Stairway to Thyangboche

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December 23rd 2007
Published: January 10th 2008
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Left Namche a bit late today, so that meant no time for schmoozing in town. Rather, I continued my meditative walk, eventually winding up over 3,000 feet higher than where we started.
The trail was pristine, as a nice old man had turned a small portion of the trail into a turnpike, with a 'voluntary' fee for keeping the road well-preserved.
There were also some beautiful monuments set up along the way, with views of everest, lhotse, and ama dablam (i'll call the view the ELA view) most of the way through lunchtime.
The smells and smoky juniper burned as we made our way through the villages. This made for smoky views of the mountains, and the closest I had come to passing through anything in the air, beit clouds or rain or snow, in almost a week.
The long downhill to lunch only pressed harder on my mind that the 3hr uphill after lunch would be even longer. At lunch, I sank my teeth into some tuna, chapati, and veggie rice. The lunchroom was silent, though I was not alone in there. A local was sitting across the room, playing with the window, and probably wondering why I was taking my shoes and socks off under the table. At least, he was clearly aware of my presence, but said nothing.
The truth was, at that point, I was getting some good blisters on my heels, despite trying moleskin and using a blister kit. My shoes were just too warm!! I had to take my shoes off every lunchtime to let them cool off.
While me and the local waited for my food, Buddhi was shaving in the glacial river; which I thought was a nice idea!
So, after lunch, I ran down to the river to wash my face; touching water to my face for the first time in almost a week. It was refreshing to say the least. My face definitely thanked me, and so did the cracks between my fingernails, which were beginning to suffer from being exposed only to hand gel since I left tokyo.

The climb to Thyangboche was long, but watching porters carry 8 planks of wood on their backs made me feel guilty about being even slightly winded. These small guys, probably early 20's, were carrying twice their weight in wood up the hill. What lasted 3 hours for me probably felt like an eternity for them. Every 30 steps, they would stop to rest, clenching their knees as they leaned to the side of the hill for a five minute break.
Even as I made it to my cush teahouse atop Tenchboche, with my room having a straight view to everest, these porters were making their way into town, probably forced to step up their pace as the sun made its way down.
That evening, I stayed outside. I wanted to see that Everest would really be the last mountain to keep the sun on its face. And it was. Of course! Not more than a few minutes later, as if on cue, the moon stretched its way over ama dablam. It was one of the best sky shows i've had so far!

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