17 October 2014

What a day! I’m exhausted after the hardest day trekking I’ve ever done in the most amazing terrain I’ve ever seen. We actually didn’t cover much distance as the crow or any other bird flys but with all the ups and downs – well – we went far and gained and lost a great number of metres of elevation. The day began with a long steep climb up the side of a cliff. The drop to one side of this trail was precipitous. I think there was a river at the bottom but as I kept my eyes firmly on the cliff wall to the other side I can’t say for sure. I’m not overly freaked out by heights but that trail came close to terrifying me! The adrenaline from fear plus the altitude plus the steepness of the ascent made that section of today’s trek an complete adventure in itself but we were only getting started.

We stopped for lunch at 10 in the morning because there would be no further opportunities for food until we arrived at our day’s destination. Setting off again we almost immediately began a very steep slippery descent. There was snow to the side of the path so we tossed a few snow balls at each other. Tendi has a very accurate throw! Once at the bottom of this descent we carried on up an even steeper slope on the other side…..this climb brought us higher than the village where we’d had our 10am lunch. And at the top, what did we see but a canyon which makes the Grand Canyon look not so very deep or steep. I’ll give the Grand Canyon points for being wider and longer. So after admiring the stunning views we descended into the canyon, right to the very bottom! Once down there we climbed up a more narrow tributary canyon to a cave inhabited by a god and a monk who pays homage to said god. The monk was a pretty cool guy and was quite happy to tell me mundane things such as what he ate while living in a cave down in a deep canyon. We then retraced our steps down and back to the main canyon and began climbing back up its top end. Thankfully, while this was a long climb taking well over an hour it was less steep and less exposed. At the top – joy of joys – stood our accommodation for the night. We are now at 3800 metres.

My room has an inside bath room, no hot water but I’m getting used to freezing water washes. There’s no power either but my flash light is sitting here beside me. I’m in the dinning room sitting on one of the ubiquitous hard benches with a slightly higher bench table affair in front. These tables have solid fronts so one can’t put knees beneath. It’s not overly comfortable but I’m getting used to that too. Everyone sits around the outer perimeter on the sitting benches that run along the walls. The tables are long and narrow and they make an inner perimeter circle. If light is desired for dinner, reading or whatever – well bring a flashlight. It gets dark at six so the evenings can be long unless one does as most of us tired trekkers do – eat and go to bed to keep warm. Oh yes these dinning rooms – these guest houses – have no heat. On the Everest trek there were comforting yak dung burning stoves but on this trek – nada so far. And the evening temps drop to very little above zero. or maybe a bit below zero come to think of it seeing as there’s ice on the water in the mornings. I’m currently wearing my wool hat, thick down jacket, and several layers of clothes.
Good night from dark and chilly Syanboche (3800 meters)

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