Jessie Spielvogel

Preparing to hike to Everest Base Camp

Jenni Lee and I rocking our hiking boots in Arizona

If you know anything about me at all, you know I’m a water person. More specifically, I spend many of my vacation days scuba diving with beautiful sharks in warm tropical waters.

Another thing you should also know about me is that I’m extremely easy to market to!

Last October, I came across a Facebook advertisement in my feed that promoted an adventure trip to Nepal, hiking to Mount Everest’s base camp. It piqued my curiosity, so I clicked through to the link. As I started reading about this trip, I decided it looked like a lot of fun (and definitely an adventure that would be out of my comfort zone).

I signed up almost immediately. In October 2017, I’ll be venturing to Nepal with REI Adventures to explore the Himalayas!

If you’re one of my scuba friends, you may be asking yourself how I’m ever going to do this. You’re not alone, I’m asking myself that same question (especially because I’ve only spent 3 days at elevation on a trip to the Grand Canyon, and I’ve lived at sea level my entire life). I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading up on this topic, and I’ve learned a few things:

  1. Altitude sickness is a real thing. It’s my understanding that the best way to prevent it is to stay hydrated and to train for high cardiovascular health. That said, I’m also told that altitude sickness can impact even the finest trained athletes… so we’ll see how it goes. I’m currently exercising 4-5 days per week, and I’m starting to work with a personal trainer to give myself just a little extra motivational push.
  2. I’ve learned that a good benchmark for physical preparedness for this type of adventure is being able to walk/hike at an incline with a 22 lb backpack for at least two hours. Is this true? I don’t know – if there are any experts out there reading this, I could use any advice/words of wisdom you may have!
  3. Layers matter! And quality clothing is expensive. Thankfully I gave myself a year to save up for this trip, so I’m still slowly but surely collecting the appropriate attire for a somewhat comfortable hike.

I’m very nervous and even more excited about this adventure! In the meantime, my dad is on his way to Mexico to swim with and photograph whale sharks. He thinks I’m crazy for venturing into a mountain life to temporarily stray from my loyalty to the ocean. He’ll come around! Maybe I’ll even get him on a mountain one day!

Til next time,

Jessie

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