Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Speaking in Australia

Alan has just returned from Australia where he did 6 corporate presentations for his employer Hatch Engineering. I think they were a little hesitant about him speaking because he is so young; but after his first talk no one questioned his speaking ability and the venues were always full to capacity. The praises flooded into head office and they wanted him to do more talks but his schedule was too tight.
On his return home he commented on how helpful and friendly the Aussies were. They arranged for him to enter a 58 km. biking event, hike some trails in the National Forest near Perth and do some scuba diving. It was a busy work/play time. Thanks for inviting him and the gifts it was a great experience.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Family in Peru

Another speaker at the Rotary Conference was a delightful lady from Peru. She has organized a support group for families of children with disabilities in her country. We seem to have so many social services that we do not think about children being abandoned to live on their own on the streets because they have a physical or mental disability. Her organization supports and educates the parents and searches for appropriate work experiences/jobs for both children and adults with disabilities. Her passion and enthusiasm were contagious so I can see why her program has been so successful but there is always more to do. She invited me to visit her and I think I just might.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Canadians in Afghanistan

Dan spoke at the Rotary District Conference in Niagara on the Lake recently. A Canadian Military doctor who had done two terms in Afghanstan was another speaker. His presentation was very emotional. He explained the political situation there very well and encouraged everyone to learn as much as possible about what is happening over there. He felt very strongly that Canadians were making a difference and Canada should continue serving in Afghanistan. He painted a very different picture than what we hear in the media. It is hard to imagine being afraid every day of your life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Alan in Australia

Alan's company Hatch Engineering has been most supportive. They have provided Alan wiht lots of opportunities. Presently, he is in Australia giving Everest presentations to staff and clients. Naturally he has to do something adventurous while he is there. Since the mountains in Australia are not very high he has decided to go down instead of up. Both he and his brother Adam recently got their scuba license so Alan will be diving around the reefs of Australia.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Next Chapter in the Family Album

We started this mountain climbing adventure when the children were in their teens. We wanted to do something as a family before the obligations of their future families took priority. We still have one last mountain to climb but the beginning of the next chapter in the family album was announced earlier this month. Alan is engaged to be married to Natalie next year and we will no longer be 5. We will be 6 and we welcome Natalie into our family with open arms. She has a kind heart, an adventurous spirit, and a love of God. They are a good match and even though it is hard for me to give up my position as the most important woman in my son's life I know it is time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thank you

My mother always told me that it is not a requirement for someone to do something for you. You do not do something for someone to receive anything in return; the satisfaction of helping someone should be reward in itself. She also told me to acknowledge someone's time and efforts to help me by simply saying "thank you."
Today, when you do something for someone they tend not to acknowledge it with those two simple words. In fact, some people make me feel as if they have a right to my time, property and possessions. I don't expect a parade but I do expect acknowledgement. My time and the things I have worked hard to attain are important to me. I give of them freely - a sincere "thank you" is all that I ask in return.
I must abide by my own words so I want to say "thank you" to everyone for continuing to follow our adventures and support us in so many ways. I will keep you posted about our next adventures.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Recent Family Presentation

We recently did a family presentation in Barrie. Family presentations are rare since it is so hard to co-ordinate everyone these days but I think they are the most enjoyable. Every family member participates and you get a real feeling for what was happening on the mountain and how everyone coped. There are some funny stories and some emotional ones and of course all the fabulous pictures and videos. An old public school friend of mine Catherin and her husband drove up from London to see the presentation which was a pleasant surprise.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Laura on the Radio

Our Everest Expedition has presented us with many opportunities we might not otherwise have had. Laura in particular has been exposed to lots of media attention. This past week she was asked to co-host the B101 Morning show with Jamie Hall while Tara was on holidays. Laura got to be a radio personality. She got to talk to people who called into the show, learn about all the ins and outs of radio and promote our upcoming family presentation on August 13, 2009 at the Barrie Country Club.
Jamie is always lots of fun. He and Tara really promote what is happening in Simcoe Country. They have a very positive attitude and are always friendly and encouraging. Thanks to both Jamie and Tara for supporting our family and for the great job they do on the air promoting local events and talent.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mountain vs Massif

I always thought mountain and massif were interchangeable words but when doing some research I discovered that I was wrong. According to Webster a massif is "an elevated mass, usually mountainous with a number of peaks rising from it / a large portion of the earth's crust which has shifted as a block with out internal folding or faulting etc." In other words, it is a compact group of connected mountains that moves as one geological unit. Mt. Vinson is the tallest peak in the Vinson Massif which is part of the Ellsworth mountains of western Antarctica . At a height of 5,142m (16,860 ft.) it is the last of the seven summits which the Mallory family hopes to climb.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Going Down

My children have been to the top of the world and everyone asks what is next. The boys have decided to reverse direction and go down instead of up. They want to explore the ocean depths and both have just recently taken their scuba certification. Both Dan and I are certified so Laura just has to find the time to get her certification and we can be off on an underwater adventure in the sunny south.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

On Line Diary

I never thought of it until today but writing a blog is a bit like an on line diary without the lock and key. As a child I had a private diary. I would write my personal thoughts in it - those secrets that seem ever so important at the time. Where the dairy is now and why I stopped putting entries into it I do not know.
Now with the blog, I am not writing down my secrets but am letting the world (or the two people who read this) know some of my inner thoughts and feelings and learn about our family adventures.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sleeping under the stars

It is July according to the calendar but the weather does not seem to be co-operating. We expect hot muggy evenings in July but lately the evenings have been cool and breezy. The big advantage to that is that the mosquitoes are few and therefore if you are willing to chance no rain you can sleep under the stars. It is my plan to sleep on the trampoline with the dog tonight at the cottage under an almost full moon. Hopefull T-dog will not decides to walk/bounce on the trampoline or do some night wandering. I am hoping for shooting stars streaking across a clear evening sky, sounds of night creatures and the lapping of the waves against the beach. Pray for good weather.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My nephew Justin

This past weekend, the Mallorys had a family gathering at the cottage to celebrate my nephew Justin's graduation from college as a Paramedic. The theme for the day was medical games and there were two teams. To begin we had to come up with a team name and team cheer. Our name was The Heart Attackers and the other team was Epinepherine Rush. We had a rap cheer which was a big hit. It was raining but weather has never stopped a Mallory.
For the first game we had to throw balls into a long red tube while blindfolded. The balls represented medication and the red tube was a vein. A seeing person directed you but I am sure our patient would have died. The next game was an example of team work. All team members except the caller were blindfolded and held hands. The caller then yelled out directions and the teams raced around an obstacle course. Everyone then moved indoors to eat nibbles and do a medical crossword. Having a science and medical laboratory background I thought it would be easy but I guess I have been out of the field for too long. Abbreviations were the most difficult. Dinner was chili and sausage with salads followed by a really nicely designed cake and ice cream. Justin's mom treated us to a powerpoint presentation of Justin growing up. He loves ice and rock climbing and there were some fabulous pictures of his various trips and adventures.
Justin leaves for the army on Monday. He will be in training for several months before being shipped overseas. We are proud of him and pray that he returns safely home.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kayaking under the full moon

A few weeks ago I decided I needed to do something new for the summer so I signed up for a moonlight kayak on Georgian Bay. I had done some sea kayaking years ago in the Baha but that was when the kids were very young.
I travelled to Snug Harbour on Georgian Bay and met my fellow kayakers 6 strangers about to go on an adventure together. I was paired with Lindsay. We headed out towards the east with the wind in our faces and me struggling to keep the boat on a straight course. I thought we should be singing camp songs as we paddled along but no one else was inclined so I hummed away to myself. After about a half hour we turned to the west and watched a breathtaking sunset sink into the horizon. The wind had died down and we silently slid through the water in silence. It was time to live in the moment, be thankful for small blessings and enjoy being alive. The moon slowly rose behind us and the few clouds that had been in the sky disappeared. The stars twinkled overhead. We paddled past Snug Harbour and turned into a bay. At the furthest end of the bay an opening appeared to the east as if by magic and we followed the path of the moon on the water through a small channel back to Snug Harbour. The next day I went out and bought my own kayak, paddle and life jacket - in pink to discourage borrowing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Making use of opportunities

Sometimes opportunities only present them selves once. I have learnt from experience that life can pass you by unless you jump in at the last minute. To that end, this weekend I was given the opportunity to learn how to drive an old dump truck. Not something I would normally embrass but who knew when that opportunity might present itself again. I am not particularly good at driving a standard car so a standard dump truck with extra levers was going to be a challenge. My son, Adam, was very patient with me and stayed with me while I set up my routine for dumping dirt on a road. In the end, it was fun to sit up high and bounce along the road. I mastered all the important levers and even learnt how to start the fussy engine. People say that trying new things keeps your body and mind youthful. What's next?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Updated website

I spent the morning with our webdesigner updating the website. We have added a few new things to promote our speaking engagements, deleted a few things that were old news and started a section on our next great adventure Mt. Vinson in Antarctica. I will be doing some research over the summer and adding to the Mt. Vinson section. Today, I learnt that Mt. Vinson was first summited in 1966 - not the long ago.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Do televison and movies desensitize people?

I know there has been arguments against television and movies for years. There have been lots of books written about it. We didn't have a television because both Dan and I were mesmerized by it. If we started watching something we were there for the evening and did not get anything else done. It was a time waster and we did not want our children to waste their childhood. As for the argument that it desensitized people I think that is true or at least it was for one of our children. I remember taking Adam to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs when he was about 8 and we had to leave the theatre. He always asked to be excused from movies at school until grade 3. In their teen years a friend gave us an old black and white television but it was never used much. Now, there is a television of sorts in the unfinished part of the basement of the house which is rarely watched. There is no television at the cottage and hopefully there never will be. We do watch videos.
I have disciplined myself to leave after the first 10 minutes if it is a junk movie so it better catch my attention early. BBC and nature videos are favourites.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

News from Mt. Everest

A friend of mine from last year, has just returned from summitting Mt. Everest. He made some interested comments about the mountain in his last e-mail which I will share with my readers (I am still a bit skeptical that there are any readers now but I can always hope and I enjoy posting the blogs). Dale is a professor in the States who has climbed several mountains himself and with some of his students. I think he does studies related to physical fitness and high altitude. He commented in his last e-mail that climbing to the summit of Mt. Everest was a lot harder and more technical than he anticipated. He also said that he was surprised the there were not more deaths on the mountain. He was in Base Camp and saw the avalanche that killed a Sherpa in the Khumbu Icefall this year.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

2009 - 5 death's on Everest

The latest death on Mt. Everest is a 29 year old Canadian from Calgary who summited without oxygen and died of hypothermia during his descent according to Everest News. The mountain has taken 5 lives this year. My condolences to all the families.

I am sure when people hear about a death on Everest they really wonder why people climb it. I do not really have an answer to that. Many years ago, George Mallory was asked "Why do you climb" and he replied, "If you have to ask the question you will not understand the answer". I think his answer is very true. I do not think i could explain why we climb. I think we look at things as an opportunity and a challenge. You never want to look back at life and wish you had done something and now it is too late.

On a happier note, a hiking companion of mine from 2008 successfully summited Mt. Everest this year. I am anxious to hear his stories when he returns to the U.S. Congratulations Dale Wagner on your safe ascent and descent.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Laura's anniversary comments

A year ago on May 27, 2008, the entire family was on pins and needles wondering where Laura was and if she was alive and safe. She lost radio contact with everyone when the battteries in her Sherpa's radio died. For over 12 hours everyone wondered and waited. The most anxious moments in a parent's life. Here are Laura's thoughts a year later.

Laura: “It feels really good to be the youngest Canadian female to make it to the top of the world. One of the best things that has come out of this opportunity is the chance to inspire fellow young people, and other women. I don’t think it has really changed my life at all, but it has changed the impact I am able to have on others and that is the greatest reward.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First Anniversary Quotes

A year ago today, Dan, Adam & Alan stood on the top of the world. What an extraordinary year it has been: a year of personal growth, family and friends; a year of presentations, interviews and blogs. We hope we have inspired, encouraged and motivated people to make their dreams real. Following are quotes from the summiters.

Dan: "The height of Everest has only been exceeded by the high that we experienced from all the attention and well wishes over the past year."
Adam: "Following this year's summit attempts has rekindled vivid memories of our expedition. It is time to start to dream again."
Alan: "A year seems like a long time but whenever I talk about our summit day my heart starts to pound and it all seems like it was just yesterday."

Keep dreaming!!!

Advantages of a Small Cottage

In 1982, when our first son Adam was born, Dan and I built a small one room sleeper cottage on the lake where he spent summers as a child with his brothers and sisters. Almost every weekend throughout the year when the children lived at home we ventured to the cottage. Even now that they are adults, the cottage has an allure. In fact, Laura is living with a friend and the dog at the cottage now and working for the summer nearby.
The cottage is 12’ x 16’ and it has been the source of our family’s enjoyment for many years. Everyone questions how we ever lived in such a small space for so long but doing so has had its advantages. The small size of the cottage meant that most of the time people were outside enjoying nature and getting lots of exercise. It also meant that going to the cottage was a bit of a camping experience both summer and winter. All our children can make a meal over an open fire even in winter. They know how to stay warm, how to cool off, and how to find their way around in the bush. They have built something new each year to entertain themselves – tree forts, rope swings, ski jumps, bicycle jumps, a hot tub, log buildings, etc. (maybe that is why both Adam and Alan decided to become engineers). In hind sight, I think having a small cottage helped everyone prepare for their Mt. Everest adventure.
Now with some hesitation, we are preparing to build a bigger cottage in preparation for an extended family someday. I have to keep reminding myself that it is a cottage and it should be rustic. The important part of cottage life is the sharing of experiences not the building.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1924 Mt. Everest postcards

Climbing of Mt. Everest is a huge financial undertaking. Every climber hopes to recoup at least some of his or her investment after the climb through lectures, films, pictures, advertising etc. To do this you need to capture public attention before, during, and after the climb. In 1924, before the age of television and the Internet it was hard to keep the public's attention focused on people climbing Mt. Everest. To solve this problem, Captain John Noel, the expedition photographer, came up with a unique idea for the time. He publicised the expedition by advertising in a daily newspaper that he would send a unique expedition postcard from Mt. Everest's Tibet Base camp to anyone who sent in their name and address. There was an overwhelming response to his ad and thousands of postcards were sent from Base camp back to England. At the bottom of the postcard he advertised the film he would be producing about the climb - Noel's way of recouping some money.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Living without a television

In some ways our family is unique. The children grew up without a television in the house. That meant that we played a lot of games and spent a lot of time outdoors. I seemed to be entertaining the neighbourhood for many years. All the children gathered at our house after school to bake, play hide and seek, run races and make crafts.
We spent the summer at the cottage playing in a huge sandbox - 8 ft. x 8 ft., swimming in the lake and cooking over an open fire. We picked wild strawberries and blueberries to make fresh pies, kneeboarded and skied 2 or 3 times a day and built a tree fort in almost every tree. Friends were invited up. It was like summer camp at the Mallorys.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Getting fit

I was told I could remove my cast the other day; my fracture has healed. Now I have to work on my mobility. My ankle joint has stiffened up from having the cast on for 2 months. Naturally because of my age, everyone is concerned about my bone density. Personally, I do not think I am a very good candidate for osteoporosis but I will have a bone density done before my next medical just to make sure there isn't something genetic that I do not know about. Did you know that becoming unfit takes much much less time than becoming fit? Discouraging I know.
I have started back slowly going to aquafit at the pool and I going to physio and laser therapy. I hope to start biking shortly. To stay young means moderate exercise for an hour 6 days a week. For me, I find it best to schedule that into my day just like an appointment and I need to attend classes. Having other people sweat along with me is motivational. Dan who is more competitive likes to sign up for races. That forces him to exercise to prepare for the race.
Most of the family hopes to run a marathon this fall. Too much pounding for my knees and ankles but I wish them luck. I will be on the bike clocking their progress.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2009 Mt. Everest climbers

There seem to be fewer climbers on Mt. Everest this year, probably because of the ecomony; however, I have been checking the Summit Climb website because one of my companions, Dale, from last year is making an attempt to summit this year and another fellow climber, Stefano, is climbing Cho oyu. For my family Everest almost seems like a dream now. Laura and Adam did mention the other day that they were not very interested in going camping this summer though. Memories of living in a tent on a mountain for 2 months came flooding back I think.

Monday, April 20, 2009

First on Everest-Explore Magazine

Almost a year after my family summited Mt. Everest people and the media are still interested in our story. In the May edition of Explore Magazine the Mallory Expedition is the cover story and inside you can see pictures of the climb and read all about the Mallory family's adventures on Mt. Everest. There are things in that article that even I was not aware of. Laura was much sicker on the mountain than any of us realized. I guess Kate Barker - the author - knows the right questions to ask. If you get an opportunity pick up the magazine. For the outdoor enthusiast there are lots of great articles besides the Mallory story.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter with the Mallorys

Almost all holidays are spent with the Mallory clan gathering at the cottage for a day of fellowship, food and games. Easter is a highlight of course because there are always lots of treats. Everyone gets some chocolate from Laura Secord or a specialty chocolate store. We always have an Easter egg hunt. I guess we are all kids at heart. A few years ago, I started hiding money instead of chocolate eggs which seems to have rekindled everyone's interest in the hunt. I go to the bank and get rolls or loonies, quarters and dimes and hide the money around the house or at the cottage. Months later someone may find money in a shoe or a pocket which is an added bonus. We also try to do a craft and have an outdoor activity. We have painted lots of Easter eggs, made Easter bonnets, cooked special cookies and made bird purses over the years. We have done orienteering egg hunts, blindfolded egg hunts, scavenger hunts, and had races. Old and young join in the fun and we now have extended family friends who always like to join us over the holiday. A special prayer of thanks and a hearty meal ends the day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Maple Syrup - like the pioneers

Every other year, the extended Mallory Clan head off into the bush to tap and collect maple sap to make maple syrup. We do it the old fashioned way where we tap the trees and hang the buckets. When the sap is running everyone is needed to help collect the buckets and pour the sap into the big plastic barrels which we haul in a snow boat behind the snowmobile to the fire. We slowly boil the sap in a huge cast iron kettle for hours. Dan tests to make sure the syrup is ready by tilting a spoon and seeing if the syrup has a tail when it falls to the ground. Then it is panic time and all hands are required to pour the syrup from the kettle through felt cloth and into the bottles and tins. We tap about 40 trees since it takes 40 litres of sap to make one litre of syrup. As a reward, an outdoor breakfast celebration is usually planned with sausage, pancakes, eggs and lots of maple syrup.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Adam's strength

Adam is the strong, quiet person in the family. When he talks everyone listens because you know he has thought through what he is going to say and it is important. He gets right to the point and doesn't say anything more than is necessary. He is a patient instructor who is constantly assisting the computer semi-literate (his dad & mom) in the family.
Adam did his first presentation on his own recently where his peers packed the conference room at his work. It was a positive experience for Adam with lots of congratulations and high fives afterwards. Adam considered that a stepping stone. He wants to do more family presentations where he presents with another family member.

Adam's real strength lies behind the scenes with all the technical issues that go along with doing a presentation. He has devised and implemented ways to improve all the presentations. He was the main videographer on the mountain. Having a computer geek and electrical engineer in the family really helps when problems arise on presentation day.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dan's enthusiasm

Over the years, Dan has given slide shows and power point presentations of our various adventures to family and friends who love to hear his stories and see our pictures. His bird-watching hobby has taken the two of us to many remote areas of the world to catch a glimpse of a rare and magnificent bird. His voice radiates his enthusiasm for adventure and nature.

Dan is a modest soft spoken presenter who really enjoys sharing the family adventures. For him telling the story of losing contact with Laura on Mt. Everest for over 6 hours is still very emotional. The feeling of helplessness - wondering and waiting were the worst hours of Dan's life. Thankfully, everyone returned safely home.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Alan's sense of humour

During university Alan attended Toastmasters where he honed his presentation skills. When we decide to start to do presentations he was eager to begin and developed the first family presentation for Hatch Engineering in Mississauga.

Alan is an active, expressive presenter who likes to use a lapel mic so he can move about. He connects immediately with his audience whether they be corporate executives, seniors or youth groups and seems to naturally know when to add a bit of humour to the presentation.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Laura's bubbly personality

We now have four people in the family who are actively inspiring people to make their dreams real through our presentations. Each person has developed their own presentation and has their own presentation style.

Laura is a very confident young lady with a bubbly personality. She has presented with the whole family, her brother Alan and on her own. She continues to grow in poise and confidence. She will be presenting to several high schools in late April. An inspiration to youth and young women in particular, the story of her summit day is a story of drama, courage, determination and success.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Special Christmas Hats

At Christmas in 2007, Dan's sister's family gave us each a special gift. What could possibly be inside the colourful gift bags? On the count of three, everyone threw their tissue paper into the air and whoops of laughter and delight could be heard around the Christmas tree as we all donned a special peaked hat. Nancy, Rob, Ethan & Kelsey had given each of us a hat with the name of a mountain we had summited and a flag of that country on it. The mountains were one of the famous seven peaks - the highest mountain on each of the seven continents.

Alan - Mt. McKinley/Denali - North America
Laura - Mt. Elbrus - Europe
Adam - Mt. Aconcagua - South America
Barbara - Mt. Kilimanjaro - Africa
Dan - Mt. Everest - Asia

Dan got a hat of Mt. Everest because that was his next goal. He had already started planning the trip and being a positive family everyone was convinced he would summit. On a gear shopping trip, I found some more Mt. Everest hats and gave Adam, Alan & Laura each one at the airport on their return from Nepal after their successful summit.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Life and Death Gear

We had some gear from previous climbs but we did not have enough gear for 5 people. We also wanted to make sure that we had the best of everything - the weather is severe and very unpredictable on Mt. Everest. We all wanted to come home alive and with all our appendages. We did a lot of research. Dan flew to Ohio and drove to a little town called Granville to the Everest Gear Store to try on and buy Millet One Sport Everest boots for himself and the boys (luckily they all wear the same size). I took a couple of days with each of the kids to go gear shopping at Sojourn in Barrie and MEC and Europe Bound in Toronto. We also ordered things through the North Face catalogue, and various on line stores in the U.S. We had been told that Nepal had cheaper gear but a lot of the items were knock offs. This information was quickly confirmed when Alan was trying on a pair of down pants in Kathmandu that had a North Face label on one leg and a Mountain Hardwear label on the other leg.

A year ago - the lists

A year ago, five people were madly preparing to leave for Nepal in a month. Alan had gotten permission from his new employer to take a two and a half month leave of absence, and Adam and Laura had gotten permission from their university professors to write their final exams some before and some after their climb. Dan was trying to make sure everything would run smoothly at the office and I was making up lists and checking them twice. There was a personal gear list, a medication list, a house list, a dog list, a food list, a pre-pay list, a cancel list, a photocopy list, a bank list, a document list, an outfitter list, a question list, a phone list, an appointment list, a today list, a tomorrow list, and the lists went on and on. Everyone had a room in the house to put their gear and the dining room was the food room. We were told that Nepal did not have a good supply of energy snack foods so I was going to take over a 20 kg. bag just of food.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Did the university make us more daring?

Alan wrote an excellent summary of our climb and submitted it to the Queen's alumni office shortly after we returned from our climb. It was published in the latest Queen's Alumni Review along with some photos. Read it if you get the opportunity. He hit on all the highlights.
Four of the five Mallorys are graduates of Queen's University in Kingston -Daniel, Barbara, Adam and Alan. Did the university contribute to our desire to push the limits? Maybe it did and maybe it didn't. Being purple, slamming, skydiving, dancing on tables in Grant Hall and hopping around residence in a bunny outfit - maybe that is daring and pushing the limits - we'll let you decide.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Danger in cleaning off a car

I can climb mountains but have problems when I dust off a car.
This past weekend was most interesting. I received my first broken bone. With all the adventures we have had in the past it is amazing that I haven't broken one before and the story of how it happened is almost embarassing. I was cleaning off the cars at the cottage preparing to go to cross country skiing near Parry Sound. I slipped on some ice, heard a crack, a pain that brought tears to my eyes and I was on the ground half way under the trailer. I knew I was in trouble and started yelling for Daniel to help me. He did not immediately respond to my call for aid since he was shovelling the back deck and singing to himself. My dog however did respond giving me lots of kisses while I wallowed around on the ground in the snow trying to hoist myself up. Daniel eventually came to my rescue and helped me crawl to the cottage. (my best option since Dan did not want to hurt his back and the snow boat looked like more pain than help) Once in the cottage, Adam came to my assistance and took me by snowmobile to Dan's parents' cottage where I could at least lie down in a lazy boy chair while the boys took the snowmobiles to do some work in the bush and pick up Laura and her friends. Six hours later, I was in Parry Sound hospital being x-rayed and Dan and Adam were outside trying to figure out how to get into the car that they locked the keys in. I am now home with an air cast on and a walker to help me get around the house. This is my sanctuary for at least a week according to the doctor who saw me in Parry Sound where I got the fastest medical treatment I have had in the past 10 years. Not being a very good patient, I will see how long I can survive at home.

Beasts of Burden on Mt. Everest

Laura and I are going to be doing a presentation on low oxygen levels at high altitudes and I thought I would share some of the information.
There are 3 Beasts of Burden on Mt. Everest.
1. JOKYO The Jokyo, also called Dzopko or Zuikos, is a yak/cow cross and carries supplies below 3500m. On our trip we saw lots of them below Namche Bazar. They are used instead of yaks at lower levels because yaks have thick skin with few functioning sweat glands and lots of hair; therefore, they overheat at lower hotter altitudes.
2. YAK The yak carries supplies above 3500m up to Base Camp at 5300m. At Base Camp there is 1/2 the amount of oxygen that there is at sea level. They are truly amazing animals with special phyiological adaptations. They have a large chest cavity which permits the development of large lungs and a large heart. Their trachea is longer and more flexible which allows the yak to adjust quickly to oxygen demands allowing them to breathe rapidly if necessary. It is believed that yaks' red blood cells have a greater ability for oxygen absorption but scientists are unsure why. Some believe they have larger red blood cells; thus, more hemoglobin for the oxygen to attach to. Others believe that their hemoglobin composition has a greater affinity to oxygen. Still others believe that when the animal is stressed its spleen releases large quantites of red blood cells. Male yaks have been known to survive as high as 7200m.
3. HUMAN PORTERS - both male and female. Porters are not Sherpas. Porters come from the low valleys and in the caste system that exists in Nepal they are considered at the bottom. They are very very poor and all that I met were illiterate. They have an extremely hard life. Other than when they pick up your bags in the morning and drop them off at the next teahouse you have very little contact with them. (My porter Dawa was the exception since he was told to stick to me like glue.) The government, better outfitters, and compassionate trekkers and climbers are trying very hard to ensure that porters are treated more fairly.