Shit they don’t tell you about trekking the Himalayas

I had a milestone today. I announced to a group of adults, “I pooped in my pants.” There are only two places a person can say this with zero shame: at a preschool or at a health check for trekking the Himalayas.

I just thank god it wasn’t diarrhea.

Let me backtrack.

The first day of the trek began at 5:30 with a ride to the airport. I had completed my “business” before leaving, or so I thought. Unbeknownst to me, a marble-sized piece of shit the consistency of soft clay was waiting for its moment to launch into the world. It chose, of all places, the trail between Lukla and Phakding.

The truly funny part is I didn’t know it had happened. I simply felt for a few kilometers that my ass was on fire.

Fortunately when we stopped for lunch, there was a lovely squatty with a basin of running water in the corner. I say lovely, and I mean it. Earlier, the bathroom I used was a raised shack with missing floorboards, through which a person was supposed to aim. So, yes, the bathroom was welcome and delightful almost, except that I had to scrub out my undies over the ceramic foot rests.

I stripped to my hiking boots, cleaned my quick dry shorts (bless you, creators of quick dry) and put the soiled undies in a ziplock.

Thus, I hiked commando until we reached our lodge in Phakding.

Today we hike to Namche Bazaar. I will be toting extra undies in my pack.

I realize I didn’t write much about the mountains in this post. The helicopter ride, where Everest was unusually clear, the suspension bridge where I kept chanting “don’t look down,” like a mantra, or the splendor of the sun on the peaks, the clanging of mule bells, the incredible hospitality of our Nepali guide and the little strong men with big smiles who carry our gear. Or how comforting it is that our Kiwi guide monitors our heart rate & blood ox every day and asks things like “How was your bathroom today? Do you feel nauseous? Headaches? Appetite?”

These things are part of my story. But unfortunately, I’m already five minutes behind my self-imposed schedule.

You’ll have to wait a couple years for the novel: Eat, Pray, Poop.


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