Our last interview of our Hike Nepal team, let us introduce Gretchen!
“Everest.. it seems like a cliche after reading everyone else’s blogs… It’s just something I have dreamt of visiting, it’s intriguing”. Even though she feels that it’s on everyone’s bucket list, for Gretch she feels it’s just hype that surrounds the idea, and she’s excited to get on the mountain. When the opportunity came to go to EBC, she grabbed it as the timing was perfect! What is even better for her is that she inspired her friends, Gina and Terry, to come! She never thought her “bestie” would join her on this adventure, but is so happy she is! “I never thought this was going to happen. It blew me away that she wanted come. Her routine inspires me, I know she doesn’t like to break it, so when she said yes, it was so out of the blue and I couldn’t be happier”. She explains she’s also going to enjoy being away from her life for 3 weeks, a break that’s long overdue.
Gretchen comments that “after becoming stuck in life and all the BS surrounding it, the timing was perfect, it’s what I needed to do and I needed to step out of my comfort zone”. Life has been hard for Gretchen’s family over the last few years, so having Everest to look forward to for over a year has been a nice break from the unrelenting pressure of her day-to-day.
“In Everest you’re forced to switch off from reality, you can’t even escape and enjoy the comfort of your own toilet!” She’s excited for this and she just hopes her knees can take all the squatting. Perhaps we can take her a “she wee” just in case….
For Gretchen, the most exciting thing is the sense of “self achievement”; “there has been a lot of self sacrifice over the last few years and this is just something I need to do for me!” This is a common theme with every mum that we talk to, but even more so in our group coming to EBC this year.
Gretchen’s biggest fear is that she will not be physically able to complete the hike; “My biggest fear is my body, my knees. But, my brain will tell them to!” In the Blue Mountains a couple of weeks ago, Gretchen had a fairly solid fall, when she slipped off a rock. It scared the crap out of her, as she put it, and she has learned that it’s important to listen to her knees (and her body) and know that she’s not indestructible. Gretch says that “Its all well and good to Push and Push and Push, but there’s gotta be a limit.”
Gretchen has had to overcome and manage her injuries from day one of training, and for years prior to signing up. Everest will test her body. She plans to put one foot in front of the other, and carry a decent dose of anti- inflammatories!!! Gretchen was one of the few hikers that actually started training when we signed up a year ago, she has 12 solid months of hill-hiking under her belt, and i think she will surprise herself!
Gretch’s advise to others is… Breathe! Breathing can refocus your mind, calm your stress hormones, and generally ease suffering. Those moments are perfect for looking around you and soaking up the amazing opportunity you have taken and are privileged to experience! Her motto is “Just fu*cking do it! Stop the thinking, just get it done.” Maddy loves this FYI! On this, Gretchen says “I know its a cliche, but its not the destination, its the journey, I want to enjoy the moment- cause I’ll never go there again! I’ve also loved discovering new local trails, I hope to do more of them when home.” Doing more hiking is exactly what Gina has planned for her return home – so i have a feeling that both of them and their families will manage it!
Gretchen is not thinking past Everest in too much detail at the moment; “I just want to get through this unscathed and then do something with Craig – take him on a holiday. Somewhere we can do something – maybe Tasmania or New Zealand. Our last holiday together was 2014.” Gretch’s husband Craig has been a fabulous support for Gretchen and the whole hiking team throughout our training.
Congratulations Gretch, we have no doubts that all your hard work will pay off!