Phakding (2650m) to Namche Bazaar (3340m)
0615 up and packed.
0700 porridge, small pot black tea. Porridge rates 7.5/10.
An utterly clear, sunny, not a cloud in the sky day. We hit the trail before 0800 and meander through the relatively flat Dudh Kosi Valley, well just a few little ups at this stage. The pine trees are spectacular, the air smells good. AMAZING VIEWS, the snow covered Kusum Kanguru at 6367m is pretty damn impressive. We go through the village of Toktok after 0900 and then Bengkar (2710m). The fields are alive... not with the sound of music, but with planting and harvesting. There's a lot going on in the potato fields, it seems to be mainly women doing this sort of work. We get to witness this spectacle of daily life, I keep having to tell myself to stop looking at it through a camera and actually look with my eyes. However, based on last years trek I am soooo glad i took so many shots- photos really do trigger lots of memories when you are stuck back in your life (does that sound a bit sad?- stuck back in your life?). We criss cross bridges
The day begins
over the Dudh Kosi, pass lots of rhododendron, waterfalls and primulas. Not many trekkers. At one stage we pass the Russians.... getting changed.
Arrive in Monju (2840m) and have a cup of tea, the digestive biscuits are broken out- literally- broken ito lots of little pieces. We get our first little bit of ice in a puddle then a clump or two of snow. Cut back across the river and head off towards Jorsale for lunch. Get in about 1130, lunch stop is at Nirvana Gardens. Yes there is a garden here- and its looking healthy- veges, herbs and flowers. Sit out in the sun and chat with a small group of fellow trekkers- they are German and were on our flight yesterday- the ones that I thought would be good with an emergency axe. There is also a young English guy there who we chat with- he's on his GAP year and is hoping to go into officer training next year in the UK, his name is Callum and he's working at the guesthouse/trekking/having a great time. Stay tuned for further news of Callum..... The entire front garden furniture is rearranged so we can get a bit of
shade and lunch. That seems to be the signal for the 2 dogs and the 2 cats to come and sit with us- the cats are in in charge- a well established pecking order is observed. We go through half a bottle of hand gel when we spot the first cat worm. Anyway... it's alll about living on the edge!
Lunch was "the usual", stopped for over an hour enjoying the sun, the waterfall, the animals, the procession of porters... down some more Paracetemol and
some Ibuprofen. Check in at the police checkpoint and start the afternoon. The afternoon is basically a very long climb up a series of uneven and irregular steps. At this point I am very glad that I trained on the Kokoda Trail steps at home- this trail is a lot like that but with the added beauty of mountains and a river and a better temperature. http://www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/kings-park/walks/kokoda-track
The views as we ascend are so
awesome. IMO more so than the Annapurna Circuit (and I never would have thought this possible, but there you go..) From the lunch spot it looked like a massive distance we would be climbing but I am finding
you cover decent distance before you even realise it. The first target we reached was the old suspension bridge- very windy, very beautiful, very photographic. Got our first views of Everest and Nuptse. Exciting. A bit further up were a group of enterprising fruit sellers- bananas and mandarins at 80rp each. It was nice to stop there for 10 mins and admire the view whilst eating super sweet $1 mandarins. I think they are probably making very good money- apparently they sell about 100/day in the high season. Cool Everest view from here too.
Next section is about a 45 minute walk into Namche Bazaar. We arrive at 1620 ish and the sun is already dropping, as is the temperature. The village is actually a lot larger than I had thought, the terracing makes for a spectacular entrance. Its hard to know where to look- the utterly beautiful Kongde Ri or the gate and gompa at the entrance. Lonely Planet describe the "tap, tap" background noise in NB- it's true, the tap, tap starts at day break and continues until after dark. I like it. We traipse through the town and things start getting icy. We reach Hotel De
Base after another bunch of icy steps. There seem to be 3 lots of types of rooms- best, middle and porters- we have a middle room- #113- 3rd one on the RHS off a long corridor. It is UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! It has afternoon sun streaming through and must be about 15 degrees C- perfect. There are 2 toilets off the corridor, western style but with buckets and 2 hand basins without water, the water pipes are still frozen. We, once again, are the only tourists so we each get a toilet!
The dining room has decidedly British loyalties- there are posters of the royal family and a union jack flag adorning the walls. The owners are in Kathmandu- it seems all owners are in Kathmandu atm. The staff Sanapurna, Maya and Parsat are really friendly. We crown Maya the queen of dhal bat (PS- now that I am home she still remains the queen after the 3 treks, and we did a lot of dhal bat). Maya's secret is fresh ginger- in the dhal and the veges. We stay up late with tea and hudle tightly around the stove and the tv- Bear Grylls is on!!! Go to bed as
Russians on the track
Closely pursued by the Germans
WWE starts. My body feels a bit tired, but really good, my mind is going a million miles an hour. Headache persists, although it dropped off whilst watching Man v Wild!
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