For those of you who haven't been stalking Mandy Moore's Instagram as closely as I have for the past couple of weeks, the 35-year-old This Is Us actress has some exciting news: she's officially completed her 10-day hike to Mount Everest Base Camp.
Mandy is an avid hiker, and she's checked adventure after adventure off her bucket list over the past year, from summiting Mount Kilimanjaro last April to trekking through Chile earlier in the year and New Zealand just last month. Check out her Instagram Stories of the excursions — you won't be disappointed.
Everest is in a class of its own, though, and just hiking to Base Camp at the foot of the mountain is a serious challenge, covering 40 miles one way and rising over 18,000 feet in elevation. (Read this amazing firsthand account of how hard the trek actually is.) "This trip has only just started but my soul is already forever changed," Mandy wrote in one post, a few days into the hike. "The power and energy contained in these mountains is humbling, to say the least."
She shared that she went into the trip "relatively blind" on purpose. "Not unprepared, mind you . . . but I wanted to venture forward into the unknown with an open mind and heart and as free of expectations as possible," learning about the customs and culture of the local Sherpa people and taking in the breathtaking (literally) landscape.
Of course, the trip wasn't just a bucket list check mark for Mandy. She completed the excursion with The Juniper Fund, an organisation that gives financial support, job training, and grants to the families of local workers who are killed working in the Himalayas. And the hike was led by Melissa Arnot, co-founder of the fund, six-time Everest climber, the first American woman to successfully summit and descend the peak without supplemental oxygen, and Mandy's self-described "girl crush." (They met in the Winter of 2018. "I happen to think it was love or at least unbridled admiration at first sight," Mandy wrote. "I immediately confided in her my deep desire to travel and climb mountains together.")
For Mandy, the hike was a learning experience from start to finish, during which she mastered skills like breathing at high altitude ("It's essentially a big inhale and a sharp, forceful exhale, like you're blowing out a candle across the room") and mental focus and agility while in the "pain cave" that comes with endless exercise in harsh conditions. "I dug deep while in the midst of all of those pressure breaths and made a mental list of things that scared me but I was anxious to tackle," Mandy wrote in her most recent post. "Now that I'm back on solid ground, I can't wait to [go] home and get to it."
And we can't wait to hear what adventure she takes on next. Check out Mandy's start-to-finish photos of the incredible experience and read her empowering, thoughtful words ahead. (Fingers crossed we get to hear more about her epic hikes at POPSUGAR Play/Ground in June.) And if you're feeling inspired to take on this excursion yourself, or are simply as utterly fascinated as I am, read these 32 essential Everest Base Camp tips from an editor who completed the trip herself.