When you get up to the high altitude of 5400m (17716 feet) on foot, there's this constant struggle and discomfort of switching between layering yourself up with thick winter jackets only to minutes later stop to strip down into thin under-layers of sweaters and open your backpack for dumping all that pile inside, because suddenly within minutes the weather has changed and now you're sweating profusely and feeling unnervingly claustrophobic. An act that otherwise obviously goes unnoticed in everyday's mundane life; but up there, where the air is thin and oxygen levels low, the effort is significant - one that cost you energy and mainly, momentarily pause your hiking rhythm that you'd rather leave uninterrupted.
Yet, you keep continuing on, barging through the cold high winds incessantly blowing in your direction, and as you push yourself against it climbing higher up one step at the time, there's hope lurking somewhere in the subconscious of not being afflicted by yet another sudden hailstorm like the one experienced the previous evening at high-camp when you climbed 200 meters up and back down a hill at the site, for sake of better acclimatisation. But then you look up at the sky and see the thick cloud moving away, finally revealing the bright sun, and, almost as an instant reflex, you get rid of your gloves, desperate to feel it's warmth on your palms but it doesn't make any sense because the temperature is still soaring below freezing point at -5 degrees.
You keep scaling up, moving forward, in short and slow strides, trying to control your breathing pattern, but fail, cause its feels like your always out of breath. Then suddenly, majestic folds of some more Annapurna ranges surface in your peripheral vision and that leaves you completely spellbounded, yet once again! By now you've lost count of number of times you've felt like that since you started this hike 10 days ago at 800m, or since you began to travel 4 months ago at the time - yet, each time the experience is unique. Your racing mind is finally still and it feels like you are exactly where you are meant to be!