An opportunity that I had completely ruled out on grounds of my mobility problems - my first ever multiday expedition. Daz Clarkson-King from Pure Land Expeditions had proclaimed that it would be life changing. I'm only just back in the UK but it already feels like he might have been right.
My fears of travelling alone with my mobility problems were fortunately completely unfounded as I was whisked through London Heathrow, Abu Dhabi and Delhi airports at top speed in a wheelchair, holding my head low in embarrassment as I was pushed to the front of every queue.
Much morphine on the plane journey causing suppressed breathing, combined with the effects of arriving at 3500m above sea level in Leh, Ladakh and the absence of my luggage which was on a holiday of its own somewhere in the Middle East, led to a fairly bewildering first couple of days. I thought I was fairly fit before arriving in Leh but still found myself having to focus on not passing out from the thin air. Once rested and acclimatised however, I was ready to go and excited at the prospect of beginning my expedition.
A perfectly flat expanse of river beach at the end of the rapid was a welcome relief and an idilic camp spot.
The waterfall at our lunch spot on the fifth day was particularly special.
More significant than any of those unexpected eventualities though is the fact that my first multiday expedition has chipped away another layer of disability for me. Daz and Pure Land Expeditions never saw my disability as a barrier to my adventures in India but I certainly did. I know now that I am more capable of exploration than I would ever have given myself credit for and I cannot thank Pure Land enough for opening my eyes to this and facilitating my adventures. I leave Ladakh with a strong sense that the things in my life which are most worth doing will also probably be the hardest; that's part of what makes them great; It's part of life's adventure.