Doug, Joanne, Claire and Jim decide to brave a day at the hideous digs at Forest Camp while Brenda and I hike up to Low Camp. Tendi and our two porters come with us. Lakpha and the other four porters will enjoy a rest day at Forest Camp.
The day dawns sunny but by just after 8 a.m. clouds come spilling over the ridge above us.
We make short work of the climb to Low Camp (3000 m) taking only two hours. We hike through a mystical rhododendron forest. The tall trunks rise over ten metres and the broad canopy creates a lofty ceiling through which fingers of dim light reach to the vegetation below. Brown lacy parasitic ferns hang in rippling waves from the trunks and branches. They catch the early morning light, creating a golden hue throughout the shadowed forest. Chartreuse ferns reach delicate fronds upward, glowing in filtered sunlight.
The rough path threads along, sometimes Nepali flat, other times rising through tangles of roots and over bouldery outcrops.
We come across a large flock of goats being sheared. Two herd dogs snooze while one man shears and another chases the unsheared goats around and catches them. There is an enormous pile of goat wool, in various shades of off white, brown and grey. Some of it is filthy.
At one point Tendi tells us we have about 45 minutes left to go. But he is tricking us as a minute later we climb out of the forest onto the small plateau of Low Camp. We are met by a pleasant surprise. When I was last here it was a dismal place with very rudimentary accommodations. There are now a couple of very nice new lodges and Tendi gets us a room in one. It is far nicer than Forest Camp. Brenda and I spend about thirty seconds feeling guilty!
The dinning room is large and bright and a fire is lit soon after our arrival. It is blissfully warm inside, while outside mist swirls and it is unpleasantly chilly.
We spend the afternoon journal writing. I read another chapter of Pomegranates out loud to Tendi and Nima and we learn a Nepali card game which we play with Nima and Pasang. In so doing we learn our Nepali numbers from one to seven. Clever us.