Getting close…

We were up early on Friday morning to join the Buddhist monks for their morning prayer session. The Buddhist monastery in Tengboche is the largest gompa in the Khumbu region. The monastery has been destroyed twice, once by earthquake and once by fire. It is by far the most ornate building we encountered on our journey.

After visiting the monastery, we had breakfast before we set off. I had scrambled eggs, toast and water. This became a breakfast staple for me until we reach Gorak Shep. This morning I even had dessert after breakfast (Hey, I am vacation!). There is nothing like a $4 Mars bar to start your day off on the right foot.

The day starts off downhill which is not a good sign for a day that will end 1800’ higher than it started. But that is what trekking in the Himalayas is like. You always have to go down to cross a river before ascending the next ridge. In fact there are four river crossings today. One is about ½ mile past Milinggo. The next is just past Pangboche. Then comes Shomare and finally the last crossing is at Tsuro Og.

Mt Aba Dablum (I think)

Lunch was in Pangboche, one of our river crossings. We dined at the Somam Lodge and Restaurant. Fried potatoes and shells were on today’s menu. These meals cost only a few dollars but the portions were huge. This was another meal I did not finish.

After lunch it was a 650’ descent before we would start to climb in earnest again. Britta was in very bad shape (it wasn’t AMS). Fortunately, even deep in the Himalayas you can catch a taxi. It isn’t yellow. It doesn’t have a non-English speaking driver. Nor does it have four wheels but it does have four hooves, an open airy view and your own Sherpa who jogs alongside you. Tashi, our Sherpa, arranged for a horse ride for her the rest of the way to that evening destination’s, Dingboche.

In contrast, when we arrived in Dingboche, I felt the best I had felt since we left Kathmandu. I was tired and had the slightest of headaches but I felt noticeably better than any other time during the trek so far. Dinner was fried rice and vegetables. Again, I could not finish the portions I was given. I decided to start treating water this evening rather than to continue to purchase it. Buying a couple of liters of water day was starting to really cut into my cash reserves. So I had a choice. Continue to buy safe pure water or conserve my cash for the occasional Mars bar and Orange Fanta. Those of you who know me understand the choice was an obvious one for me. That night, I purified 3 liters of water. But purifying water with Chlorine Dioxide tables takes 4 hours. It is best done overnight. There are other solutions to the water problem. The Steripen was one of the other options. I think that would have been the way to go. But the one that was on our trip failed. So I guess if you were thinking of using it as your primary water purification method you should also carry a backup such as the Chlorine Dioxide tablets.

The next day was to be an acclimatization day. Oh joy! Even so, I slept like a rock that night.


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