From start to finish, the entire expedition has been an incredible experience. Both the soldiers and the donors have put in such a lot of hard work to make this whole thing happen. I almost can't believe that it's coming to a close now.
The summit of Island Peak was an incredible feat for our soldier team. We actually passed people who had been beaten by the mountain and were on their way back down. These were able bodied people who haven't suffered some of the traumas that we have suffered. It was man and woman against the mountain. You realize just how small and vulnerable you are when you're up there. Even those soldiers suffering from the Khumbu cough - or Yak Hack as we nicknamed it - soldiered on.
Standing beneath that head wall, looking up, with crampons on your feet, was a serious business. It certainly wasn't a community rock climbing gym, that's for sure.
I think it'll take a few months for the magnitude of what the team has achieved to sink in! They are such a humble group! I don't think that they'll ever blow their own trumpets because the cause is greater than each individual involved. We didn't do this just for ourselves; we did this for all of our fellow soldiers.
Military personnel tend to underrate their achievements and be really hard on themselves, particularly when they are ill or injured. Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations and have difficulty living in the moment.
On our walk out, I left a prayer flag in a tree. In Tibetan, they are called Wind Horses and it really connected me with my horses back home. I don't think that there are any such things as coincidences in life. I never thought for a minute when I was sick and recovering from my injury that I was where I was supposed to be, but looking back on it now, I wouldn't have been here if that hadn't happened to me.
The one thing I've learnt on this expedition is that the only definite thing in life is our own mortality. Everything outside of that is an adventure and everyday can be one if you make it so!
And this has been one of the greatest adventures of my life.
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