Sunday, May 3rd, 1998
We are sending this update from the small village of Deboche. We have rendezvoused with the Everest Challenge climbing team and the Prescott College students, participating in the Everest Challenge Environmental Restoration Project. We are celebrating our accomplishments and gearing up for our challenges ahead.
We have compiled personal reflections from each of the All Abilities Trek participants. This way, each of the members can express the emotion they are feeling, as well as give you the idea of what we are doing and where we currently are.
"Just prior to leaving Boise, Idaho, I told some local newspaper reporter that I wanted to return from the trek with something that I could label as success. To this point, the trek has been highly successful in that we have covered some highly demanding ground and we remain strong and healthy in the heart of the Himalaya. Obtaining my first glimpse of Mt.Everest was a personal success. We are also in an excellent position to reach or initial objective, that being the base camp of Mt. Everest. We have spent the last few days adjusting our schedule. I find that during these slow times, I miss my wife and kids that much more. I hope to share with them my journal reflections when I get home."
"We are sleeping well at 12,400ft (4100m). I am staying healthy and strong even though I'm becoming a real basket case. The porters that are carrying me in a basket are sure footed, but would like me to lose some weight. We met up with the expedition, and our spirits are high. I miss my family and think of them often. Who's winning the game? All my love."
"Tengboche was a great rest stop for me, the bowl like village on a high hill was easy for me to get around in. Two days of rest and acclimatization left me eager to get on the trail. The short walk to Deboche and meeting up with the climbing team was great to start off the month of May. I miss my little family a lot, I can't wait to finally reunite with them. Hope my kids still remember me. To all my family and friends, I'm healthy and doing very well with this fantastic group. I'm looking forward to a long day on May 4th."
"What a vacation! Great scenery, great people. We met up with the climbing team and everyone is healthy, happy, and one big family. We should be in base camp on the 10th. Tell Morgan to watch for Grandpa's moon. Miss everyone back home. Love to all."
Little Cinders Deroche:
"If there is such a thing as "superhumans" it must be the Sherpa people. I am still in awe at how and what they carry. I am also continually amazed at the trekking team, they are awesome. I miss my kids, I love you more. All good things, Mum!"
"Since I arrived in Nepal, everyday has been an adventure. Our CWHOG group is great. Trekking involves cooperation from everyone. It is a lot of work hiking up and down in the mountains, but that is not to say that it isn't fun. The scenery is spectacular with Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Everest being a part of our backyard. The highlight of the trek so far for me has been meeting up with the climbing team. We have been sharing stories, eating, drinking, and laughing. This meeting has been good for both groups. I think of my friends and family back in Canada everyday. I look forward to reuniting with you soon."
Lizzie and Cindy Whittaker:
"Lizzie is amazing, she hiked the Tengboche hill on her own, which is about 2000 ft. vertical elevation gain. We arrived in Tengboche and enjoyed the best views yet. We awoke to the morning feature of Ama Dablam. We rested two days and headed down to Deboche. We waited all morning for the arrival of Tom and the other climbers. We were skeptical whether they would show, do to the unpredictable nature of Everest. Lizzie and I hiked up the trail around 2:00. When Lizzie caught sight of Tom, she let out a big,"DADDY" and ran out to meet him. All three of us are overjoyed to be together. The Prescott College Students arrived to make the group complete. Big party at the Ama Dablam Garden Lodge tonight!"
"Tengboche was a nice place to spend a couple of days rest. The monastery lent a spiritual essence to the area. Ali and I started the HOG beach club, our first member, Tom McCurdy, displayed his enthusiasm by turning his back bright pink. Now I get to listen to him moan all night in our tent. I did a short 55 minute run this morning, my first since the polluted run in Kathmandu. I've forgotten how running brings me to connectedness with my higher power and how at peace I feel. The last 30 minutes I wore a huge smile and a few tears. The individuals of the All Abilities trek have proven themselves more than capable of achieving the goal of reaching Base Camp. There are no groups moving faster than us, but most importantly, none having as much fun as us. We have become a cohesive group in which no one person is more important than any one else in the group."
Buffalo Bob Meyer:
"We have come a long way quite solidly. Tom, Kyle, and Ike are "anxiously excited" on the prospect of riding a hairy, stinky, yak into Base Camp. I've spent some of my rest days climbing nearby ridges. My awe never ceases at the enormously rugged beauty and majesty that surrounds us. The clouds have more than teased us, so it is a real treat to get a clear blue morning. Our friendly, helpful staff have added a personal and intimate view of the Sherpa people. I'm taking tons of pictures, but I wish that my family could witness all of this. Please wish us all well as we shortly head up into the High Country."
"To see this group mobilize, is truly a sight. As soon as Kyle, Tom, and Ike are loaded they are gone. Sometimes it is absolutely impossible to catch up to them in the day. For the past few days of travel, I've been acting as a guard rail for Kyle. Being on a porter's back can be quite "exhilarating", especially when there is a several hundred foot drop within inches of the porter's feet. I feel that in guarding Kyle, I am easing his nerves and ensuring that he has the safest and most relaxing time possible. I told him once, that if something were to happen, that I would have him on the ground before he knew what hit him. This is exactly what he needed to hear. I've been filming video, and taking quite a bit of still photo, despite the presence of Howard Kelly, our pro photographer and all around funny guy. In Tengboche, I attended a Puja, or Buddhist blessing ceremony. I helped the monks set up and in return they included me in the blessing. It was an incredible experience. Here in Deboche, I was excited to spend some time with the group in whole. It has been great to hang with the other Prescott College students. Everyone here in Deboche are blown away by the diligence of the Trekkers. The success of each of the three groups has inspired the others to complete their responsibilities. All that I can wish for is that everyone will do their best and hopefully be victorious in all efforts. I can't believe this is college."