Start: Sete @ 06:50 (2,520m)
End: Junbesi @ 16:10 (2,680m)
We woke up in the middle of the night to the rumbling of thunder bouncing off the valley walls. It continued for some time and it took our hearts some time longer to calm down and let us go back to sleep. The early morning ascent was steep and tiring and we had to stop just outside Dakchu to put on rain coats and bag covers… the rain stopped nearly instantly after we had got prep’d. We rearranged bags and gear in Dakchu (meaning: two small ponds) while watching a farmer and wife gently try and encourage a yak to breed with a nak while others ran around the field and wandered around one of the ponds.
The ascent was gruesome. The wind, laden with moisture was buffeting up from one valley to cross over and and say hi to the other valley. The sound of it whistling through the trees was like a gale force storm hitting a coastal village. Skipping ahead a bit, passing through a forest with Rhododendron trees that had trunks in colours of silver and red, looking like red gold, we were at the highest point in the journey to Lukla. The phone signal was still deciding where we were, so we ascended slightly up the hill for the GPS to kick in. Out of the mist, much like a scene from a Sherlock Holmes novel, the trekker that passed us at Dakchu came bounding down the hill saying “No, No, No”. He had gone 5km out of his way to the the top of the mountain, missing the trail markers in the most, only using a map and not having a GPS as a back-up. Heading down the next valley heading to Junbesi, we passed through a forest of pine and rhododendron. The flowers were a cherry red and the pines smelt of Christmas. We came out of said forest to the beginnings of a snow storm. We came in sight of our destination as the snow began to come at us horizontally. We literally have now had fire, thunder and ice in 24hrs. There were a few photographic moments of the snow-capped mountains that meant we just made it to our tea house before snow, hail and ice turned to heavy rain.Sat around the stove warming up and enjoying Sherpa Stew, we pitied those arriving to the village in the pitch black and pouring rain. It was a tough day and we despaired at the next day to come, where the guide book already says it would be slippery and steep. Better head off to bed.
Kat’s Footnote: I hate this! This is so fucking horrible – why are we walking vertically up AGAIN? SNOW?? REALLY!! This sucks! I want this to end… Ah, heated dining room – Joy!!
Monday 28th March 2016