I wake up to the sunlight entering our room and, when I look out the window, I was absolutely AMAZED. I can see huge, snow-covered mountains all around. It feels as if I am still dreaming. After breakfast, we go to the monastery one more time for the morning puja (Buddhist prayer ritual) and then we are ready to head off to our next destination: Dingboche, one step closer to Everest Base Camp.
(from “Life of a Porter“)
When we leave Tengboche, we initially have to walk downhill through an alley of trees, which form a kind of interesting passage. We pass by a monastery for women to our left and in front of the houses we walk past, we see children playing, while the women are working in the fields.
After we cross a bridge, we are faced with an uphill path which is not surprising – after all, our destination is Dingboche, which lies 4,440 metres above sea level, and this means overcoming a difference of 570 metres.
The path is not actually that steep but the higher we climb, the less oxygen there is for us to breathe. It starts to become somewhat challenging and I can hear my own breathing, which is beginning to sound like an old rusty car.
After we leave Tengboche, the landscape changes. The day before yesterday, we were still surrounded by pine trees but yesterday all I could see were some dry green “bushes” and perhaps some single taller trees. Our guide keeps telling me to enjoy the scenery, since the landscape will start to change even more, gradually and drastically.
The path is really beautiful, running alongside the milky-coloured river and it offers truly amazing views over the valley. We pass through some villages where we see some locals cleaning their guesthouses because it is the end of the season. We have a splendid view of the fields which are so nicely separated from each other. We are also lucky enough to meet some more yaks, which are simply having a break and enjoying their lunch.
After dropping off our bags, we don’t even bother to freshen up, since we want to walk around the village and check out the bakeries. We find three different ones and soon Francis, Fatima and I are sitting in one, sharing a cake and recovering. From afar we can see our three Indian friends (Sourabh, Dhruv & Toni) coming towards us and we accompany them to our guesthouse. In the evening we all sit around the heater which is placed right in the middle of the room.
Since we are the only people in the guesthouse, we really enjoy each other’s company; talking and sipping some milk tea. I am so exhausted that I miss half of the conversation since I fall asleep on a bench. After some time, when everyone is starting to yawn, we say goodnight to each other but, to our Indian friends, we say our goodbyes as they are planning to leave early in the morning, without having a day to acclimatise. They will be heading further to Lake Gokyo. I walk into my room and literally fall onto my bed.
It is now morning and today is the day that we will acclimatise ourselves to the height. I decide that I will be taking it very easy today. I take my time eating my breakfast and simply enjoy relaxing for a while. Our guide tells us that we should head off for a little walk to a nearby viewpoint if we feel like it because this will help us to acclimatise as our next destination is at a higher altitude than Dingboche.
We reach the top and it seems as if the fog has already enveloped everything. Added to this, the wind is making it very unpleasant to stay here for too long. It is almost impossible to enjoy the wonderful view but hopefully tomorrow will be different. We take some pictures and start to climb downhill.
Just close to our guesthouse we stop when we see a yak family grazing. There are even two yak babies, dancing around, one completely black and the other with white patches on its black fur. They are incredibly cute and I watch them for a while but keep my distance because I know that yak mothers are very protective of their young and can be potentially dangerous. We decide to continue walking towards the guesthouse, but we take the opportunity to look closer at the local life. To our left some locals are working with dried yak excrement, as they use it to make fire.
We reach the guesthouse and I decide that I will take the rest of the day off, napping and reading a book. I eat out-of-date and extremely overrated Snickers as I am craving some chocolate!
As tomorrow is a big day, I prepare some things and have an early night. Tomorrow we will have to climb to an even higher altitude and now Everest Base Camp is just around the corner…
Let’s hope for good weather!