The trek from Jiri to Everest Base Camp seemed too long to contemplate in my shell-shocked state. When I considered the prospect of trekking through rural Nepal for three weeks, alone, it sounded insane, bleak, and lonely. Not to mention, the trek would take at least 21 days, and I only had a 30-day visa. I’d eaten up a few of those days already, and I still needed to outfit myself almost from scratch. I’d been in the tropics for the past five months: I had only a single piece of the I equipment needed to venture into the high mountains — my hat.