Nate’s Journey: 19 May

Our local guide Mingma Sherpa convinced the group it was better to leave at 6:30AM, after breakfast, rather than 5AM after just a cup of tea. I was okay with this plan, and enjoyed some tea and noodle soup before we left.  The early morning was glorious and we caught views of Kongde Mountain across the gorge from Namche. As we continued up the Khumbu valley, the mountains were in full splendor, and I learned that the peak I reported earlier as Mt. Everest was actually Thamserku. I’m guessing this is not the last time I will display some measure of foolishness.

Any way, we came to a Chorten (or Stupa) where the bright cloudless morning allowed visibility far up the Kumbu valley. Half a dozen peaks (the names of which I don’t wish to butcher) were arrayed before us, and tucked away between the furthest, was Chomolungma. She did not seem to be the tallest from our point of view, but it was striking to think that I was observing the top of the planet’s surface. Most likely several teams were able to summit this morning. I hope our intrepid Dan Mazur’s group was amoung them.

The further in we hiked the more prevalent the rhododendrons became. These trees, in Nepali the Laligurasn, are the National flower of Nepal. And my teammate, the astrologer Sumeet, sang to me a song of the Laligurasn, who’s, “heart is the jungle”. Things of this nature work for me, and I like this character even more now.

We descended a few hundred meters to a tributary of the Dudh Kosi and crossed another suspension bridge, which the path wanders underneath. After keeping pace with a merchant couple herding yaks up hill I got to see a hillside that was half laligurasn. At this point the clouds were coming up the valley and we hastened to Tengboche.

We rested just long enough in Tengboche for a cup of tea and took a short 20 minute walk down hill to Deboche. This valley seems like a fairy realm, especially in the thickening mist of the afternoon. When we got to the Paradise Lodge & Restaurant, Mingma was miraculously ahead of us, already waiting there. He knows just about everyone in the mountains and gets to hitchhike in helicopters. Not a bad trick.

The new height we have stopped at is only 3710m, but we walked in a good 20 kilometers with a substantial drop and climb in the river valley. I am wiped out. Tomorrow we go to the Oldest Nun Monastery in Nepal to begin a site survey before breakfast. This is the purpose of my Pumori Engineering teammates travel, and I get to tag along and help. I am interested to see the monastery and explore more of this enchanting valley.