of smoke and wetness, and the woman had an awful cough that our doctor said was likely tuberculosis. I think someone at the camp lent them a teapot so they could have warm drinks, especially after having slept outdoors on a night that turned out to drop snow. 

That first village felt like a real treat to me after 6 days, but to them, I would imagine it was like having found gold.

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