About 3 am, I heard the generator fire up, and the cheerful chatter of the wonderful staff who cooked and cared for us. It had been a cold night in the sleeping bag, listening to the wind and rain batter our wooden shelter.
Now, up for a warm breakfast of porridge, potatoes, and sugared tea before heading out to run. Today’s run is a 20 mile out and back along a ridge top in Singalila National Park. The question on everyone’s mind, after climbing yesterday in the rain and fog, is- will the fog clear so we can see Everest, Kanchenjunga and the other high peaks?
The answer was no. The fog closed in and did not relent, as we followed the “cobble-boulder” road that snaked along the ridge, through a landscape that some said reminded them of Lord of the Rings. It was a high tundra, scrubby grass and rocks punctuated with ancient, twisted, moss covered trees. It was quiet, except for the occasional yak bell. The air was thin, and I walked most of the inclines, and tried to run the downhills. I was captured by the vast, beautiful and wild landscape. Much as I longed to see those snowy peaks, I think I would have missed the exotic land all around me if they had been visible.
The damp and cold sank into our bones, and 20 miles took much longer than it should have. But we returned to our wooden shack to find a giant cauldron of hot soup, prepared on a propane burner by our constantly working Indian support staff. Altitude and cold drove me back to my sleeping bag, until our briefing for the next days run-Marathon Day. And our last chance to see the Himalayan peaks. We were all a little anxious, fearing we’d descend without one of the highlights most of us had come for.