Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday, September 30th, 2010


Namaste,


I woke up at 4:00am, only to hear Jordan on the phone! I was livid!!! So angry that I never went back to sleep. I laid on the couch for a couple hours... I held a hot compress on my pitiful eye! I got my shower and took Trey to school. Off to Starbucks, then on to work. Slow and easy is they way it goes at work. Everyone at work was concerned that my eye was infected and I needed to go to the Doctor, so I called my eye doctor and he got me right in. He put some dye in my eye and scoped it. I have a severe corneal abrasion. Could be from several different things. Mike Giroux's hand, his head, or dirt from mowing! Dr. Charles gave me a couple different eye drops and I feel so much better! A friend of mine called me this morning and ask if there was any way I could go mow her lawn after work. Fortunately for her I had some time available! I left work at 4:00 and went straight to Sue's house. OMG!!!!! Her husband has never weed eated, or edged her lawn. It probably had not been mowed in several weeks! It took a solid 3 hours! I ran home and cleaned up... There are several things going on tonight, and I needed to be done! The 24 Hour Challenge is really coming along! We got $450.00 in pledges today! AWESOME!


Much Love!


Mat

September 30th, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry




09/30/2009 12:17 pm (KTM)

Slept like a baby last night. We left Chhukung at 7:20am this morning, and got into Tengboche at 11:30. Pretty quick! Along the way we met up with a couple I met in Dingboche the other day. She is from Belgium and he is Nepali. On our way out of Chhukung this morning, I heard someone yelling “Mat!” We turned around and it was Harriet. She had climbed Chhukung Ri, and looked for us at Island Peak Base Camp. The only problem was we were two kilometers past normal base camp. We talked for a bit and then parted ways. (I have sooo much admiration for Harriett. She is a very strong woman, who does not take no for an answer, and will do some pretty crazy things to prove women are as capable of doing things as men. I don’t think I would ever have the guts to navigate Chhukung Ri by myself!) We made it to Tengboche so easily that we are going to push on to Namche today. That will get us one day closer to Lukla. Here at Tengboche I met a very nice guy named Neil. He is from Lake Tahoe. He will be trekking through the region for the next four months. I gave him my card and he will email when he gets back.

09/30/2009 7:00pm (KTM)

We arrived in Namche Bazaar at 4:30pm. The first thing I did was go to market and buy some underwear. Funny story… They are Asian sized and I assumed an extra large would fit. HOW WRONG WAS I? I probably should have bought a XXL or XXXL…. These things are tiny. I went back to my room and shaved…. It took three razors, and then I took a super long shower. I organized some things then came to the dinning hall. I am charging my phone right now. I sent some text messages earlier, to let everyone know I was off the mountain, and working my way back to civilization. I am so happy to be in Namche Bazaar, it is the metropolis of the Khumbu region. Prem had me speak to Naba earlier, he wants us to slow down and take our time getting back to Lukla. I wouldn’t mind getting back to Kathmandu a little early. My little toe on my right foot is very sore. I have not mentioned the avalanches. When we were on Kala Pattar the other day there was a large avalanche across the valley on Nuptse. While we were camping at Island Peak Base camp there were several avalanches on Lhotse, as we were in the moraine of Lhotse glacier a few sounded and felt like a giant lightening bolt that might strike close to the house. I think I understand what an earthquake feels like. Have I mentioned my cheeks and nose are toasted? Other than that, and my toe, I feel great. As for what drives people to do these things… I don’t know! Funny thing… As we were trekking down today, everyone going up had this distressed, out of breath, crazed look. I was smiling, greeting, and thinking my work is done here. Every sunrise is one day closer to me being back with my family. As I was sitting here in the dinning hall, a very nice lady introduced herself to me, her name is Nancy and she is from Queensland, New Zealand. She is trekking for the next seven weeks, just she and her porter. She had a guide but she fired him because he did not speak English, and was no benefit.

09/30/2009 8:25pm (KTM)

I have just been speaking with a guy in the dinning hall, his name is Enrico. He is from Italy and is a professional climbing guide in Europe. He has a French client here. His name is Mark, and they are climbing Ama Dablam, they have in-between the 8th and 17th to summit, before their permit runs out. Mark’s wife will be coming to Nepal as soon as Mark gets off the mountain. Enrico will be taking her up Ama Dablam. Enrico will be in Nepal for 3 ½ months taking several clients to several Himalayan peaks. He has a very unique way of looking at mountaineering. “You climb a mountain because it appeals to you, not because you need to bag a 5, 6, 7, or even an 8,000 meter peak. If you like the shape and beauty, if a mountain speaks to you then you should attempt it!” Enrico lives at the foot of Mt Blanc, in Italy. He will email me when he gets back to Italy. I just tried for 40 minutes to upload some pictures to Sherrie. The computer here is slow and would not upload.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010




Namaste,

I got to the Edmond property at 5:05 this morning. I could not find the key to the storage building where my equipment was.... I found the key in the lock in the door! Probably doesn't do much good to lock the door if you leave the key in the lock???? I literally had 10 minutes worth of work left when my weed eater literally exploded in my hands. I am so happy with the amount of work I got out of my Ryobi that on my way to lunch I went and got another one. Work continues to be pretty slow. I met Jeremy Morton at Earl's for lunch. Jeremy lent me his SB600 Flash for the wedding. I have a SB600 but wanted to take a back up. Jeremy is awesome. He is a great jui-jit-su player, and great Muay Thai fighter. He is so mild mannered you would never assume he is a bad boy! Back to work.... The afternoon was dragging on so I left at 4:00 and came home to get my bike. I rode Lake Hefner tonight. It took me 42:29.... I wanted to do it under 40:00, but I had to stop for traffic a couple of times. Trey and I went to Louie's at the lake and shared a pizza, then home. I had to do some work on my car. Sherrie ran over a basketball and busted the windshield washer fluid reservoir. Anyway.... Today is the one year anniversary of my climb in the Himalaya's. I miss it soooo much! Tonight I was invited to speak at the "Dance from Obesity Ball!" It is a black tie affair, and I am honored!

Much Love!

Mat

September 29th, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry


09/29/2009 4:37pm (KTM)

Where do I start…? I did not sleep worth a crap. We went to bed at 6:00pm and I woke up at 9:30pm. It took quite a while to go back to sleep. I woke up at 1:30 and started getting dressed for the climb. I put my Marmot climbing pants and my gloves in my sleeping bag last night to keep them warm. I packed my gear bag and sleeping bag before we headed out. Mr. Tenzing came to my tent at 2:00am and had some oatmeal, I was not hungry but I knew I needed to put something in my belly before we headed out. Mr. Tenzing suggested we wait a little bit due to the snow coming down so hard right now. At 2:35 we left base camp, and started up section #1. Yesterday I said the three sections 1) Climb out 2) Crampon point 3) Glacial wall… I was wrong….

1.) Climb out (Not too bad! Sandy, rocky trail at about 45 degrees!)
2.) Rock fall (Maybe one of the most ridiculous things I have ever done, in the dark!)
3.) Crampon point (Due to the 70*glacier we were now on!)


The climb out was not too bad… 45* angle, sandy, rocky trails. Pretty manageable due to the fact I had tons of adrenalin running through my blood stream. We reached stage two in about an hour. This was the beginning of the rock fall, which consisted of a rock gully covered in snow and ice at about a 45 to 50 degree angle. This was from about 17,000 feet to 19,000 feet, with the wind blowing at 45 miles per hour, and complete darkness at 3:30am. We made it to the crampon point in three and a half hours. There was one section that we stopped and roped together. I did not know why at the time, but I figured it out on the way down. After we reached the crampon point, we were in full gear… Crampons, gaiters, Ice Axe, etc… We left all unnecessary gear at the crampon point, and continued up in 3 feet of fresh powder, and zero visibility. At 20,100 feet Mr. Tenzing, told me he was concerned about the visibility, and the fresh powder covering the crevasse. He told me it was up to me whether we continue up the glacial wall or summit on the ridge. I told him he was the boss, and I would do whatever he felt was safest. We hiked over a little saddle and peaked out on the ridge. I took every word of advice this man gave me! Heck… He summited Everest twice, once with a man who had no arms. We stayed up in the zone for about an hour. We took hundreds of pictures, and just enjoyed the moment. On the way down Mr. Tenzing would not let me carry my camera. He thought it would be too much of a distraction. Let me tell you about the route down. I know why we left at 2:30 in the morning. If I had seen some of the stuff going up, that we were seeing coming down, I don’t know if I could have continued, not to mention the rocks were covered with fresh snow, and ice. After a couple of hours, we came out of the clouds, and had a beautiful view of Lhotse glacier, Ama Dablam. When we could finally see base camp, I could tell my tent was already down. Diel had come back and Temba was breaking down the kitchen. We were back to base camp by 11:00 and had some soup, and biscuits (Crackers). We decided to move on back to Chhukung… I was really glad we made it back to Chhukung, but my back, and thighs, were killing me. I spent a good hour repacking my bags, and putting things in my gear bag that I know I will not use again. I am charging my laptop so I can download some pictures; I bet there are 700 to download. Tonight we will stay here in Chhukung, tomorrow we will head for Tengboche, and then Namche, then on to Lukla. We are four days out from the airport, but I would like to do it in two! As of right now our flight is scheduled for the morning of the fourth, but if we get back early maybe we can catch an earlier flight. I can’t wait to get back to Kathmandu… Hot shower, Internet, telephone, electricity. I thought about a bunch of stuff today, mainly Sherrie and the kid’s. I also thought about some inspirational people, like Dr. Walton, and the awesome things he is doing at FBH. I would love the opportunity to speak more.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010




Namaste,

I did not want to get up! My face still hurts really bad, and the swelling has not gone down! I got up at 5:45 and got my junk together. I played with pictures for a while, then dropped Trey off at school. 1/2 way to work, Trey called and forgot to tell me he needed lunch money, so I turned around. On to Starbucks, then work. Work continues to be slow. I did some computer maintenance today, and snuck out to work on the mower. I took it for a spin and got the whole property mowed in about two hours. All I have left to do at the Edmond property is weed eat... Should be pretty easy! I can really tell that the cool weather has slowed the grass growth! YEA!!!!!!! I headed over to moms for a shower, before heading to the gym for a couple of hours... I taught some basic grappling, and then came home to assist Sherrie with a Medical Terminology test. Headed to bed!

All my love!
Mat

September 28th, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/28/2009 1:30pm (KTM)

We left Chhukung this morning at 8:00am. It took just over 3 hours to reach base camp. We passed normal base camp by 2 kilometers, to camp at the foot of the trailhead that leads us to Island Peak. I ask Mr. Tenzing about the route…. He said you can divide it into three parts.
1.) The climb out
2.) Crampon point
3.) Glacial wall

Deil carried my gear bag up and helped Temba establish base camp, before heading back down to Chhukung. Temba cooked a very good soup, with noodles and vegetables in it. As we were setting up base camp, the clouds started rolling up the valley, and now it is snowing like crazy. I am ready to get this climb done and start my way back home to my family. I miss my family more than anyone will ever know. I am in a very nice North Face tent. I have my sleeping bag inside Prem’s sleeping bag. We will leave here at 2:00am in the morning. I would love to summit and be back here by 10:00am, then maybe work our way back to Chhukung. Failure is not an option. My goals were EBC and Imja Tse… one down, one to go! I need your prayers.

09/28/2009 5:18pm (KTM)

It quit snowing a little while ago and I got out of my tent and went for a walk. I walked up the trail we take in the morning for about 100 meters. I hope Mr. Tenzing is a patient man. I took about an hour nap, which I wish I had not done. I need to sleep very well tonight. I picked up a few stones earlier. One for Sherrie, Trey, Jordan, and Mom. We are at 17,000 feet right now. 3,305 feet from the summit. Let’s go vertical!
09/28/2009 6:00pm (KTM)

My pen is cold! We just had some mushroom soup and macaroni. We are losing light so a few final thoughts!

Sherrie…. You are my soul mate, my wonder wall. Everything I am, everything I have, is because of you! You are a wonderful wife and mother. I love you like nothing else. I am sorry for the past, and look forward to the future.

Jordan…. I know we don’t always get along, but there has never, ever been one moment of my life where I did not love you with all of my heart. I love you more than there are drops of water in the ocean.

Trey…. You are my best friend and I thank God for you everyday. I can’t wait to see you grow into the strong, sweet man that you will be. I love you more than there are grains of sand on the beach.

Love you all!

MATHEW G. JONES JR.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday, September 27trh, 2010




Namaste,

MMMMOOOOONNNNNDDDDAAAAYYYYY!!!!! So I woke up this morning with a swollen tongue, cheek, and horrible mat burn on my chin. That all happened when Mike Giroux head butted me at the gym yesterday! I know it was an accident, but I am dying! I worked on pictures for a while this morning, before I cleaned the whole house. Work was fine.... Monday clean up! Not too bad! I had a spicy chicken sandwich at lunch and it made me sick. Sometimes I can eat spicy, and sometimes it makes me sick.... I came home for 30 minutes after work, and relaxed then headed up to the gym. Mike, Tyler, and Tim were in the cage so after I mopped the mats I jumped in on Tyler. Tyler has been gone for a couple of months due to the birth of his daughter, but we went hard for two rounds. I taught the beginning striking class tonight. I get just as good of a workout teaching than I do when just participating in class.Came home and checked emails... Had one from Misty saying she likes the pictures I had sent.... Makes me smile!

Much Love!

Mat

September, 27th, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/27/2009 1:21pm (KTM)

We arrived in Chhukung at noon! We stopped in the village of Benke down the valley for 30 minutes. The sun was very warming. Prem made us wait until 9:00am to leave this morning. I went to bed at 7:00pm last night and slept until 5:00am. I did not mention that yesterday on Kala Pattar, I said goodbye to Giles. He was heading to Pheriche today and then back to Lukla, before heading off to Pokhra, and then Tibet, and China. (I have had several emails since I have been home, and Giles was heading to Barbados too see his family). I also said goodbye to Coco in Thokla (Dughla) at lunch yesterday. She was heading down. (I ran into Coco in Thamel the day before I came home!) I also saw Harriet yesterday above Loubuche. She was heading over the pass and was gong to try and find us in Island Peak Base camp. If not at Base camp she will find Prem and Diel in Chhukung. We arrived in Chhukung and met my climbing guide, Mr. Tenzing Sherpa. Mr. Tenzing said we will trek to base camp tomorrow and the attempt an alpine style climb starting at 2:00am the day after tomorrow. Climbing through the night, and reaching the summit, then retreating all the way back down in one day. The weather is turning and it may be our only chance. Deil and Temba Sherpa will carry our gear to base camp, and then once camp is established, Deil will return to Chhukung. Tomorrow morning Deil will return to base camp, help breakdown camp and help carry our gear back to Chhukung. Today I wore Timberline hikers, black spandex pants, boxer briefs, and green cargos. I stored my cameras today. I am going to take fewer pictures today on the way up and try to conserve battery power, but will shoot like crazy on the way down as charging batteries gets cheaper as we work back to Lukla. I smell like crap, but will not get a shower until we get off the mountain. (Maybe)

09/27/2009 5:37pm (KTM)

A few thoughts. Today while trekking, which I might add, was probably the easiest because
1.) We are down over 1,000 meters.
2.) It was only 2 1/2hours from Dingboche. (That included a 30 minute break for tea in Birbe, where Prem knows the teahouse owner. A 60 year old man who has summited Everest two times eleven years ago.
3.) I kept my mind busy… Jeff Wilson the Canadian guy I met a couple of days ago told me, when he is struggling he thinks about dirty sex. I can’t even imagine sex right now, believe it or not! It is way to cold, and I smell like B.O.
Here is what I thought about
a.) My Family (Sherrie, Jordan, Trey, Mom, Curtis & Lisa, Boomer, Shadow, Febe, everyone in Tennessee!)
b.) Mike and his dad Mike Sr. and what they think about OU football this season. I even thought about the possibility of banishing Bob Stoops to Chhukung, Nepal if he dumps another BCS game.
c.) My Co-Workers! (Jodi, Cindy, & Gaymarie, as well as, all of their families) There are also a few people at the hospital that I miss too!
d.) All of my friends who helped get me here! (Ricardo & Jenni, Miriam and the boys, Mike & Marilyn Isbell, Clark & Robin, The Klinkas, The Brummitts, Kevin Butler, B.O.B., Chad & Shannon)
e.) My family at 805! (Ben & Kinsy (Well Kinsy anyway!) Mike & Jenni Giroux, Travis & Sara, Tyler, Brad, Adam, Danny, and everyone else I have trained with over the last 6 months.
f.) All of my sponsors… Dr. Walton and the staff at FBH, especially Sherri Stoner, Dr. Keller, Dr. Siler, Chad Duggan at Red Rock Landscape and design, Stephen and Heidi at Applebee’s, K Morton at Jon Ric Salon and Spa, John, Jordan, and Dustin at Summit Co., Richard at Wooderson Ventures, Midwest City Specialty Hospital.
g.) Trail mix, Louie’s Bar-b-Que chicken pizza, Zio’s, Charleston’s, Chelino’s, and Mazzio’s thin crust supreme pizza.
h.) Thunder Basketball, and Melissa Owumi!


I prayed a lot today. This is my plan for the next 54 hours. We leave Chhukung for Imja Tse base camp in the morning, about two hours ago thick clouds moved in and it started snowing. I hope like yesterday this front moves in and then back out overnight. We will spend the night at base camp (Me, Mr. Tenzing, and Temba) then get up at 2:00am, pass high camp in an Alpine style climb, Summit by 8:00am, and then retreat back to base camp. As I was sitting here in the dinning hall, a man came in exhausted! His name is Mark and he is from California. He left base camp this morning at 2:00am, summited and came all the way back to Chhukung in one long, long, day! I would love to do that. It would only leave us exposed on the side of the mountain for one night. It took Mark 13 ½ hours to make the summit and back. Prem just came in the dinning hall and told me I should leave one of my cameras here. I think he is drunk. If I leave the D200 here, I am taking the 80 -200mm, and the battery from the 200. Mr. Tenzing Sherpa inspected my climbing gear, and made me rent a jumar. He was concerned about my Asolo boots, not being waterproof. I have a super set of gaiters that will go on the outside of my boots! I re-packed everything into one gear bag to take to base camp. He also thinks my sleeping bag is too light, so I am taking Prem’s bag also. When I get back to Lukla… I am giving sooo much crap away, sleeping bag, T-shirts, socks, anything that does not have sentimental value. It is 7:45am at home right now…. I bet Boomer has had Sherrie up for a couple of hours now. I hope she takes the kid’s to church today. I know mom will have the whole church praying for me as well. When we got to Chhukung… I had some mushroom soup, and this afternoon, I had a coffee, and some popcorn. I am going to have spaghetti for dinner. My climbing guide is very quiet.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday, September 26th, 2010


Namaste,


Happy Birthday, Ophelia! Well... I slept until 7:00am, and then ran around crazy because Trey and I are suppose to be at church at 7:50. Church was great. We went and picked up the lawn trailer on the way home. I mowed our lawn and did some dirt work. I took the trailer back to storage, the cleaned the rover real good! It was filthy. I came home and watched football for a couple of hours, then headed up to the gym. I was suppose to fight Mike Giroux but we did circuit training, and then some grappling. Travis Chyzy came in and trained with us. We had an intense hour and a half. I feel like I dominated the grappling, tapping both of them out! I was really happy with my session. I came home and grilled some turkey burgers, and then have been working on pictures. Jordan's friend Josh gave me a copy of Photoshop CS 5. I guess I need to read up on all of the toys it has! Anyway.... Sleepy!


Much Love!


Mat

September 26th, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/26/2009 4:28pm (KTM)
Happy Birthday Febe! Today was quite a challenge. I woke up at 4:21am and went outside to check the sky. If the weather was still bad, there would be no reason to climb Kala Pattar, at 18,000 feet, because there would be no view of Everest, Nuptse, or Pumori. When I went outside the sky was brilliant, with billions, and billions of stars. I woke Prem up and we decided to head out at 5:00am. I know it was colder than -25 degrees because that was as low as the thermometer went. There was a foot of snow on the ground, and drifts up to three feet deep. The snow on the rocks was frozen solid so it made climbing a bit treacherous. The two hour climb ended up taking four. There are two different peaks on Kala Pattar (Like most places) at 18,192 feet. There are beautiful sweeping views of Mt. Everest, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, and about 1000 other Himalayan peaks.Once we were back at the lodge we took a few minutes to pack our stuff, and we let Deil head out. I might mention Prem carried a pot of hot coffee with us up Kala Pattar. This morning I wore brown cargo pants, spandex under pants, blue Nike spandex shirt, Kavu sweater, 805 Fleece jacket, black North Face pants, Agile wind jacket, heavy socks, Asolo boots, Hollister Beanie, new buff, and black sunglasses. Once we got back to Gorek Shep, I took off the fleece jacket, and cargo pants, changed shoes, and 30 minutes down the trail lost the jacket! Our itinerary says we are to hike to Loubuche today, making tomorrow a very long day, but we are going to push all the way to Dingboche today, and have a nice rest day tomorrow. This would mean waking up at 4:21 am; climbing 18,192 foot Kala Pattar, hiking back to Gorek Shep, Gorek Shep to Loubuche, and Loubuche to Dingboche. We stopped in Loubuche for tea, and stopped in Thokla (Dughla) for lunch. From Thokla we head up the shoulder above Pheriche. You would have thought we were in England. It was very pretty and there were yak trails everywhere - not a bad hike. Tomorrow we trek to Chhukung where Prem will turn me over to Mr. Tenzing my climbing guide. It will be pretty steep. I went looking for a cyber café in the village of Dingboche, but there were none.

09/26/2009 5:52pm (KTM)
The clouds up the valley just cleared a bit and Island Peak just popped out! Very impressive! “Big Boy!”

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday, September 25th, 2010


Namaste,

I woke up at 6:15 and laid around until 6:45. I jumped up and started loading the weed eater up, as well as, the bikes..... We went to moms and did the weed eating over there, then headed to Hafer park to ride. We rode about six miles and then ran three. I was done!!!!! We came home and I cleaned the storage building in the back yard. We are having a garage sale in a few weeks, and We have a ton of crap that we are going to get rid of! I moved it all into the garage, and then took a one hour nap! We got up and went to the market and picked up a few things... We were going to have a few people over for the game, but decided not to. We just wanted to relax and watch the game in our underwear if we want to! I think I am going to get up balls early and ride the lake! I have a fight tomorrow afternoon at 4:30.... My coach and I were sparring last Wednesday, and I closed up his eye... He says he owes me! We will see! Above picture is Mike Giroux's eye

Much Love!

Mat

September, 25th, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/25/2009 6:21am (KTM)

Went to bed at 9:00pm and fell asleep pretty quickly, but woke up at 4:00am and did not go back to sleep. Today we go from Loubuche to Gorek Shep, check in to the hotel guest house, and then trek to Everest Base Camp. This will be the culmination of my dream to reach Everest Base Camp. After a while at base camp, we head back down to Gorek Shep for the night. I am excited. I talked to Naba yesterday, he said the climbing guide, and Mr. Tenzing Sherpa left for Lukla yesterday, and will spend a couple of days in Namche before meeting us in Chhukung. I have a very slight headache, but took an Ultram. I am having some Starbucks Italian Roast, the instant packs, that they gave me Monday before I left. I keep thinking about the kid’s, and wonder if they miss me? I can’t wait until I get that big family hug. I might mention it was -10 degrees Celsius last night.
09/25/2009 7:10pm (KTM)
OK… Nepali for “Not so far”, or “Small hill”, means “several hours away” and Straight uphill!!” The trek from Loubuche to Gorek Shep was very interesting. First several miles were pretty level, still a pretty good grade; however, the next several were dramatic. It zig-zagged straight uphill. We arrived in Gorek Shep at 11:30am, and an Italian Group had not checked out yet, so our rooms were not ready. I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and then we headed for base camp! You start off through a dry lake bed, and then you begin ascending the Khumbu Glacier. The glacial field is a mountain of ice covered in loose rock and dirt. It took two and a half solid hours of uphill, leg burning climbing to reach base camp. We arrived at base camp and I had to get organized. I had my banners, t-shirts, OU jersey, Handkerchiefs, Ice Axe and crampons…. All of the stuff I wanted pictures of with at base camp, not to mention, Prem and Diel. As we were taking pictures it started snowing, I mean really coming down. I had to take pictures in my North Face coat, my 805 shirt and everything else. We actually walked about half way to camp one before deciding it was too dangerous and we turned back. At base camp Prem picked up seven small stones, and gave them to me. Seven is a lucky number in Nepal as well. We headed back down to Gorek Shep in zero visibility, and it took a good hour and a half. By the time we got back to the tea house, we were all three soaked to the bone! When we got back to the lodge there was a nice fire going in the dining hall. We had to hang everything out to dry. Slowly we began to warm up. Today was the culmination of twenty or more years dream, and six month of intense training to reach Mt. Everest Base Camp. Actual Base Camp is a flat rocky area on the Khumbu glacier, void of anything but a few chorten, some mani stones, and some knick-knacks left by others who have been there. There is one team at camp one, an Indian team who is going to attempt a summit at the end of October. I think it is suicide this time of year. Several people went and visited them today, but due to the weather closing in, we could not get there. I met several really cool people today. Coco is a 19 year old German girl who is teaching English in Kathmandu. They took her in the kitchen earlier to teach her how to make Momo’s, and the lesson did not go well. Anna and Larry are a really nice couple from Singapore. They are very interested in climbing Island Peak now. We have had about a good foot of snow this evening, and we are supposed to leave here for Kala Pattar in the morning at 5:00am. It will be very cold, sometimes I wonder. (As a foot note… At this point of the trip, I had reached base camp without too many problems. The altitude had not been an issue, my toe was much, much better, I had flown ½ way around the world and hiked for 10 days to get there. There was somewhat of a let down after that. I did want to climb Island peak, but it was nowhere as fulfilling as reaching Mt. Everest base Camp.)

Friday, September 24th, 2010




Namaste,

What a busy day!!!! I jumped up and worked on pictures for a while, and then dropped Trey off at school. On to Starbucks, then work. Our work load is considerably less right now, so I had the majority of my weekend prep done by 9:00am. I started thinking about how cool it would be if I got Midwest City knocked out, and then could just chill this weekend! Things fell into place and I was able to leave at 11:30. I got to Midwest City around noon, but had a flat tire that set me back about an hour! Nothing ever goes to plan. I edged, and then jumped on the Yazookie and zipped it around! We did a few extra things.... We have a pine beetle here in Oklahoma and it is killing every pine tree in the state. The property at Midwest City has 30 or 40 pine trees, and they are dropping pine needles by the pound! We probably cleaned up 50 pounds of pine needles! I dropped Brent off, and headed over to mom's. Her lawn was out of control!!!!! I edged, and mowed, but my weed eater was flooded. I told mom I would have to come back and weed eat later. I came home showered and we headed to Brook Wroblewski's birthday party. We went to Kang's for sushi, and then Dan McGinnis Irish Pub. We had a blast. I could tell I am an old man when I looked at my watch and realized it was Midnight! We came home and I don't even remember going to bed.... I was spent! Enjoy a couple of pictures!

Much Love!

Mat

September 24th, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/24/2009 5:47pm (KTM)

We arrived in Loubuche today at noon. The climb from Pheriche was quite a _________! We left at 7:50am this morning and the first ½ of the trek was gradual, but the second half was straight uphill. We stopped at the small village of Dughla for tea, and the climb started right there. As we topped out at the ridge above Dughla, there were 100’s of chorten. I told Prem I wanted to walk around and take some pictures. As I was walking towards one of the bigger chorten, I noticed it was Scott Fischer’s. I got kind of emotional, as I know the history, related to his and Rob Hall’s passing on Everest in the disaster of 1996. We never found Rob’s chorten, but I will ask at Gorek Shep. We came on in Loubuche and had lunch. Mushroom soup, then I took a shower. Let me tell you about that… Basically they heat up a bucket of water and put it in a room with a hole in the floor. You pour the hot (Luke warm) water over you, soap and rinse, and the drain did not work. It was a challenge to get my underwear on before getting them soaked, so I ran back to my room in my undies. Prem warned me I would get cold! Guess what? I got chilled to the bone, so I dressed and climbed into bed. I got up at 5:00 and came to the dining hall for coffee. Earlier at lunch I met a team from Israel. One guy and two girls, and one of the girls was feeling ill. No headache but her chest hurt, we found a thermometer, and took her temperature, it was normal but she was weak. They wanted to get to Gorek Shep, so they rented a pony here in Loubuche. I was sitting outside earlier and it was sleeting, so I came back in. We started the day socked in with clouds, in the middle of the day we had some clearing. I got a couple of great pictures of Ama Dablam. Prem loves to take pictures, so every few minutes he say’s “Let me have camera sir” He does not understand zoom or focus, but every once in a while they come out good. I wore the same thing today that I wore yesterday, except I started out with my North Face jacket on. We stopped a kilometer outside of Pheriche and I had to take it off. I also started with my Thunder Beanie on and my buff around my neck. I took the hat off, and pulled the buff up over my head. I also wore Spandex pants under my cargos. We met Giles about two Kilometers outside of Loubuche, we have been hanging around the dining hall. There is a very cool woman from New Zealand, who is teaching at Kumjung. She is in Nepal for four and a half months. She is trekking in the Khumbu for the next three weeks. School is out for potato harvest and festival.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September, 22nd, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

Here is the post from September 22nd.... I posted the 23rd yesterday!


09/22/2009 5:57 am (KTM)
So… I don’t know if I started the movie or not. I woke up at 3:00am and my iPod was on. I fell back asleep and woke up at 5:00am. I do know that it rained all night, but this morning the sky is clear. Last night at dinner, Anu Sherpa told me he was concerned that I was not eating enough. I explained my stomach surgery. I was also going to write down a funny poem that Prem told me.
American Life
Japanese Wife
Chinese Food
Korean Suite

Going to breakfast then we leave for Tengboche!

09/22/2009 10:43 am (KTM)
We left Namche at 7:30 this morning and Prem took it really slow. Fortunately for me there are so many things for me to take pictures of that I used that as an excuse to catch my breath. Honestly… I got a great nights rest, and Prem ordered me Tibetan Bread with honey for breakfast, I took two B12 tabs. My toe only hurts when we are going downhill, which I think we are done with. We are at a village called Phunkhi. I am having fried rice even though I am not even close to hungry. Prem wants me to eat! Cheeky caught up with us… She is very ill today. She ate beef momo’s and drank beer last night in Namche. BAD IDEA! All morning we have had great views of Ama Dablam, Kumjung, Gokyo Ri, and Taoche. We have not seen Everest today, as it is cloudy that way! Four rescue helicopters have come up the valley today.

09/22/2009 1:24pm (KTM)
We arrived in Tengboche at 1:00pm. Five hours trekking 19 kilometers, or 12 miles. First mile straight up, next two straight down, next nine straight up. Prem made me walk step for step with him. The lodge room is very, very small, no blanket, glad I brought my sleeping bag.



09/22/2009 7:02pm (KTM)
I spent the afternoon with Cheeky and Giles. Giles is from England and is trekking across Asia for the next year. Giles is 25 years old and is very nice. I had spaghetti for dinner, but it did not stay down, it was very acidic. We visited the Monastery at 3:00… The monks loved Cheeky. I am going to attempt to edit pictures in an effort to stay awake until 8:00pm. My head hurts a little bit, but just since throwing up.

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 Real Time


Namaste,

Soooooo.... I posted the 23rd Nepal Journal entry yesterday, so today I will post the 22nd today. I took it easy today. Didn't get up until 5:30! I was in pain! My back is giving me grief! I was participating in a Healthy Living Fair today, so I had to dress for success! I had a crazy dream about my friend Erin last night, and then we showed up at Starbucks at the same time. I didn't tell her about it because I didn't want her to think I am weird! Anyway! Work is slow, but I did succeed in getting the computer system fixed, and all of our backlog caught up! The health fair was going on next door, so I would go over for an hour then back to work. I came home just after three and laid down for a while. Sherrie and I had a Oklahoma Epilepsy Board of Directors Meeting at 6:00pm. We are just getting home, and I am glad to be home with nothing going on for a bit! Here are a couple of pictures!

Much Love!

Mat

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 Real Time




Namaste,

Holy crap it was a long day! I started at 5:00am at the Edmond property. I did all of the edging, and mowing with the big mower in 2 and a half hours. I even went to 7/11 and took a shower before 8:00am. We continued to have computer problems today. Our two pharmacy systems are not communicating with each other! I dealt with this from 8:00am until 5:00pm. Brent came over to help me around two, and at that point all we had left was push mowing, weed eating, and cleaning up! I was running back in every thirty minutes to see if the computer help desk needed anything from me. I took Brent home in Midwest City then came home. I have been on the go pretty hard for the last few weeks, and I am exhausted!

Much Love!
Mat

September 23rd, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/23/2009 6:51 am (KTM)
I did not sleep as well as I had hoped. Kept plenty warm, but concerned whether or not my headache was from throwing up or something else. I took an Ultram and went back to sleep until 5:30. I washed up and went outside…. Diel brought me a milk coffee, and at 6:00am Prem ordered me Tibetan bread with honey. He still does not understand that I can not drink after I eat. There were beautiful views of the mountains this morning before the clouds moved in and the monks were singing - it was just amazing!

09/23/2009 4:20pm (KTM)
We arrived in Pheriche at noon. We had a great trek, very slow and deliberate, clouds obscured everything. We saw hundreds of Yak’s. We stopped for 15 minutes to watch two big males fight, but they just kept looking at each other. The lodge here in Pheriche is very nice except the bathrooms, which are Nepali style. I emailed home earlier 20Rs. per minute. I had oat porridge for lunch, it was good. James, James, and Ceri were here having lunch. I met them yesterday at Phunkhi. They are three medical students from Bristol, UK. Awesome guys, who are attempting to do the Everest Base Camp trek, in 9 days. They are all interested in photography and had several questions in regards to ISO, aperture settings, etc. I told them about the pictures of the Golden Eagle I took yesterday, and we exchanged email addresses. They are heading to Loubuche today. It is another 500 meters or 1500 feet above Pheriche, but you have to go down to cross the river. We are in a river valley here, and it is very cold. I’m guessing 25 degrees, with a brutal wind. I got out my big lens earlier and went outside to take some pictures…. I found Prem and Cheeky, out on the steps. I went for a walk through the village, and met a gentleman from Canada. His name is Jeff Wilson, he is 58 years old. Jeff struggled a bit today. I told him about the letter Curtis wrote me, and he showed me in his journal where he had mentioned talking to his parents who he lost when he was 10, and 11. Prem and Diel came along and were heading to a small shop, so Jeff and I walked along with them. On the way back Jeff peeled off at his hotel, and I came back with Prem and Diel. We had some coffee and talked a bit, and then I came back to the room. We only saw one rescue helicopter today. Giles is in the village over the top of the mountain behind us, and Cheeky is down in the village below us, so it is kind of nice to be here in this lode by myself. I am the only trekker here. There was only one lodge open in Tengboche here last night. It was packed and the walls were very thin. Rest did not come easy. Today I wore my NAU hat, white long sleeve Mat’s Quest under armor shirt, black spandex shirt, day two of green pants, day three hiking socks. My toe is considerably better. We are at 15,340 feet, and climbing to 15,000 feet tomorrow. A little bit about the Sherpa people… These people work from before the sun comes up until the last trekker is well into bed. They build rock trails, harvest potatoes, make yak dung patties for fuel, carry nine cases of beer, 30 gallons of kerosene, or huge loads of building materials for days at a time. Whatever needs to be done, no questions asked… Yesterday, I saw two pretty little Sherpa girls along the trail, making yak dung patties, they were singing and laughing, smiling covered from head to toe in yak crap, but that was what needed to be done, so they were doing it with smiles on their faces. I wish I would have taken pictures, but I am still a little nervous about taking peoples pictures when they know that is what I am doing. My face and neck are wind burned, so when I was at the little shop with Prem and I bought a buff like they wear on Survivor. I will wear it tomorrow, because I know it will be very cold in the morning. I hope there will be a fire tonight in the dining hall. Our lodge is located on a hill just inside the village. Outside my window is the rest of the village, the clouds are so low they are sweeping the roof tops of the houses just outside my window.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 Real Time




Namaste,

Got up at 5:30 and yep!!!!! Edited pictures! Dropped Trey off at school, then stopped at Starbucks. On to work, where there continues to be a little slow down. Jason, Jodi, and I met Melissa Owumi at Louie's at the lake for lunch! Melissa is my Oklahoma City Thunder Season Ticket Representative. She has always taken very good care of us, and over the last two years, has become a very close friend. Melissa is moving to Boston to get her MBA at Harvard! She is a very bright girl, who will be missed! We have been upgrading our computers at the pharmacy and we had some issues with of network this afternoon. It dropped several units off the network so we worked on that all afternoon. I went to Jerry the lawn mower repair guys house and swapped mowers with him again. I got the Yazookie back again. It kicks serious booty! I headed up to the gym and we had Jui-Jit-Su, and then we had our first girls class! We had about 15 to 20 girls who showed up. They were awesome. They came in all shapes and sizes. They did very well. I came home to get everything ready for tomorrow. I am going to mow Edmond tomorrow, so it will be a very busy day!

Much Love!
Mat

September 21st, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/21/2009 6:36 am (KTM)

I went to bed at 8:30…. I was going to watch a movie on my iPod but fell asleep. Woke up at 1:30 and took ½ of an Ambien, slept until 5:00am. I messed around with pictures until 6:00am, then as the sun was rising…. Kongde appeared. 6186 meters of snow capped heaven. Just beautiful! It was not there yesterday due to the cloud cover. Because of the huge blister on my right foot, Prem does not want me to do much today. This village is awesome, and the people are sooooo nice. The Korean group is having breakfast right now, and then they are heading to Thamo. This morning I had to put my North Face coat on, I got my gloves out but I left them in the room. I need to go to the market and find some moleskin or something for my foot. I need to put something in between my toes. I don’t know what caused this blister, but it could be trouble.
09/21/2009 12:24pm (KTM)
This morning after breakfast Prem ask me if I could walk a bit. I said sure, so we hiked about a third of the way to Tengboche, where we are heading tomorrow. At one point we could see Ama Dablam, and Mt Everest. It was beautiful. I really enjoyed it. We talked about everything.
We circled around the top of Namche and over to the monastery, then down into the market. I found a pharmacy, and the girl working in there was about nine years old. I bought some gauze and tape. Then we stopped in a lodge where Prem used to stay. His brother was inside with a client. A nice young lady from Osaka, Japan named “Cheeky.” She speaks very good English, and we will probably trek with them for the next couple of days. I am at the dining hall for lunch, this morning I had what they call a pancake. It is nothing more than a flat piece of dough with butter and sugar. For lunch I ordered fried rice but ended up with curry? It had way too much cabbage in it!
09/21/2009 3:48pm (KTM)

After lunch Prem told me I was free to do anything until 6:00pm, so I went to the market and found a pair of North Face trekking pants for 1400 Rs. I tried them on and they fit great, they have zip off legs! The lodge owners name is Anu Sherpa. He is friends with Ed Viesters, and the late Rob Hall, and Scott Fischer, as well as his best friend Anatol Boukreev. Scott and Rob died in the Everest disaster of 1996 and Anatoli died on Anapurna in 1997. Anu was part of the rescue party in Anatoli’s accident. Anu told me he was 100% sure that Anatoli was caught in an avalanche. Anatoli wrote Anu a letter and it is hanging here in the dinning hall….

“In 1980 I found myself in the high mountains for the first time. I knew right away I belonged in those mountains, that I was destined to be a mountaineer. One encounters special challenges at high altitude. I discovered a new kind of mountaineering. It is not only about the complexity of the route, it was about the human struggle with altitude. I wanted to achieve something essential in life, something that is not measured by money or position in society. I wanted to respect myself as a man, and I wanted the respect of my friends and family. My fate was to be an athlete; I was born with certain physical and mental abilities… I have tried to use those gifts to realize myself as a human being. The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambitions to achieve; they are my cathedrals, my houses of religion. There presence is grand and pure. I go to them as all humans go to worship. In their presence I attempt to understand my life, to purify myself, of earthly vanity, greed, and fear. On their altar I strive to perfect myself physically and spiritually, from their vantage point, I view my past dream of the future, and with unusual acuteness, I experience the present. My ascensions renew my strength, and clear my vision. They are the way I practice my religion. In the mountains I celebrate creation; on each journey I am reborn!”

Anatoli Boukreev 1997
09/21/2009 8:27pm (KTM)

At 6:30pm Prem came to my room to find me. I had fallen asleep. We went to the dining hall and I ordered fried potato momo’s. They were okay, but not my favorite so far. I am packed for tomorrow. I lightened my pack substantially. Only cameras, laptop, and bible, just bare bones. I am going to drink plenty of water in the morning. Outfit for tomorrow… Green pants, Thunder shirt, 805 Fleece, boxer briefs, heavy hiking socks, black Nike hat. Just took an Ambien and getting ready to watch Seven years in Tibet.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday, September 20th, 2010 Real Time




Namaste,



Well I guess I had to go back to work! It is soooo hard to go back after being off for five days! I got up at 5:30 and guess what I did??? Edited pictures! Work has slowed down a bit, but I had plenty to do! I met Jennifer Walters at lunch to discuss the Applebee's pancake breakfast. We both decided that if the other board members are not willing to help sell tickets.... We might as well cancel it! Back to work, where I continued to clean up from the weekend. I left work at 4:15 and took the borrowed mower to the car wash to clean it up. I came home and Trey helped me mow our yard before I ran to the gym. I was just going to work in the office tonight but no one showed up to teach, so I ran two classes! They were rather small, but it was all new guys, and they can't just train on their own! I came home and Sherrie made me some of the leftover pork from last night, and..... Yep!!!! I started editing pictures! I am exhausted! More pictures from the wedding!



Much Love!



Mat

September 20th, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/20/2009 5:57 am (KTM)
Been up for about an hour… Just went outside to brush my teeth. Just ahead the clouds have lifted. I got my first views of Tamserku at 6618 meters.


09/20/2009 7:24 am (KTM)
I was going to keep track of my outfits.
Day 1) Timberline hikers, black socks (day 2), khaki pants, black short sleeve spandex shirt, Journey T-shirt, NAU hat. Day 2) same as above except white long sleeve summit shirt, day three of black socks, and Edmond Santa Fe hat. I have a huge blister on the 2nd toe of my right foot. I put a band-aid on it!




09/20/2009 7:13pm (KTM)

Today was quite a challenge. We went straight uphill for 5 hours. I had milk porridge for breakfast, which is oatmeal cooked in milk. It was very good! We left Benkar at 7:30am and had to stop at several Gurka checkpoints. We also had to stop at the Sargamatha National Park Headquarters, to get our trekking permits. We crossed several suspension bridges, some very, very high. I struggled towards the end. I did not hydrate well today, and it was very hot in the valley! Once we arrived in Namche Bazaar, I took a hot shower, and doctored my foot. I showed Prem my blister and he is very concerned. It is nasty. I went to the dinning hall and had mushroom soup, and fried potatoes for lunch. I went back to my room and laid down for an hour and a half, then downloaded pictures… There is some good stuff on there but nothing spectacular. I came back to the dinning hall and Prem and Deil were having tea. They wanted to see my pictures so I showed them stuff from home. I asked about having laundry done, and Prem told me to have Deil do it. He told me it would be an opportunity for him to earn some extra money, while we are here in Namche. I paid him 300Rs. I went down into the market and looked at some of the shops. I bought a necklace for Jordan. Prem told me I needed to be back by six, because the path back to the hotel was under construction, and it is very dangerous at night. I had milk coffee and spaghetti for dinner…. Carb loading! Tomorrow is a rest day here in Namche to acclimate. Day 3 outfit… Asolo boots, white long socks, green express pants, boxer briefs, house of pain thermal, 805 fleece jacket. I am going to take ½ an Ambien tonight and see if I can get some rest. We are staying at the Himalayan Lodge. We are at 10,900 feet. The dining hall is very nice, they have everything here. There is a Korean team here. Six men in their late 50’s, they brought their own cook, food, guide, assistant guide, and 8 porters. They left Phadking at 7:30 this morning, and did not get to Namche until 5:00 this afternoon. Nice and easy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September, 19th 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/19/2009 5:19am (KTM) 6:34pm (OKC)
Just got off the phone with Sherrie, and I got a little emotional. She and the kid’s were at Mom’s for dinner. It was a very short conversation, but I needed to hear her voice before I left Kathmandu. After dinner last night I edited pictures and packed, and repacked my stuff. I turned the TV off at 10:00pm local time…. ESPN only covers cricket and soccer here, but I did find the Oregon/Purdue game. I don’t know when it was played but it was on. I am ready to start my trek…. I have been up since 4:00am this morning. I took a shower, because I could not sleep.
09/19/2009 8:36am (KTM) 9:52 (OKC)

Just landed in Lukla… We met our porter. His name is Diel, he seems very nice. Prem has used him before, and thinks a lot of him. We boarded the twin otter first and sat in seats 1 & 2. We had the mountains just outside of our windows. We could also look through the cockpit at the mountains in front of us.


09/19/2009 11:17 (KTM) 12:32am (OKC)
We have been trekking for about 3 hours now and the temperature is about 65 degree’s. We stopped at a patio restaurant called “Everest Summiters.” There is a great view of the river below.

We will be following the river for the next several days. Most of the trek today has been downhill, as we crossed two suspension bridges. There are heavy clouds at about 12,000 feet. We started in Lukla at 9,800 feet and have descended to 8,221 feet. I found out why the restaurant was called “Everest Summiters!” The Sherpa that owns it, took my order, brought me my lunch, and gave me extra onion’s, has summited Everest “SEVEN” times. Every attempt…. He was really nice and on the way back down I will get his name. After lunch we continued through the Khumbu valley, we are following the “Milk River!” It is called that because the water is white. I have taken several pictures and we were going to stop in Phadking, but we pushed through to the small village of Benkar. Benkar is about 6 kilometers past Phadking, but it is very quiet, and beautiful. There are huge waterfalls coming off of the mountain. Our lodge is called Waterfall View guest house.


Prem knows the lodge owners here and they are very nice. I had my first run in with a Nepali toilet. Gross! I was in the dinning hall and a young lady from Sweden came in and we talked for a bit. She told me, she and her boyfriend just came from Island Peak…. They were unsuccessful, due to a crevasse in the headwall. Prem called Naba and when we get to Namche tomorrow, I am supposed to call him to discuss options. If he has not obtained our climbing permit yet we may have to look at climbing a different peak. I had eggs and toast for dinner, with some pineapple. It was good. Trying to keep my protein intake up!

Sunday, September 19th, 2010 Home!!!




Namaste,

Well we slept in this morning. I did not get up until 7:00am. I got cleaned up and started editing pictures. We went to the store at 9:00 and it took us a full two hours to get our stuff at the market! We came home unloaded, and made some lunch. I edited more picture, and then some more pictures, oh Yeah.... more pictures. I laid down for an hour then edited more pictures, and more pictures. I have been watching football while.... Yep editing more pictures. Mom came over for dinner.... Sherrie made a pork loin, and potatoes, and here I am blogging and yep!!!!! Editing pictures. I have been posting my Nepal journal day by day of what I was doing one year ago! Mom made mean anniversary cake! It is going to be a crazy week! Sooo much to catch up on! More wedding pictures!
Much Love!
Mat


September, 18th, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/18/2009 7:05 (KTM) 8:20pm (OKC)
I am sitting in the restaurant of my hotel working on my sixth cup of coffee. Let me go back several hours… The flight from Delhi was very nice… I was in 1st Class, I don’t know why but who is complaining. I was on the left side of the plane so I could see the Himalayan range. It was very, very cloudy, so the views were not that great. I saw Sargamatha (Mt. Everest). Let me tell you about the Kathmandu Airport. WOW… It was probably built in the 30’s and the grass is 3 feet tall. I guess due to the monsoon season. They loaded us on a bus and drove us 100 feet to the terminal. We got off the bus, and had our temperature taken. After that you have to fill out immigration paperwork. The line to get a visa was 100 people deep. The line if you have a visa was two people deep, and I was number two. Some guy walked up to the immigration officer and said something. The immigration officer did not like it and they exchanged words. After I got through immigration, I went down stairs to baggage. I did not even have to wait 10 minutes and got my bags. I went to get in line for customs and they had no interest in me. They waved me right through. As I was leaving the terminal I saw a crowd of people standing behind a glass wall. Right in the middle there was a big sign that said “MR. MAT JONES.” I smiled at the guy and he made his way through the crowd, then to me.

His name is Prem and he will be my guide for the trek. He will not climb Island Peak with me but everything else. My climbing guide’s name is Mr. Tenzing Sherpa. He has summitted Everest two times, Ama Dablam, two times, Cho-oyu two times, and Island Peak 50 times. Prem took my bags and we were surrounded by beggars. We got into the car. It is hard to describe the traffic. It is a mixture of beat up mini cars, and scooters. Cows have the right of way, they drive on the left side of the road and there are no traffic laws, you just go whenever you want.

Prem ask me what I wanted to do, walk around Thamel or go to the hotel and rest… I chose rest. After 48 hours on the road, I was ready for a shower, and a nap in a bed. I am at the Hotel Shanker, and it is very nice. It is located inside a compound, and the hotel is very western. Check in was very easy… They were expecting me and they treated me like a king. Prem called Naba and we made arrangements to meet at his office at 5:00. Prem helped me to my room and I showered and crashed for about three hours. I got dressed and walked around the grounds here at the hotel, they are beautiful.



Prem came and got me at 5:00 and we walked over to HGT (Himalayan Glacier Trekking). It was about 5 blocks. It was just crazy, with the traffic, but we made it. Naba greeted me with a handshake, a bow, and a hug. Naba was dealing with a disaster…. A group from Europe was leaving for a three week trek to Tibet tomorrow and the luggage has not arrived yet. He had Prem take me for a walk around Thamel while he was dealing with that.



Prem and I were gone for about 45 minutes, and when we got back, Naba was still very busy, but wrapping up. The electricity went out and Naba said that it happened everyday, and that you never know when, or for how long, it will be out. He gathered his things and we walked to a traditional Nepali restaurant.


A friend of his joined us for dinner. As you enter the restaurant they put a red dot on your forehead to welcome you, and then sit you on the floor. They pour a small ceramic dishful of rice wine…. They pour it from 3 feet in the air, and it tasted like ever clear. Very Strong! They bring out popcorn, and a small dish of fried potatoes, and then a cup of bean soup. Once you are done with that they bring you a hub cap sized plate. It is filled with rice, curried vegetables, curried chicken, spinach, and then wild boar. I tried it all…
Naba ordered me a milk coffee and I know I am not suppose to drink after eating but, I did, and then I had to excuse myself. We caught a cab back to the hotel…. Naba has a guide for me today his name is Suroge. He is going to take me to the four big temples here in Kathmandu. He will be here at 9:00 to pick me up. When I got back to the room last night I used my 30 minutes of internet time writing emails. I have no idea if they were sent or not because the electricity went out. I turned in and went to sleep. I woke up at 4:00am local time and knew I was awake so I packed my trekking bags, and took some things out. I have room for a little more if needed. At 6:30 I came down to the restaurant for breakfast. After 6 cups of coffee, I had a danish, banana, some pineapple, oatmeal, mushroom pie, and 2 scrambled eggs. I should mention that I showered and shaved this morning - it was great.


09/18/2009 7:01pm (KTM) 8:17pm (OKC)
After breakfast this morning I went out and walked around the garden area. It was a bit humid but otherwise nice. Suroge met me at 9:00am and we left for our first stop - Swyambhunath Stupa, also called Monkey Temple. The first thing we did was stop at the bottom of the hill, to see the worlds largest Buddha.

There were monks there chanting and people praying. We got back in the car and drove to the top of the hill, to the stupa, and monastery. There were monkeys all over the place, hence the name Monkey Temple. Suroge gave me the tour and explained everything, and then he gave me 15 or 20 minutes to walk around and take pictures on my own. It is a very peaceful place.


From there we went to Durbar Square, which use to be the Royal Palace. There was a ton to see here. It is a very historical Hindu site, where the living goddess “The Kumari” lives. There are many temples, and Sadhu or holy men, and there are also way too many beggars. I really love the history here however; many places were off limit to foreigners. The Kumari is very interesting. She is worshiped as a goddess until she reaches puberty, and then she becomes just another woman.

Our third stop was both amazing, and troubling at the same time. It is called Pashupati which is a temple; we could not go into next to the river. It is also the place where Hindu’s take the dead to perform cremations. It just so happens that there were three cremations going on while we were there. Two were finishing up, while one was just starting. As soon as someone dies they are brought to this place by the river and a wooden platform is built. The dead is placed on the platform and the family puts water in the deceased’s mouth, then the family puts coins all over the body. The oldest son walks around the body three times then puts a torch on the body. At that point the funeral director takes over and piles dried thatching on the body, then more wood on top. He then moves the flame under the body, where there is a flammable liquid, then “Poof goes grandpa!” The family just sits and watches the body burn, then when the fire is burning out…. They sweep the ashes off into the river.

That’s all well and good, but there are people bathing, and doing laundry just down stream, even kid’s playing in the water. This river runs through town and you know people are using this water for cooking, and bathing in their homes. People also walk up to the river and throw their trash in it. Above the cremation site there are twenty small temples lined up. These are fertility temples. They have an altar in the middle of them and it has a statue if male and female parts…. I guess you are supposed to rub them, but I chose not to! As we were leaving the area we saw some people gathered around one of the temples. It was a wedding in progress. There was the bride and groom, a holy man, and maybe 10 family members outside. They told me to take pictures if I wanted to, but due to the lighting, only one came out. When we left there I was in a mental tussle…. You see the beginning of life, and the end of life all in one place.

We left there and headed to Boudanath. It is also called Little Tibet, because during the Chinese occupation of Tibet, many Buddhist monks fled to Nepal. They all settled here at Boudanath. There is a giant stupa in the middle of the community, and everything is built in a circle around it. There are several monasteries and shops, as well as, Tibetan art galleries, and you can even go into the galleries and watch the artist paint. It was just beautiful. We decided to have lunch at a restaurant on top of some shops. There was an awesome view of Boudanath, probably a view not everyone takes advantage of. Suroge gave me 20 minutes of free time to walk around and take pictures. This by far was my favorite place. Very peaceful, quite, and the people were just amazing.


We headed back to HGT and met with Naba, and Prem. They gave me instructions, and told me what to expect the next morning. Then back to the hotel, to pack the rest of my stuff, and recharge everything. I am downloading pictures right now and will start editing them after a shower. I fell asleep for about an hour and a half, then came down to dinner. I also checked my bags in for storage that I am not taking. I am heading back to the room to finish getting ready for tomorrow.

Saturday, September 19th, 2010 Las Vegas




Namaste,

Well we had made plans to meet Mike in the lobby of our hotel at 8:00am for breakfast. Most of the wedding party were already on their way to the airport, but our flight was not until 3:00pm. We took Mike to breakfast and then he took us on a tour of Freemont Street. Sherrie had not been to that part of town. We picked Bobby up at 10:00am, and we all went to Mandalay Bay to watch football. Sherrie and I walked through the art gallery's, and shops, while Bobby ate some lunch, and Mike started watching the early games.Sherrie and I walked over to the Luxor, and through the mall between the casino's.... We made a few bets on football, and then Mike drove us to the airport. We got checked in, and through security without any problems. We found a California Pizza Kitchen in the airport and shared a small pizza and a salad! We boarded the plane and I edited pictures for a while. My eye's got heavy and I fell asleep for an hour then we landed in Denver. We were only there for an hour then boarded the plane to OKC! Just an hour and twenty minute flight, but we lost two hours, so it was 9:30 when we got home. It took about 30 minutes to get our bags, and 30 minutes for the shuttle to take us to the car. We got home about 11:00pm and Trey was asleep in our bed. He was so sweaty that we had to change the sheets in our bed! A couple more pictures from the wedding!
Much Love,
Mat

September, 17th 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/17/2009 12:13am (Del) 1:45pm (OKC)
Just a few random thoughts… Since I will be in this chair for another 5 hours, so far most everyone has been very pleasant. The men are very stand-offish…. The women, especially the younger ones, are beautiful. Not too much make-up, very professional looking. You can tell the western influence has a stranglehold here. There is no real chance for a nap, as the transit area is a pass through area. It is very busy, and I am starving, but don’t know what to eat. I bought two cups of coffee… $1.00 US each and a small bag of cashews for $2.50 or 120Rs. I gave the guy 150Rs and he gave me 10Rs change. I also paid for my second cup of coffee with a $10.00 and only got 360Rs change…..something’s fishy. Did I mention the Indian Army is carrying AK-47’s around? I feel safe!!
09/17/2009 7:37am (Del) 9:09pm (OKC)
After one of the longest days (Nights) of my life… I have just boarded the Indian Air flight from Delhi to Kathmandu. I am in 1st Class and on the side of the plane that the mountains will be on. I will actually get to see Everest here in a while. Hope I don’t cry. I need a nap, but I am really amped up. I met a bunch of guys here at the Delhi airport that are from Kathmandu, but live in Chicago. It’s going to be a great day! I tried to call home several times from Delhi airport, and finally got a hold of Jordan. I let her know I was leaving India and headed for Nepal…. She told me she loved me!

Friday, September 17th, 2010 Las Vegas











Namaste,

I woke up at 5:30 and I went to Starbucks at 6:00. We headed down to the breakfast buffet at 7:00, and met Amber and Danny. We ate breakfast, and just hung out. Sherrie and I went to the casino floor and made $20 last for a couple of hours. Actually turned it into $40, but we were tired so we went upstairs and laid down for a couple of hours. We grabbed a snack at 1:30 and then I met Misty, Amber, and Amber in the honeymoon suite for hair and make-up. That took a couple of hours. I was suppose to take pictures of the guys getting ready at 3:30, get dressed and be in the limo by 4:00. Luckily the guys were not even close to getting dressed, so I got dressed and we headed to the wedding venue. We did all of the traditional poses, and then set up for the wedding. Everything went off without a hitch except the sun was setting directly behind the bride and groom. I have no idea why they set it up that way, but I did the best I could. The ceremony was nice, and the reception was great. We rode in the limo back to the Las Vegas sign, and took a few pictures then back to the hotel. Sherrie and I changed clothes and went down to the floor for a while. We didn't win anything, but didn't lose anything either. We went to bed. Mike and Bobby flew into town Friday morning, and they were gonna play around and go to bed early, because Mike had worked all night.
Picture 1) Sherrie and I at the wedding
Picture 2) The Kiss
Picture 3) Misty before the wedding
Picture 4) Misty after hair and make-up in the room

Much Love!

Mat

Thursday, September 16th, 2010 Las Vegas











Namaste,
I woke up at 3:30 which would have been 5:30 here! I tossed and turned, so I got up and just looked out our window at the Strip. I wanted to go walk around the casino floor, but just relaxed and waited on Sherrie to wake up. I went downstairs to Starbucks while she was getting ready, and then we took a cab to Hash House a Go Go! This restaurant has been featured on Man Vs. Food, and the food network. Trey made us promise that we would go there one day! It was crazy how big the portions were. The food was artistic, beautiful, huge, and delicious!!!! We both ordered the "Basic Breakfast" which was the smallest meal on the menu, and our whole family could have shared it! We caught a bus back to the strip, and walked through the Sahara and Circus Circus. Misty called and wanted us to go to the Wedding venue with them. We loaded up in a mini van, and trusted the GPS, who lead us astray. We were suppose to meet the whole wedding party at the Mirage Buffet, it was called Cravings. I dare you to name a food they did not have. I had sushi, shrimp, hand tossed salad..... I can't even remember what all I ate. After lunch I wanted to show Sherrie how the rich people hang in Vegas. We went to the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace, and then through the casino, into the Bellagio, and then down to fountain show at Bellagio. We walked all the way back down to Fashion Place Mall. We waited on the shuttle that never came so we took a cab back to our hotel. We were hot and sweaty so we went to the pool for and hour. Danny came down and ask me if I wanted to go to the casino floor with him but Sherrie told Danny I had to take an hour nap. I started pouting and she gave in so I dressed and went to the floor with Danny! We played roulette and black jack, then headed up to the room. Sherrie and I walked down the street to In and Out Burger, and ate some yummy food. We realized the shuttle was getting ready to leave for the strip so we ran back to catch it! We walked down to Treasure Island to watch the pirate show, which happens on the outside of the Casino in a man made lagoon, then walked through Fashion Place Mall. We crossed the street and walked through the Wynn and Encore. The Wynn has a Ferrari dealership inside! It is about as fancy as it comes. We watched a guy playing black jack... $2,000 minimum bet and he was playing 3 positions at a time, and we never saw him win!!! I started to get tired so we caught the shuttle back. We changed clothes and walked down to the casino floor, where Sherrie kicked serious booty at roulette. We had a blast! We hit two numbers heads up two times in a row, which paid 70 to 1! I was jumping up and down like we won the lottery! We decided not to push our luck and went to the room. I knew Friday was going to be a busy day!
Picture 1) The Pirate show at Treasure Island
Picture 2) Sherrie and I in front of The fountains at Bellagio
Picture 3) The "Basic" breakfast st Hash House a Go Go
Picture 4) The morning view of the Strip out our window
Love you all!

Mat

September 16th, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/16/2009 6:09am (OKC) 4:41pm (Del)
Been napping a bit… We had horrible turbulence over the North Atlantic. I opened the window a couple of times and you would have thought we were on a bird. The wings were flapping in the turbulence. The sun appeared as we were approaching Iceland, we came back over land in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and entered Russia. We flew right over Moscow, but due to cloud cover I saw nothing. We are 1801 miles outside of Delhi, and it is -72F outside, we are at 36,498 feet, and 582mph. We are approaching the Arial Sea. We have just entered Kazakhstan, then Uzbekistan, and, Pakistan. I thought last night we were going to fly through China, but we are way east of that. My butt hurts!
09/16/2009 9:21 (Del) 11:53 (OKC)
Landed in Delhi kind of early… From the air it kind of looks like the DFW area… sprawling. All in all, the flight was not bad. I had a TV screen in the headrest in front of me and more movies to choose from than “Family Video.” I sat in the second to the last row, and there was only one empty seat on the plane and it was in between me and the guy on my isle. He is a 27 year old guy from Atlanta who is moving to Kathmandu to become a Buddhist Monk. Since he was from ATL we had plenty to talk about. Here at Gandhi Airport if you have a connecting international flight you are kept in a transit area until two hours before your flight. It is a very small area with a few reclining chairs, and a small snack bar. I am sitting with a gentleman from Paris, Texas who is coming to India to teach, but first is going to Kathmandu, to visit his daughter who is there teaching. I think I am going to get a snack and the take a little nap. People walking by look at us like we are animals in a cage, Kind of Crazy!!!! Did I mention my butt hurts?!

September 15th, 2009 Nepal Journal Entry

09/15/2009 10:01pm
Today was awesome. We arrived in Newark at 11:00am local time. We came in to terminal C and I need to get to terminal A to check my big pack for the day. I caught a bus to terminal A and found the luggage storage, then headed outside to catch a cab to Liberty Park. OK… I almost passed out when the cabbie told me it would be $55.00 for the seven mile cab ride. Once at the ferry terminal you have to go through security again, just like the airport, soooo…. I had to get undressed and dressed for the 3rd time today. After passing security you go stand in line for the ferry. I boarded the ferry and went to the top level. The first stop was Ellis Island. There is more history there than you can ingest in an hour and forty minutes. I got back on the ferry and headed to Liberty Island. There is an overwhelming since of pride when you see her. She is much smaller than I had imagined, but still impressive. I walked all the way around the island, took 180 pictures and then headed back to the ferry and it took me back to the terminal.

I got the number for a car service and they picked me up in a Limo, took me back to the airport and only charged me $30.00. So I am back at Liberty International and had to go to baggage to pick up my big pack. Then back through security again (4th time today I had to get dressed). They sent me to a smaller security check point and it went really quickly, as I had already taken everything off and stored it in my pack. Once through security I went to find something to eat. There was a pub, and I ordered Chicken Fingers and an ice tea. The tea was great, but the chicken lacked a little to be desired. As I was wondering around the terminal, I saw a bank of chairs, with an electrical outlet behind them. This was a great opportunity to recharge all of my electronics before the 14 hour and 40 minute flight. I recharged my laptop, phone, camera batteries, and even myself. I fell asleep for a few minutes. About 30 minutes before my flight I found a little shop, bought a latte, and cinnamon stick, and started walking to my gate. Once at the gate we started boarding, and it was a mad house. The attendants started by boarding the back of the plane first, and I was in the second to the last seat. The flight has 252 passengers and only one empty seat which just so happened to be right in between myself and the young man on my isle. After a delay of 30 minutes on the taxiway, due to 25 aircraft lined up in front of us, we were airborn. Not long after we were in the air they served us dinner - chicken and pasta. Then they came by and brought each person a bag of food that included a bean sandwich, granola bar, Kit-Kat, bottle of water, and a cookie. This was your midnight snack. The flight path we were on was nothing like what the airline emailed me. We went North East through Maine, and New Foundland. We are now 6238 miles from Delhi, and at an altitude of 33,000 feet, with an outside air temperature of -50F. We are traveling at 595mph. I have just finished watching Star Trek, and Fight Club is just beginning. You can choose from 100’s of movies, and TV shows. Our new flight path takes us over the tip of Greenland, through Iceland, the heart of Russia, China, Tibet, and into India. The plane is very comfortable, but my butt already hurts.

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 Las Vegas




Namaste,

Well the last entry was as we were waiting at the airport getting ready to board our flight to Vegas. Our flight was fine into Denver. Sherrie hates flying, so she had a death grip on my arm, but that is fine. We had a two hour lay over in Denver... We had some lunch and ice cream. On our flight from Denver to Las Vegas, we flew right over Moab. I saw Arches, Canyonlands, the Confluence, the maze, Mt. Peal, and downtown Moab. I was so excited to see my favorite places in the world. It was crazy.... We landed in Las Vegas at 5:30, and had to wait for about an hour on the shuttle. As we were waiting at the OKC airport, we met a couple that were going to the wedding. Their names were Danny, Amber, and their two year old son Alex. They are from Ada, and just an awesome couple! Alex fell in love with Sherrie, and why wouldn't he? We made it to the Hotel at 7:00pm, which was what time we were suppose to be in the hotel restaurant to take pictures of the Bachelor, and Bachlorette parties. They were in separate restaurants, and I ran back and forth, but got sone group pictures. They left for their respective parties, and we were going to meet the girls at Gilly's after they went to an all male revue, but they changed their plans and went to a club called the Cat House. Misty called and said they had 10 girls with cameras and their was no reason for us to come all the way down to the other end of the strip. Sherrie and I took the opportunity to turn in early in preparation for a busy couple of days ahead of us! I will continue to post excerpts from the journal, but this blogger will not let me copy and paste, so I will have to find a way to post it. I will just may take a bit!

Much Love!

Mat

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15th, 2010




Waiting at the airport!!!! Excerpt #1 from Mat's Quest Journal




09/15/2009 8:45am




We have been in the air for an hour and a half. A few notes... 1.) I am freezing. My windows have ice crystals on it! 2.) There has been cloud cover for the entire trip so far. There was a break in the clouds, and I saw a city... No clue which one. I'm pretty tired. Did not sleep well last night, just a little anxious. Ha d a guy on the plane say "Hey!!! your that guy going to climb, that mountain!" I said "Yes, I am on my way!" After I kissed Sherrie, Jordan, Trey, and Curtis at the airport, I could not look back to see if they were still there. I was sooo nervous that I fumbled around with my stuff at security for an eternity. Hey Look! Another city 35,000 feet below!




So this was one year ago today... Right now! And here I am again sitting in an airport waiting to go on another journey. This time is a little different. Sherrie and I are going to Las Vegas to shoot a wedding. It will be a lot of work, but you can bet we will have a lot of fun too! Will try to keep up over the next few days, but who knows what will happen once we get to Vegas!




Love you all!




Mat

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010




Namaste,




Today is the one year anniversary of my trip to Nepal. A trip that hopefully will continue to inspire people to change for the better. I am going to post entries from my journal for the next month. Stay tuned! We are leaving for the airport right now! Soooooo check back later for journal entries!
Love you all!
Mat




Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010


Namaste,

I did not sleep a wink last night! I was soooo upset about all the mower problems, that I got up at 4:30 and headed to work. I made my IV's and did several audits. I had made arrangements for Brent to come to the Edmond facility and help me since we were going to have to push mow pretty much the whole property. We started at noon, and worked until 4:00pm. My back is killing me, but I can enjoy the next few days knowing I did everything I could to make sure the properties were done for the week. I took Brent back to Midwest City, and had a hard time staying awake on the way home. I had to finish packing, and running errands. It is all done, and only thing left is some rest! I am really looking forward to getting away for a few days even though it is a working vacation! ;-) Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my trip to Nepal. I will be posting exerpts from my journal!

Love you all!

Mat

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday, September 13th, 2010




Namaste,

Well I left for work at 5:30am this morning. I stopped at Starbucks and then straight to work. I have so much to get done before Sherrie and I head to Las Vegas on Wednesday. I really wanted to get all of my audits done, and then go out and mow at least 1/2 the property! I only got 1/2 of my audits done, and then the garage door repair man called and he was here at the house. I came home and while he was working on the door, I got most of my packing done. Back to work, where I had a ton left to do. I finished up at 3:30 and went outside. I got the edging done pretty quickly, then jumped on the big mower, and knocked out the first three sections. When I got to the fourth I could hear something was not right and I could smell rubber burning. A bearing on the deck had gone out, and the belt had jumped off. I loaded the mower up and headed to Jerry's house. When I got there he told me he was out of loaners except for one! It is a 1950's model riding lawn mower. When I got back to the hospital the sun was setting, the OS (Old School) mower had headlights, and I got busy..... After about an hour it started making some weird noises, spewed oil and then caught on fire. I was soooooo pissed. I came home to find out our air conditioner had iced over, so if it's not one thing it's another! Random pictures!
Love you all!
Mat