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  • Writer's pictureBassam Tarazi

What The Himalayas Taught Me

1 - My Life Is Not That Hard As always, traveling expands my horizons more than an elevating hot air balloon. Trekking the +80 mile-round-trip hike from Lukla to Everest Base Camp reinforced the trivial revelation that my life in America is not that difficult. I don’t have to tend to the land, I don’t have to herd cattle up precarious, cliff-hanging steps, and I certainly have not borne much weight on my untaxed shoulders compared to other people on this planet. The Nepalese, let alone the Sherpas themselves, live a life of grit, day in and day out. If the world were plunged into the Stone Ages at the blink of an eye, I’d probably die fairly quickly due to my lack of knowledge of basic survival skills. The Nepalese would be around for many many years to come, no matter the weather or oxygen levels outside. 2 - Deep Breaths Don’t Do Anything Did someone say oxygen? I can’t remember either. My brain isn’t getting enough of it to think. Up near Base Camp, we were getting 47% less oxygen than we would get at sea level. That’s not good. Imagine wanting, craving a bacon cheeseburger but all that came out was a half portion. You might throw a fit. That’s what your body does when it inhales asking for a full dose of oxygen and it only gets half of it. Never in my life has rolling over in bed been difficult, but never in my life have I laid down above 17,000 feet. Hyperventilating while laying at rest was an experience I will not soon forget. 3 - Hiking Boots Are For Wussies I had a backpack filled with a few cold weather items and 2 liters of water. That got heavy. Our porters would pass us walking uphill with three - yes, three - giant packs attached to their backs. The engineering done to tie the three packs together was enough to deserve its own accolade. Oh, and the porters routinely wore beach sandals or Crocs. Even on the last day I would shake my head in complete confusion at the strength of the porters. Their brawn closely resembled that of ants in that they could lift about six times their body weight. I learned that porters carried between 80-100 kilos at a time. This thought alone made me tired and thirsty so I sucked on some water to reduce the weight I had to carry. 4 - Don’t Mess With Plate Tectonics If you know your geology at all, you’ll remember that the Indian plate moved northwards and slammed into the Eurasian plate many millions of years ago. This collision and subsequent continuous movement northwards of the Indian plate spawned the Himalayas. By the site of these mighty peaks I can only assume that the Indian plate was furious with the Eurasian plate. Maybe the Eurasian plate insulted the Indian plate, maybe it stole its girl, maybe it killed its family. Whatever happened, the Indian plate must have had motive to react so because when you lay eyes on these raw, unforgiving, mountains popping up around you from all 360 degrees, you can’t help but look in wonder at what the earth has created. 5 - Camera Angles Help My feet hang over Everest. That goodness for trigonometry.

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