Bowery Mural

Up the Namche Wall!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Wednesday 7th April 2009

Day 2 of trek

I woke to the sound of the Dudh Kosi River rushing passed our campsite and to the ding dinging of the gopkyo's bells walking past. The sun was up but we were shaded by these towering giants of mountain on all sides. You could just about see the sun rising on Thamserku. What a sight! Photo opportunity later. Mingma and Lakman brought our hot tea and biscuit to the tent and a few minutes later came the bowl of water for washing. This process wasn't easy and soon i was to decide that a tent 'shower' with a few Johnson's baby wipes would be better than washing in the cold with hot water that very quickly turned cold. I was sharing with Emma. She'd been up a few times in the night (a side effect of Diamox!). I was only up once. I'd managed to get the boots and headtorch on and run to the toilet tent. Thankfully I didn't have the runs like a few other members of the group. I was in and out in a flash and back in my sleeping bag before long. Anyway Emma told the story of her midnight toilet trip. I'll spare you the details.

We got our stuff together and packed and headed in for breakfast. There was porridge, cereals, toast, and boiled eggs. I opted for toast and an egg and of course a nice cup of tea. My first night of camping (ever!) had gone well. I seem to have escaped with nothing more than a creak in my neck. Today's walk would take us along the Dudh Kosi River and then after lunch we'd be heading up for a few hours to Namche Bazaar. A few of members of the group had been up sick during the night and weren't feeling too great so they waited for an hour or so at the lodge with the Doc as we headed off on the trail. It wasn't too bad a walk this morning. We crossed a couple of bridges and passed many a giant mani stone painted with the mantra. Then... there it was, a fairly new looking building, the Sagarmatha National Park Entrance at Jorsalle. This was very exciting for me as this was our official entrance. Saran showed us our park permits - very cool! We took a few pics and then set off with Mingma for our lunch spot. Saran headed back to meet the others and Doc. I hoped they were on their way and would meet us at lunch.

Lunch was on this huge pile of rocks beside what looked like it used to be a river bed that had now become part of the trail. It was very picturesque and every few minutes another group of trekkers or porters would pass on by either on their outward or return leg of their own treks. Lunch today was hot orange, onion bhaji's, fried vegetables, tea/coffee and tinned pears. Lovely. The sun was getting hotter as we sat there on a blue tarpaulin on the rocks. The temperature on my watch read 36 degrees at once point!! We'd sat there for an hour and noticed that a few of the kitchen staff had headed back down the valley. After a while they returned with Saran's rucksack. uh-oh i thought! Mingma told us that they were still a while way down the valley and we were to go on without them. So we left our lunch spot at 1.30pm. The wind had got up a little bit and the cloud was coming in as was beginning to be the norm. We headed upwards on the trail and eventually came to a sight that was familiar (perhaps because I'd seen loads of pictures on the web and in books I'd been studying for a year!!) It was the very very high bridge that would take us across the river and then we'd begin the long hard slog up the Namche wall.

We made our way up and had a wee rest then set off on our epic slog. On the way we encountered many a group going up and coming down. It was quite a wide trail but not too wide. It certainly wasn't wide enough for us and the group of central Europeans that kept trying to barge past us at a very quick pace. They did on a few occasions get past us but only for us to catch up with them and more often than not overtake them at our own steady pace. When will people learn? Slow and steady wins the day - is that even a saying! We ran into a few yak trains en route up the track and this provided a welcome few minutes for a water break. After about3 and half hours we finally made it to Namche Bazaar - the Sherpa capital of the Solukhumbu region. We passed the sign reading Namche Bazaar ut still we were going up and up and up. It took about another 20 minutes before we reached our campsite and lodge. The weather was coming in really fast by now and there wasn't really any views to speak of. Our tents had a great vantage point. Namche Bazaar is in a bowl on the hillside. Looking from above or below it's shaped like a horseshoe. Looking up, our campsite was on the immediate right hand side. There was a great giant mountain on the left hand side of our view, the trail to Tibet was higher and in front and to the right was the various lodges, hotels, shops of Namche.

We plonked ourselves in the lodge and got a well deserved hot lemon. The weather came in all of a sudden and it started to rain then hail stones and then snow!! Yippee! This was all very well but the lodge we had taken up seats in didn't have a fire!! oh no. We're going to freeze. We pulled the door shut and settled onto the benches that were all around the lodge. After about 2 hours we were greeted by a welcome sight. Our fellow trekkers had made it up to Namche Bazaar and by all accounts took less time to come up the Namche Wall than us!! It was great that we were all together again. The 3 were still feeling a bit ropey so 2 bedded down on the benches and Ruth managed to join in with a game that Andy had made up. The game ended up a draw and we'd manage to warm up sufficiently to dare go outside and jump into the tents. It had started snowing again just as we were going to bed so i lay there listening to the sound of fresh snow hitting the tents and it quickly sent me to sleep....

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