One Wild Journey, One Crazy Couple, One Life to Live
I wake up and find my tent is still in the same place I pitched it, but the ground is soaking wet and my tent fly is inside out hanging from its velcro loop at the peak. I am thankful I decided to place rocks over the tent pegs!
I pack up and wander down to the river to wash. As I splash the cold water on my face, I feel what seems like a million bumps and lumps on my forehead, nose and chin. Sunblisters. Damn. Without a mirror, I can only feel how bad it looks, which is worse than seeing it. The blisters feel monstrous. I open my first aid kit and all I have that could be considered remotely useful is a bright orange antiseptic cream made in Pakistan. I smear it all over my face and hope there is a magical ingredient that will make it all go away.
No such luck. By 10:00 I am sweltering again. We reach a river that we need to cross without shoes. I am in the process of removing my socks when a heard of yaks and their owners approach the river. One of the owners seems to take pity on me and hoists me up on one of the yaks so I can cross the river. This is my first ever ride on a yak and I should be thrilled. However, my excitement is somewhat dampened by the fact that the yak owners are all staring at my face in awe of its redness. One man even sticks his finger out to touch the blister on the bridge of my nose. I am feeling quite self-conscious of the bright orange cream at this stage!
As I leave the river behind me, I realize the next few hours are uphill. Half way through I am dying of thirst. Juma sees the pained look on my face and wanders off the trail. He returns with stalks of wild rhubarb and something he calls ‘chicory’. The rhubarb hits the spot and I start to feel less dehydrated. The chicory, which looks nothing like the chicory I know, is even better. I pocket several stocks of each and continue to make my way up. I need to put both of these plants on my hiking menu in the future. Juma saves the day, once again, and I start to think I may make it through the loss of my water bottle and sunscreen!