03: Gotten by the Monster Under the Bed – Gharoli-Patal, India

Run Ki Dhar ridge to Gharoli-Patal:

5 miles + 600 meters

Later that second night I woke up to my tent mate vomiting. Gastrointestinal illness or puking and diarrhea is the monster under the bed in India, and I had avoided it for the first half of my trip. It can make a trip anywhere from miserable to life threatening. Diarrheal diseases were still one of the top ten world causes of death in 2015 according to the World Health Organization. They spread like wild fire in between groups of people in the backcountry, and my tent mate, who I cooked and ate with, was suddenly sick.

I fell back to sleep with my stomach strangely sore all over.

The next morning, I woke up before anyone else, and did not make it far before liquid diarrhea exploded from me. I felt feverish and light headed.

All I could think was, “oh shit, oh shit.”

I scrambled to clean myself up. Wondering if I just didn’t tell anyone what happened, maybe I just wouldn’t get sick. Then I shit water three more times. To real to ignore I told my instructors.

I felt good enough to take more weight from my sick tent mate, but I was terrified. I was already so vulnerable in the middle of the Himalaya at the beginning of a long trek and now I couldn’t even keep water down.

I felt lost and scared. I stared into the valley below us trying to get it together. A hundred white birds flew up catching the morning light, and butterflies twirled in the air. It was magical. I tried to find the peace the mountains had given me the night before, but I still wanted my mom.

My body struggled to walk that day. I felt strong enough to barely put a foot in front of the other as we wound up a steep cobblestone trail. After each steep section, I felt like I was going to vomit. My body went numb, but I kept hiking. At home, I wouldn’t have moved from bed the entire day, but I was hiking up 500 meters carrying a heavy pack.

I was capable of more than I thought.

India 2015 (10)
Made it. 


We made camp in an exposed field backed up to massive peaks. I kept running into the woods to shit more liquid. As night fell, I finally gave in to antibiotics and immediately spewed vomit five-feet like a fire hydrant.

Exhaustion clouded out the fear of being incredibly sick. I just hoped that the medicine started to work. Hoped the pill had stayed down before the vomit. I spent the night feverishly tossing in my sleeping bag.

Camp two, vomiting and diarrhea 

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