06 August, 2011

El Choro

The night before heading off on the 3-day, El Choro trek, Shira felt kinda funny. And by funny, I mean sick and disoriented. It must´ve been the altitude in La Paz. We had just finished up some saag paneer and chapati (you´re welcome, dad), at an Indian restaurant, when Shira felt like she was gonna throw up. I helped her up from the table and began to lead her to the bathroom. ¨Everything started going in circles,¨ recounts Shira. And then, in the middle of the restaurant, she didn´t throw-up...she fainted. I began yelling her name, lightly slapping her face, while the waiters around us scrambled to help. After 10ish seconds, she woke up and said she was having a dream.

Later that night, on our way back from the ATM, Shira began to feel faint again. She stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, and proceeded to yack...a lot...on the street, on her crocs and on her pants. Fortunately, she began to feel better after unloading.

The next morning we got up early and Shira said she was up for the trek. We met our guide, Ronaldo, in La Paz, and drove an hour in a van to the beginning of El Choro, at about 4900 meters (16,000 feet). It was cold and windy up there, but we were dressed in layers and felt energized, breathing in the clean, mountain air.

The El Choro trek is unique in that the majority of the trail is a descent. In the first day alone, we moved from 4900 meters to 2800. Walking downhill, hour after hour, having to step on and around jagged stones and rocks, was brutal on our knees. In the higher altitudes, we saw tons of sheep and llamas and stone pueblos and yellow mountains (not our photo). But by the end of the first day, we had decended low enough to find ourselves in warmer weather, in the forest (not our photo), where we remained for the next two days of trekking. We camped in tents each night along the forests' ridge lines at these little rest-stops, ran by locals, who sold water, coke ad beer to the trekkers. Ronaldo prepared our meals each day, mostly consisting of rice, eggs, salty cheese, carrots, green peppers and hearty vegetable soup.

Though we completed a 10-day trek in Nepal, El Choro felt much harder on us. If you saw Shira trying to walk down the flight of stairs at our hostel this morning, you might laugh out loud, but also cry a little too. We are VERY soar, but so proud to be done!
We're now in the small and charming town of Coroico, resting for the next day or so, until we head back to La Paz, and from there, bus to Isla del Sol. We´re never walking again.


Blogger DeDe said...

Hey Zak and Shira

Happy Shira is better. 16,000 feet, wow, no more altitude for you. You are a trooper to continue on with the hike...

Made me relive some of my high altitude moments in Ecuador, YUCK!
Enjoy some relaxing time you two.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Jo Strausz Rosen said...

OMG. Just read this harrowing account and was reminded of other fainting experiences of my own. Take good care and take it slowly... Soreness is a sign from your body that it needs attention. Relax and enjoy each other.
Miss you both love love

9:27 AM  
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