Sunday, January 16, 2011

Frozen Boots and Ema Datsi

After reading my comments on the frozen water bottle and stiff trekking boots, a friend from the US writes as follows:
Dear Yeshey,

"........Second other thing... I just read your blog posts about the Druk Path trek. Man, see why I worry about you? :( The photos are lovely but your health is more important. I have done many weeks of canoeing and trekking in temps and storm conditions like those. The boot issue is important. I tried once to thaw mine out by putting them near the fire, and they burned and became hard as rocks. Finally I just began sleeping with them in the bottom of my sleeping bag on the worst nights, along with my socks for morning and underwear all tucked into the bottom of the bag so it wasn't damp or cold when I needed to put them on. That takes out too much of your body heat just to warm the base layers. The other thing that helps is to warm rocks on the fire, and warm it long enough that it is warm all the way through, not just the surface, and put a rock into each boot. Or a piece of soapstone or whatever you want. I had two bricks of soapstone that were my favorite for that. They radiate out heat for a long time, good for drying out boots or for keeping them from freezing through the night. Good for mittens and other things too.
Are you wearing a good warm wool hat to bed? That's crucial. And keeping your neck and the small of your back and your belly warm are super important. You're going to love the Ugg boots. Wish I could send you Ugg overalls hahaha ... Seriously, stay warm, drink lots of warm/hot liquids up there, lots of fat in your diet while you trek. It's cold and you can't generate enough heat yourself to warm your body; you need to rely on a lot of warm drinks and hot soups and fat in the food to keep your metabolism going. Spicy chillies make you sweat and take the heat to the outside of you instead of to the inside, so they aren't the best choice; they're warm initially but ultimately will cool you off. Just lots and lots of hot liquids and substantial foods, soups with meat, warm curries. I remember how fast the food turns cold on those fast!!

Last but not least, go get the cordyceps and begin taking that now. It would be good for you to take right through until spring/summer warms you up. Take it for a week before you start your next trek and keep taking it as you go. Don't overdose yourself though. Take enough that your breathing improves and you feel like you had a nice cup of tea, but not so much that you are jittery or feel hyper or like you could leap over the mountains instead of just walk more easily. A little is good and a lot is harmful. A little more while you are trekking, less while you are in Thimphu. My sister-in-law loved it! She ran like a deer even while sick".
NOTE: The reference to chillies is because the friend knows of our penchant for ema datsi! Apparently, Menjong Sorig Pharmaceuticals (Indigenous Hospital in Kawajangtsa) manufactures some pills prepared out of Cordyceps sinensis called CordyPLUS and CordyACTIVE. The friend swears that they are magic for energy and stamina. I am doing pretty OK without them - so I am not sure that I will try them out - not just as yet anyway.

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