October 28, 2015
Dear Family & Friends:
This morning, Kathy Myers’ Mom passed away.
Libby Amos was 100-years old and lived in an assisted living facility in LaPorte, Indiana. She recently fell and broke several ribs. She passed away in the hospital while talking to Kathy, who called her Mom on a satellite telephone from Machermo. Kathy’s last words to her Mom were “I love you Mom.” Upon hearing these words from her beloved daughter, Libby Amos peacefully passed into the arms of the Lord.
Kathy built a Memorial Cairn in honor of her Mom at one of the beautiful glacial lakes on the way to Gokyo. Kathy’s plans for continuing the expedition are uncertain. Please include Kathy and her family in your thoughts and prayers.
Rebecca York, our sweet and beautiful young trekker, turned 31 today. We are all honored to be sharing this birthday with Rebecca. She brings so much brightness and joy to the entire team.
The trek to Gokyo (15,500 feet) was easy and enjoyable. The mountain vistas get more spectacular with every foot of elevation gain. Gokyo Lake and the village of Gokyo are breathtakingly beautiful. The photos do not do justice to this paradise on earth, but I will share them with you anyway.
As soon as we arrived, it started snowing. We don’t want more snow on our mountain.
We will be staying here 2 nights, and then we push into tent camping territory as we make our final move up to Burke-Khang Base Camp. I’m already dreaming about starting the ascent of Burke-Khang on the fixed lines.
Tomorrow, on our “rest day,” we will do an acclimatization hike of Gokyo Ri, the mountain near Gokyo. The elevation gain is 1,000 feet. Our plan is to reach the summit of Gokyo Ri in time to watch the sunrise on Mt. Everest.
Today, Sid completed a short reconnaissance of Burke-Khang. He didn’t reach the mountain, but was able to gain a ridge-line where he could see the mountain and take some photos. So fun and exciting to see our mountain.
Once we start tent-camping, it will be harder to send photos and e-mails. When we reach that point, I’ll send audio reports with my satellite telephone.
p.s. The day ended with the delivery of a beautiful and delicious chocolate birthday to Rebecca. We serenaded her with the birthday song.
Wow! tears and smiles all at the same time. What a blessing to have the last words to share with a loved one, and the last words they hear on Earth, to be ‘I Love You!’. Thankful all of you are safe and enjoying the journey. What a beautiful place you are in now.
Great report, Bill, aptly titled Sorrow & Joy, reflecting the march of life*. Of course, our condolences go out to Kathy. Likely her dear departed mother would be pleased to have Kathy to complete her Himalayan journey and doing so might be therapeutic, as grief is often best countered with activity. What better venue than the magnificence of the Himalayas to commune with God and the spirit of the departed.
Your last report, with photos, was of great interest as I trekked the opposite side of the valley up to Gokyo some years ago, going through Konar, Thare, Thore, Nalha and Pangkha. The Gokyo valley is truly a magnificent place on our planet. When I approached Gokyo Lake (spring time), I was astonished to witness beautiful ducks frolicking in the cold waters. “Development” seems to have hit Gokyo as I don’t recall such a large edifice as the Fritzjoy Inn. We did enjoy a glassed in solar tea house, where we stripped down to enjoy the warmth of the sun, though it was freezing outside. The hike up Gokyo Ri was memorable and, from the summit, I believe it’s the best perspective showing the grandeur of Chomolungma and surrounding mountains, much better than Kala Patar. There, in stiff winds, I strung prayer flags for a friend’s son who had passed away all too early. Coming down, the winds were so strong, small rocks occasionally pelted my (well covered) head.
Finally, Happy Birthday to Rebecca!
Warm regards to you and your team as you continue your memorable journey.
*Some excerpts from my favorite poem:
Oh, Why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
Like a swift fleeting meteor, a high flying cloud,
A flash of the lightening, a break of the wave,
He passeth from life to rest in the grave.
Yea, hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
Are mingled together in sunshine and rain.
And the smile and the tear, the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other like surge upon surge.
‘Tis the wink of an eye, ’tis the draught of a breath,
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
From the gilded saloon, to the bier and the shroud,
Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
On the sad side, our condolences to Kathy and her family. How wonderful that she was able to talk to her mom at that moment, heart-wrenching as it had to have been. On the joyous side, Happy Birthday to Rebecca, our little dynamo! This is certainly a birthday venue and celebration for the ages. Thank you to the team for celebrating her special day with her. Every day, i’m surprised by something, sometimes everything, in your accounts. Who would’ve thought one could get a chocolate birthday cake delivered to somewhere in the Himalayas?! Great pictures, as always….and fingers crossed that it stops snowing on your mountain for now.
I am sad for Kathy’s loss. We’ve all been through this and it is always difficult. She is very fortunate at a time like this to be surrounded by such wonderful people.
Sorry for your loss. Just said prayer for your mum. I am certain she having way more fun and new found freedom being with you on your journey.
Kathy, at this moment of distress and grief for the loss of your mother, prayer opens our eyes, provides relief, and enables us to clearly see the road ahead. A thought for you from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Though I am weak, yet God, when prayed, cannot withhold his conquering aid.” Healing blessings to you, and prayerful blessings for the entire team for strong bodies to carry to the summit of Burke-Khang and back.
So difficult for Kathy to be so far from home and family at this difficult time…a beautiful blessing to be talking to her mom at the very moment she passed into her next life. Lucky for Kathy she’s surrounded by close friends for comfort. Heartfelt condolences to Kathy.
Dear Kath, what a beautiful stupa you made for dear Libby! I’m so glad you got to speak with her and tell her you love her – and that she passed in peace knowing she was so very loved. Bless you in the continuation of your amazing journey.
I am sorry for Kathy’s loss of her mother. This a difficult time for her I know, but how wonderful she got to speak to her as she passed on to be with our Heavenly Father.
Your photos are wonderful! God’s speed Karen
This is a remembrance for my dearest Aunt Libby, Kathy’s mom. She was so unassuming, never self-regarding. Just sweet and small and humble and kind. But now her greatness has reached the top of the world.