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Published: November 16th 2019
Paiju Sleeping Altitude:
3450m Trekking Distance
: Rest Day Day 12
The Sky is Falling
I’m going backwards on this day as the most significant thing happened after we’d gone to bed for the night. You know that feeling when you’re tired but relaxed?- it’s been a good day and you’re almost asleep listening to the raindrops on the tent roof. Well, that was how it was.
All of a sudden there was a massive whoosh, to me it sounded like a fire had started. Except that there was no fire light or burning smell and the noise kept getting louder. Neither of us could work it out and the next thing was Gen, fully dressed in wet weather gear, saying not to panic but to get packed up and into wet weather gear and prepare to evacuate. There was a massive flood coming down the mountains behind us and through the channel that the bridge spanned- about 10m from our tent.
To our credit we didn’t panic (sort of), got essentials packed into a dry day pack and fully dressed in a couple of minutes. Bloody hell it was scary. Got
out of the tent to try and see what was happening, bearing in mind it’s pretty dark and chaotic. A section of tents on the south bank of the camping area had washed through but our Juma reassured us we were safe, our side was fine.
The Pakistani porters (lots of them- it seemed all of them from all of the trekking groups) were in the drainage channel clearing rocks and debris to let the water run, the bridge was no more, it had been destroyed to let the boulders through, and there were headlights bobbing around everywhere. The noise was incredible!
Eventually we were convinced to head back into the tent- situation under control. The porters didn't look too alarmed as they continued working away in the rain. Meanwhile back at our tent- the floor was completely soaked and puddly and things were muddy as it continue to rain. Went to bed fully wet weathered and with boots on, no sleeping bag (I’d packed it up in my big dry bag) with all the tent flys and zips fully open... just in case. Got up after an hour to see if anything had changed and the camp
Hiding behind the bushes- perhaps he knows something is a foot?!
site was deserted. Pulled the boots off and the sleeping bag out.
Slept like a log!
The rest of the day before the scary "Sky Is Falling Incident" went like this-
Sleep in (06:00), breakfast at 08:00- pancakes with nutella!! Awesome treat, as well as cornflakes (with powdered milk and hot water- not so awesome- will work on technique). Feel decidedly average while sitting around under a grey sky pretending to read my 1 and only book that I had brought (Travels on The Silk Road) so decide to take a solo walk up the hills behind the camp- 3500m so not much of an elevation gain but still breathless on exertion and a mild headache, sit on a rock and just sit. Very peaceful. Awesome view over the campsite and valley, of the mountains and the encroaching Balotoro Glacier (which we will be getting up close and personal with). The walk is dotted with flowers and red caterpillars. On return to camp I learn that our goat has been slaughtered. It appears at lunch (13:00)- well bits of him- fried liver and a stomach stew. Try some because it has been killed for
us. Luckily there is also a very large bowl of spaghetti for everyone, although my appetite is gone. Fuelled up take another walk after lunch- this time along the riverbed with Danny, he is feeling average- headache and lassitude mostly. Pretty much most of us have symptoms consistent with the altitiude, fluids and rest and today as an acclimatisation day are exactly what we need to do to address it. Anyways... the river bed walk is nice- flat, easy, some rock hopping required, the river banks are soft and crumbly (sand and rocks). We get as far as the foot of the glacier and army camp before heading back. Headache gone! Total kms for the day 7.5.
Scramble back up the hill as it starts to rain, straight to our mess tent- coffee is required. Mary and I decide we need to get a group Yahtzee game going, it has always been a pretty fun bonding experience in the past. Kind of hit and miss this time, it's the only time for the trip that it actually comes out. Danny has brought a Times crossword book- the 3 of us get good mileage from it (ultimately at the end
of the trek it gets ripped in half- Danny gives us a half for the rest of our trip, he keeps the other half). Dinner features more of our goat- curried this time. There's also a very delicious eggplant stew, noodles, dahl and cucumbers. Very delicious (appetite returning). Early night after a good group chat. We are enjoying each others company, Anthony is hilarious. The tent is suffering in the now steady rain though- the floor is wet, there are drips, the water is seeping up from the ground and our mats are wet. We move into the middle to keep as dry as possible. It has been a good day though.
Sickness/Illness Event Of The Day- Ian has still has massively big blisters. Danny has got diarrhea ++++++. Mary is still not well.
Tot: 0.137s; Tpl: 0.068s; cc: 10; qc: 20; dbt: 0.0183s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.2mb