Kili Karuna #17

Good Evening,

I know I’m dedicated to weekly updates when I sit down to write one at 10:47 pm when every cell in my body is screaming out, “I want to go to bed.” But since there was already one email in my inbox looking for the update, I’ll do my best even though I have no idea of what I am about to type.

I am filled with the warm glow of connection and smiling about a week where the ripples in the pond, started by dropping a pebble called Everest into the water of my life, came refracting back to me from the far shore. What the heck does that mean? It means that, throughout the week, I got to meet and talk with many people about climbing Everest and Kilimanjaro and also got to see what kinds of impact that sharing those/these journeys can have.

I started my week presenting to students at the University of Maine, Presque Isle and finished it by driving a ninety-five year woman home after a delightful dinner at her son’s house. The enthusiasm of the students, combined with Marjorie’s enchantment and gentle questioning about how cold it was on the mountain, have left me feeling quite blessed. Add to that an entire room of hockey women shouting in amusement at some “photoshopped” images of the Eastern Edge hockey league’s trophy joining me on a ladder in the Khumbu icefall and on the cover of my book, and I’m positively smiling from the inside out.

Around midnight last night, I left the hockey banquet, perhaps before I was ready to. I was having fun and enjoying the celebration of another successful hockey season but I knew I had a training hike scheduled with the Kili team for relatively early morning and made the responsible decision to head for home to get some sleep. When training for big dreams like Everest or Kilimanjaro, I often have to put other things aside to facilitate rest or training. Most of the time I feel fine doing so, but sometimes, like last night, I just want to have a “normal” life and stay up late sometimes. It’s one of the many sacrifices I gladly make to pursue big dreams and when the ripples reflect back to me, every sacrifice gets erased as the small wave passes over.

We had lots of fun at today’s hockey game teasing those who’d stayed up late and I thoroughly enjoyed our hike today along the Southside hills. We climbed the first big hill with impressive pace and some folks were sporting new clothing or packs. I carried my big old Dana Designs beast as my long-loved and adventure-sharing daypack was not returned. I did, however, get most of my gear back (the thieves kept the backpack, headlamp, and Swiss army knife). It’s good that five months ago, I accepted a speaking engagement at a conference, knowing it would be handy to have a visit to a Mountain Equipment Co-Op store before heading to Kilimanjaro. I’ll be choosing the pack that will travel with me for the next decade.

I continue to be amazed at the speed at which time is flying-this week marks May and I’ll soon be flying to Africa. My IT band acted up a bit today and referred pain down my shin-I’m hoping to get it cleared up soon so I don’t lose too much training time. I also spent much of the week with a cold and now seem to have a deep bronchiole cough that’s reminiscent of the Khumbu cough. So, a rich full week of connections and book signings and presentations…and a tad bit of training. I figure I’m just trying to maintain over the next while and then eek out a bit more fitness before going.

Hope all is well with you,

TA

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