Deep Breath

Moisture.  I’m craving for some really good moisture but it’s no where to be found.  The barren, dry, cold and hot Leh have been rough.  This week’s been a eye-opening experience of how harsh life can be up here in Ladakh.  It brought back memories of our three months here two years ago, slowly coming back.  We aren’t as tough and rough as the people that live in such harsh environment with so much limited resources nor do we expect to be.  It’s the things that we learn as we travel that makes us stronger ourselves.  In order to grow, one must be out of their comfort zones.  The things we endure always makes us realize that things get better eventually, just be patient and many things are out of our control.  We are not the only ones going through the tough times, some worse.  Our bond for each other as a couple is intensely strong because of the hard times, not the good times.

Yesterday, we hiked up Gompa right above Leh castle.  Each step of the way up was labored and we had to stop to catch a deep breath.  The dry chill in the air hits the nose and I had this ice cream headache the whole time.  The short hike up had an amazing view of the valley.

The whole experience in Leh is like going back in time.  The cows, donkeys and wild dogs on the narrow streets.  The running water through the streets that is the life of the valley is a reminder of how precious water is to keep life in the area.   The small waterways built through the valley is a source of many uses.  It was a cold morning and maybe, we should have started a bit later but being early risers this is something we need to adjust in our routine here in Leh.  The ruggedness of the area and the people transcends us to a different place outside of the places we’ve been.

We made it up to the prayer flags and already mesmerized by the contrast from one side to another.  Leh is a mix of Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu.  The culture is raw, extreme and engrained deeply in each community.  I checked out some views on the other side of the Gompa and admired the roughness of the area.

Our training camp is not going so well so far with a much needed time to recover from adjustments.  We both have a cold and I am on my 4th day of anti-biotic for chest infection.  No matter how much one prepares for altitude and the environment, it’s never a guaranteed.  The long travel was not the worst however, it did affect our immune system.  The stress and possible illness was to be expected.  There is no predicting what happens when we got here but we do know that there are a lot of risks for illness and acclimatization problems.  This is rougher than the first time we came to Leh.  The three months in the mountains of Nepal really helped strengthen our bodies before we arrived in Leh in 2015.  This is something we may have to consider doing again before we come back to Leh possibly next year.

We ran down on the road that is perfectly smooth and the grade is so subtle it felt great to run again.  It’s tempting to go fast but nature puts a halt to that once I was out of breathe as my speed increased so I slow down.  I need to slow down.  I need to take a deep breath.  I am forced to stop wanting more of what my body can handle.

So now, we go with the flow and hopefully this blows over quickly.  Rest, sleep, hydrate and slow movement is the best thing we can do until things turn around.  It could be more days than anticipated but a full recovery is critical.

We need to take a deep breath…in the meantime.

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