The sweat comes first. Rivers of it, so that you’re drenched even before a single drop of rain falls on your head. And waterproof clothing doesn’t help, for obvious reasons.
Then the rain comes anyway to finish the job.
Then there are the bugs. Leeches, especially. Until recently, the only kind I had seen were the big, flat, black ones. Nothing like the swarms of thin ones in myraid shades of brown that seemed to find their way through every kind of fabric. If you could hire them to find Osama, they’d do it in a jiffy, I’m sure. Or at least bring back a blood sample. Did you know that they secrete an enzyme that prevents blood from clotting? They love their fluid dynamics, those buggers. In a tropical forest in monsoon, they rule. Millions of creepy thin men, like a Charlie’s Angels nightmare on steroids.
Then of course there’s the pain. I don’t mean in chronological order — the pain comes pretty much with the first few steps, when a body unaccustomed to hard exercise and in the process of being honed to spherical perfection has its first encounter with the straps of a heavy backpack. Then it subsides for a while, just to let you experience the other hardships, and comes back through the calf muscles. And every other muscle that had managed to lead a life of quiet obscurity inside your body and suddenly found itself having to cope with their fifteen minutes of fame. And don’t even get me started on how the human knee is expressly not designed for downhill movement.
And on top of it all are the questions. Why would you want to do this?
Worse still are the lack of answers. I don’t understand it myself.
I could’ve claimed the sense of achievement in reaching the summit, except, umm… we didn’t get that far.
I could’ve talked about the beautiful views and the amazing photographs I took except, umm… I was too focused on just walking to take any pictures.
But what really gets to me is this: Once the knee feels better and the shoulder blades feel up to holding anything more than a laptop (I even leave my charger at home, for heck’s sake), I wanna do it again.
ps: As it happens, one of the other trekkers, a guy who claims to have been made by Intel, had enough energy left to take a few pictures. And what lovely pictures they are! You can check them out here.