Thank God that today is a rest day. Otherwise I would be destroyed. As it is, I’m sitting in our dining tent after having splurged on a hot shower ($15 but so badly needed and wanted, worth every penny). Who would have even guessed that a shower at 4300m on a mountain was an option? It’s a beautiful day, and as I sat on a rock in front of the shower tent waiting for the system to get started up, another woman walked by and said “you look so happy!” I smiled and replied that how can you NOT be happy here?
I was singing a very different tune yesterday. The trek in from Confluencia is about 20 km distance, covers 800m elevation, and takes 8 hours. Now add sinus infection, sinal pressure headache, carrying a backpack that was too heavy because Bernie insisted my computer could not travel with the mules (which had I known THAT, I would have left it in Mendoza!), and you might be able to imagine how much I enjoyed the day. Not to mention that about 3 hours of the journey passes through a large, gently sloping no-mans-land called Playa Ancha. Think gravel, dirt, mud, and river. Think absolute and complete desolation. And don’t forget to factor in a blazing hot sun and the infamous icy Aconcagua wind blasting through the valley. The closest thing I’ve experienced to this is the saddle on Kilimanjaro; and this is at least twice as disheartening. By the time we stumbled into base camp, utterly exhausted and me with a blazing fever again, all I wanted was to drink a few liters of water and fall into my tent. Which of course we first had to erect.
The good news is, Bernie is again bunking with the camp staff, so I have a private tent here at base camp. THANK GOD!!! Because the last thing I need when I’m sick is dealing with another person – particularly one that I have now 100% determined that I do not like. The guy is uninformed, ill-prepared, and has the demeanor of a cloudy November day. And with those final remarks , I’ve also determined to stop complaining about him – in 9 days, I never have to see the cretin again. And given how much he suffered yesterday, maybe he’ll throw in the towel sooner than that?
The biggest remaining question is whether or not I’ll actually be able to finish the climb. We’re seeing the doctor again tonight (there are 3 mandatory checks as part of an Aconcagua expedition), and will discuss the acclimatization hike planned for tomorrow vs. another day resting in base camp. I have 4 days left before our summit push commences, I hope it’s enough to get well and to still acclimate sufficiently.