I am Cindy DeRoche, 41 years old, married to Steve for 23 years. I have 3 marvelous children and one grandchild with one due in March, 1999. I have been the C.W.HOG Secretary for the past 13 years. Consequently, the C.W.HOG program has been a large part of mine and my family's lives. My favorite part of any adventure activity is being able to experience it with my husband.
When the opportunity for me to go with Steve to Nepal arose, I just knew only one of us could go. The trip was on again, off again, and after we got a couple of loans from the bank, it became a reality when we received our plane tickets. Getting ready and arranging someone to take care of our business in Pocatello was quite a chore. Preparing for the trip was a tremendous effort. My main concern was to keep everyone healthy in a third world country. The Herb Store in Pocatello made everyone individual herb first aid kits that contained Echinacea, anti diarrhea, muscle healing, and many other herbs to help keep us from getting sick. The day we left Pocatello we received a package from E'ola Products. Yes, this is what we have been waiting for - a box full of vitamins, power carb, Amp II, Liqua Thin, Sun Screen and Liquid Silver. Throwing it all in where ever we could find a place, we were finally off to Kathmandu to meet the whole crew.
This trip was the most inspirational, and awesome connection with people I have ever experienced. The dynamics of the group was most incredible. Everyone's attitude of "our goal is for everyone to make it to Base Camp - no one will give up" was an inspiration to me.
I believe I was the first person to experience home sickness. I missed my kids and couldn't talk to them. I wanted to know if they were doing OK and let them know we where doing just fine. Everyone got home sick at one point in the trip except Cindy Whittaker - she had Lizzie with her and her husband somewhere on the mountain. What an incredible woman! As our leader and coordinator, she kept us all going and everything sane. Lizzie - what a 6 year old trooper. We all played games, sang songs, laughed and cried with her.
I was amazed to see our Sherpa and porters finding new ways to help us achieve our end result. When they came up with a modified basket for Kyle instead of the horse I realized that they were doing what C.W.HOG has done for years. Individuals with disabilities can achieve anything they set their minds to if they have the right tools. They just do things a little different than other people.
Leaving the last little village before base camp my adrenalin was extreme. Everyone seemed on edge and anxious. The weather had turned fairly cold and a storm was blowing in. I was falling behind Steve and Kyle and the storm was upon us. The blowing snow made the trail difficult to find and I wasn't sure if I was even on it. I was in the middle of the trekkers and far behind the ones in front. I didn't know how far behind me the rest of the group were. I felt alone and a little scared, everything in a storm is really quiet and I wasn't sure where I was or where I was going. Then just to my surprise Bob Meyer came up behind me. Bob and I made a connection with each other and I felt very relieved to have someone by my side at that moment. He stayed and walked with me for a long time. It wasn't long when I looked up from watching the snow covered rocks on the trail and there was Steve. He had walked with Kyle until he saw the prayer flags at base camp and told Kyle he had to go back and find me. What a feeling of true love. Steve and I walked into base camp together hand in hand. Everyone's emotions were high and flowing freely. I was emotionally drained, exhausted and cold.
The following morning, unzipping the tent, I found we were in the most mystical place on earth. It was like being on another planet. The sun shining and the mountains glistening. Pretty incredible place to be - we were there - the top of the world for us - we made it!
Steve, Ike, Kyle, Carla, and Tom are the bravest and most courageous individuals I know. If there are any heroes in this century their names should be at the top of the list. I think Tom Whittaker taught us all to trust ourselves to make our own decisions and that is exactly what everyone of us did.