October 2nd - Light-Color Expedition Duffels

For years as a guide I have extolled the virtues of large, strong, light coloured duffel bags for expedition travel. They can be identified easily after they are marked with your name, your expedition, which camp they are destined for, etc. At the baggage claim at the airport in Kathmandu the other day, RK Sherpa and I had a laugh because one of my duffel bags that came off the belt was well known to him. Among the many felt tip pen markings on the bag was one that read "c/o" RK Sherpa, Lukla". The bag had stayed with him for more that one year once when I had left it after an Everest expedition. The same bag, which is a "Wild Things Mule Bag”, had marks from Bolivia in 1989, Kilimanjaro, and many other expeditions. Years of mule sweat, dirt stains, and yak dung had given this bag a lot of character.

Amelie has a good friend, Jimmy Carr, who was kind enough to loan her some equipment for this year's BAI Everest Base Camp Trek. In our haste to get out of the Yak and Yeti for the airport this morning, I only said two things to the group: make sure your bags for the trek get loaded on the bus, and you don't have to worry; you have a lot of people working for you and we will make sure the bags will get to Lukla.

We always take tea and relax with the Sherpa staff who have been waiting for us when we first arrive in Lukla. This gives the staff time to get our bags loaded onto yaks or distributed to porters for the walk down to Phakding. It turns out while we were relaxing there was a lot of scrambling with the sherpas and the airport staff trying to figure out who JAMES CARR from Houston, Texas was. One fellow from the airport ran up to me with James Carr written on his hand, asking desperately, do you think this man is in your group? I assured him that no one with that name was going to Everest Base camp with BAI this year, but also that I recognized all the bags they had delivered. On close inspection there was a tiny little gold "Amelie Kelly" luggage tag attached to the very well labelled light colour duffel that contained Amelie’s gear, so we strapped it to a yak and sent it off toward Namche.

Thanks Jimmy, for the use of the duffel. It will have more labels on it by the time it returns to Texas.

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