A bit of planning on our side, we opted to have a porter help us with our bag. Looking back on it now, it was probably the best decision we made since we started out at roughly 3500 feet and made our way up to 12,500 feet. We were definitely not acclimated to climbing and our cycling back in Atlanta does not lend itself to the preparation needed to deal with the stresses of altitude.
Our local porters were rock stars with our stuff. Referencing back to our point of hiring them to carry our bags, the first day was one where we had to power through and get our proverbial "sea legs". This valley was dominating us as there is a lot of up and not a lot of down at this point. Unfortunately, I think we underestimated how much up there was going to be and we convinced ourselves prior to the trip that we got this. The early mantra of "I ride bikes everyday", "I hike with my dog", "I could smash this hike", was being replaced with "Why am I such a fatty", "How is this French guy crushing this and I'm dying", "Hey donkey!, give me a lift" or "Can the porter carry me?".
Our tough love moment was that we understood quickly that we need to pace ourselves, hydrate more frequently, eat every 30 to 45 minutes, and rest when we needed to. Luckily on this trek there is only one way up and one way down. Not a whole lot of places to miss a turn or go wandering. People do go missing on this trek, but we heard that most of that takes place when people try to hit the peaks at the final town.