Our climb started with cloudy skies which was fine by us since the sun could have been merciless had it poked through. It was still very warm and humid and with all the energy I was exerting I was drenched in sweat. Now I know, women are supposed to glisten not sweat. Sorry this was a sweat drenching. My hair was dripping wet and my light weight shirt was sticking to my back under my pack.
When I got promoted to the front of the line I knew it was for a reason. I would be setting the pace and the mountain guide would be pressing me on to keep from lagging behind. One other lady who happened to speak English from living in the States for a while was promoted as well although she was in much better shape than me. On one short break she asked if I wanted some oxygen tablets and some liquid oxygen in my water. She smiled and said the guide had told her that if she thought the tablets and liquid made her feel better to go ahead and take them. She touched her head and said, "So even if it's up here at least it might make us feel better." I took them. A little while later, all in my head or not, I did feel a little better.
|Taking a short break.|
I think we took a few more breaks but they were a little shorter. It was nice being in front because then I got a little more rest waiting for the rest of the group to get to our rest spot. Soon we settled into a little ritual. When it was time to start up again the Japanese mountain guide would come to me look me in the eye, smile, and say, "Shall we go?" "Shall" would be drawn out a little slowly and then the "we go?" was a bit staccato. I realized later that it was the cadence of the Japanese language coming through.
His question and his smile didn't bother me but there was this twinkle in his eye when he said it that made me wonder. Was he amused? Or was he trying to kill me on this mountain?