Murphy Dome Diaries

A journalist observes life in the far north.

Walking in the Himalayas in Crocs

NAMCHE BAZAR–One thousand rupees to anyone with a shoe that will fit my foot, I called out as three porters walked by.

By then, I had been walking with one bare foot across a sandy valley south of Lobuche Camp, tucked about 15,000 feet high in the Himalayas of Nepal.

I guess I should explain how it came to be that I was walking with only one shoe.

I dragged myself to Everest Base Camp, which is almost as high as Denali (Mt. McKinley) in Alaska at about 17,000 feet.

From the Lobuche Camp, it takes most people about five or six hours to cross the Khumbu Glacier to Everest Base Camp. It took me eight and a half hours. I had a screaming headache, nausea and with every step it felt like some invisible force was trying to push me back.

My guide, Ang Nuru, carried my backpack the last couple of hours. Alec, my partner and a member of the Himalayan Experience 2009 Expedition, met me just outside of Base Camp. I fell into his arms and stifled tears. Alec had awoken early that morning and ran to Base Camp in time to participate in a blessing of the climb. I left a few hours later.

After I had arrived in Base Camp, the expedition doctor looked me over. I remember my one evening in Base Camp as a blur. I swallowed multiple tablets and had an injection to battle the symptoms of mountain sickness.

After a restless night, I awoke the next day and joined the five trekkers on the journey back to Kathmandu.

The hike from Base Camp back to Lobuche Camp took me about six and a half hours. The terrain over the Khumbu Glacier is pretty rocky and my shoe had begun rubbing against my left ankle, making my skin tender and then causing a bruise.

On the second day of the trek from Base Camp, I noticed the reddish purple mark on my ankle but I thought I could bare it.

But after walking down steep hills for hundreds of feet, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and I removed my shoe.

It felt good to walk without pain shooting up my leg but soon the guide, Laachu, began directing worried glances at my bare foot.

You will hurt the bottom of your foot, he said.

After we had arrived in the tiny village of Pheriche, Laachu began going from house-to-house to find me another shoe. He was having no luck, so that’s when I decided to start offering the passing porters cash for a shoe.

As soon as I made my offer, three dumped their baskets onto a rock ledge while the man in the middle began ruffling around. He produced a pair of electric blue Crocs.

For a couple of years, I have had a policy against Crocs, similar to my policy against capri pants. I think they’re cheesy, unflattering and too trendy.

But when you’re standing in the middle of the Himalayas of Nepal with only one shoe, fashion standards are easily compromised.

I grabbed the Croc, which was a bit grubby, and tried it on. It fit. The porter threw in the right shoe so I’d have a matching set, I handed him the 1000 rupee note and said dan-ya-bat, which is Nepali for thank you.

I have been wearing the Crocs for two days now with no foot problems to report. I suspect they’ll be my favorite souvenir of the trip.

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11 comments on “Walking in the Himalayas in Crocs

  1. Aunt Lia
    April 15, 2009

    Ouch ~ I sure hope you are feeling better as you head in to lower altitudes.
    Keep the wonderful posts coming, your online audience really appreciates being a small part of your adventures.

  2. Bottle Washing Fairy
    April 15, 2009

    In case this message flies: Jade is still absolutely PERFECT!
    What a great post. Crocs at 15,000 feet! Stories to remember and tell. We eagerly await your arrival — because we love you and miss you, not for any other reason. We are both totally enjoying our time together.
    Unfortunately, looks as if we will be scheduled to run the generator the day before you return. Should be at 70% that day, according to my calculations. Maybe I’ll ask Alec if we could wait, otherwise, maybe we can do laundry without running the generator.
    All is going very very well, except for the dogs who are still limping. Their fight was a full week ago. I do not let them anywhere near Jade or upstairs at all.
    Safe and uneventful travels,
    Much love,
    The bottle washing fairy

  3. Bottle Washing Fairy
    April 15, 2009

    I sent a lengthy comment already. Let’s see if this one flies.
    ml, tbwf

  4. Madge
    April 15, 2009

    You f***ing rock. You’re getting a pedicure as a welcome-back-to-the-same-continental present.

  5. Jill
    April 15, 2009

    From the BWF:

    Dear Sweet Amanda,
    Jade remains absolutely perfect. We eagerly await your return, only because we love and miss you, not for any other reason. We continue to thoroughly enjoy our time together.
    Crocs in the Himalayas, what a story. Delightful post, and glad to hear you sounding better. I sure know where this child gets her equanimity.
    Looks as if we will be scheduled to generate on the day before you return — 70%. We’ll have plenty of water, since I filled the tank yesterday. I’m concerned that you will be wanting to do your laundry and was hoping we would go longer. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll ask Alec if we can wait.
    Jade is emptying the toy box, except of herself. Must return the truck to the shop.
    See you soon!
    Love,
    tbwf

  6. Jill
    April 15, 2009

    I’m so glad to see you descending to sane altitudes. You are amazing. I’d be waiting for my man at home. I checked with him though, and he says mountain climbing is not on his bucket list. Whew!

    Much love, can wait to hear more from the Barefoot Adventurer.

    Jill

  7. Christi
    April 15, 2009

    I have a thing against crocs too but didn’t dare say anything about it in Alaska because you all LOVE LOVE LOVE those things.

    I’m glad you made to base camp relatively healthy! What’s wrong with your ankle?

  8. Helena
    April 16, 2009

    Ditto all of the above.

    Glad you’re on your way home. Am wishing you a safe and comfortable return.

    And for damned sure, I’m glad you found those crocs!

    You’re one hell of a woman, Amanda.

  9. Amy
    April 16, 2009

    You’re awesome! Glad you found the Crocs. You should have them mounted, or at the very least, bronzed when you get back! What a conversation piece: “Oh you like those old things? Well, I acquired those bronzed Crocs after a trek through the Himalayas of Nepal. Yes, Nepal! Well, I paid 1,000 rupees you see…”
    amy:)

  10. Jillian
    April 16, 2009

    Amanda,
    I can’t get enough of your exploits in Nepal. Keep up the good work, be safe and keep on keepin’ on. You obviously aren’t that cloudy-headed, you’re painting a very vivid picture for your readers. Come home safe!
    Jillian, formerly of Fairbanks now of Homer

  11. Lisa
    April 22, 2009

    I have a policy against Crocs, too! Ugh, they’re so UGLY!!! Anyway, glad they saved your feet 🙂 and that you’re okay. Hope you’re feeling better

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