Our work (for this trip at least) in Pangboche was done! Now Roger, Richard, Nads, Namgel and I could head up to Dingboche to see Ram and do some exploring up there.
So off we set, another bright and sunny morning -we’ve been so lucky with the weather on this trip.
We didn’t even make it through Pangboche without bumping into our friend Nuru who insisted on giving us chocolate bars to fuel us on our way.
Up out of Pangboche and on towards the trail to Somare, lots of hills and bends and worries for me about the sheer drops down to the Dudh Kosi roaring down below.
Up and up through the steps of Somare until we were out of town. Here is where the landscape dramatically changes and you suddenly know you are in the high mountains. Not much greenery and shrubbery up here and you find it difficult to breathe. On we travelled on the flat plain to a teahouse in the middle of nowhere for a pitstop – surprise surprise a member of Namgel’s family!
We had decided to lunch at Pheriche to take advantage of their wifi and catch up on gossip from home. By the time we reached there it was freezing, desolate and starting to snow!
We sat in the large tearoom, ordered our hot drinks and lunch and had all our phones etc logged onto the wifi – absolute silence from us all for at least 10mins!
After eating lunch and catching up with the outside world we headed up the very steep hill behind Pheriche to head to Dingboche and Ram’s new palace! The altitude was definitely kicking in, but it was worth it for the welcome from Ram and his lovely wife.
The new dining room is huge and offers near 360 degree views around the valley and is bright and sunny – an awesome place to drink seabuckthorne juice and catch up with our friends.
Nads and I opted for a couple of hours snooze in our sleeping bags to try and warm up before dinner.
A plan had been hatched for the next days walk – instead of heading up the hill behind Dingboche along with all the other trekkers, we were going to cross the Dudh Kosi and head up to the lake behind Ama and get some stunning views – sounds like a good idea!
So, this good idea involved a steep downward “path” a saunter through the very very prickly seabuckthorne plants (a week later and my legs have only just stopped looking shredded!). We thought that was challenging, then we saw our route across the river…….a couple of planks basically!!!!
I am afraid that both Nads and I then turned into girls and had to have some help from the guys to get across this major obstacle – me more than Nads to be fair!! I got to the other side and blubbed like a baby and made Namgel promise we wouldn’t come back that way!!
So it was onwards and upwards, and upwards and upwards!! No one else was stupid enough to be this side of the river – we looked over to the other side and saw a steady stream of trekkers heading up for their acclimatisation walk – as hard as ours was, it was so much better being just the 5 of us!
After a few “false summits” we went over the ridge and there it was – a lake of snow and ice! It was stunning and gave us a whole different view of Ama (will call her that from this side as you can’t see the “Dablam”)
We sat and enjoyed our coconut crunchees generously carried by Roger and revelled in the peace and quiet, what an awesome place and somewhere that very few trekkers get to see other than from the hill on the other side of the river.
Now it was time to head back to Rams and a whole different set of challenges! Namgel took us down to where another “bridge” was – wrong, that had disappeared down river!
A slow piece of climbing over big boulders so we could avoid the ice and we finally made it down to another bridge. This was a bit more sturdy, but not much!!
Back to the safety and warmth of Rams and a night of beer for the gang and chyaang for me, all sat round the yak dung burner laughing and joking with Ram and his family!
Next morning, in brilliant sunshine, we headed down in 2 groups. Namgel and Richard crossed the dodgy bridge again (having chipped ice off the log!) and headed up to Ama Dablam Base Camp.
Roger, Nads and I enjoyed a leisurely wander down an empty trail to Pangboche, stopping off for tea in Somare with Nuru before being welcomed back to Rhita’s where we sat on the terrace enjoying the warming afternoon sun.
The next morning we split up again – Richard, Roger and Namgel headed up to the school for a final photoshoot while Nads and I took a leisurely stroll down the track to Namche as we were both feeling ropey.
We had an “interesting” couple of hours dodging yaks and tourists on our way to Tengboche where we treated ourselves to a well deserved hot drink. Just as we were about to leave, up walked Roger, Rich and Namgel!! We didn’t expect to see them until the bottom of Tengboche Hill!!
After a quick cuppa for the boys we all headed down the hill together and made our way to see the little boy that has become our cover star!! We found our Everest 2012 book being looked at by a couple of trekkers, it was certainly well thumbed!! I gave the family some pics from my last 2 visits and they went and got our little man for us!!
Wow he’s grown up all of a sudden – Mingyar Dorje is his name! I produced a bottle of bubbles and he instantly knew what to do! We spent a fab 20 mins there with lots of laughter and his awesome smile being photographed! More pics to deliver next time!!
So off up the dusty track through the forest on the trail to Namche. The hill seemed shorter this time but I had a whole heap of challenges going on with my body! My “reverse altitude sickness” had started again. I hadn’t eaten anything other than a quarter of an omelette, a couple of bites of a brownie and about 2 mouthfuls of sprite. I had been shovelling sugar into my ginger tea in an attempt to get some energy into me but I was feeling rubbish.
But something in my head switched into action and my legs just kept going and going! I kept on and on without stopping until I got to Tashi’s where I was tempted to keep going but she saw us and gave us such a great big smile and welcome, I just had to have another ginger tea. I collapsed into the chair and felt like crying, my whole body was hurting and more importantly I had just marched off and forgot about girlie solidarity! Luckily enough Nads arrived with her 2 bodyguards Roger and Namgel and gave me a huge hug!
I drank my tea, apologised to the gang and set my Duracell bunny legs off again, I knew I just needed to get to Namche and the only way was to just keep on! I made it all the way from Tashi’s to Namche without stopping, Richard was my reassuring shadow!!
Rasheed, I promise I will never, ever again complain about the hundreds of squats, walking uphill with the weighted vest on or anything else you choose to throw at me to help my strength and endurance, I know it was that training that helped my legs keep going when there was nothing left in the bank, so THANK YOU!!
Well, we were in Namche, so it was obvious we would end up in Cafe Danphe!! However, Nads and I were not on the beer – a strange feeling for me to be there and no Everest beer in my hand.
After hardly any sleep again, we left Namche for another epic day that would get us to Lukla ready to fly back to KTM.
Again, with not much food inside me or Nads, we headed off, down the dusty Namche Hill listening and watching the ice falls on the other side of the valley, crack and turn into waterfalls – Spring is on its way!
Over the bridge, down to the river, more bridges and we were in Jorsalle for a quick tea stop with lovely Kumar at Fishtail Lodge.
Goodbyes said for now we headed up to the Park gates and out of the National park. Then the rain started!! Nads and I were still struggling, not helped by the wet paths! The guys headed off in the distance to Phakding for late lunch!
We left there around 3ish knowing we still had a few hours to walk to get to Lukla – would we make it before dark?
Time for one last tea stop at Namgel’s Aunties and we were on the Lukla hill!! We were hampered by slow moving djopyaks but made it to Lukla and the safety of Paradise Lodge just before the heavens opened!!
Roger insisted we all needed to meet at 6.30am!! Namgel and the owners of Paradise Lodge were suggesting later and that we would probably be flying around 8am……..but we listened to our esteemed leader, got up early and were ready by 6.30am!!!
A clear day in Lukla meant the flights were coming thick and fast, but we were on the 3rd wave and finally got away around 8am (on 2 separate flights, me on my own and the gang on the next one) guess we shoulda listened to those in the know!!!
Very soon we were all reunited and welcomed back to the luxury and clean showers of Hotel Access – our adventure in the hills was over, for this season at least!!
Now we have a couple of days together before the guys fly back on Saturday evening.
Thanks for all your positive messages and support, it’s been an amazing 4 weeks so far, can’t believe I will have to come back to the UK soon, this place feels more like home each time I visit!