Yesterday during our trials in the snow, my boots got wet inside. Michel and I had hung them over the wood stove in hopes they would dry. My hopes were dashed when I put on cold wet boots. Yuk. As we ate breakfast my feet became ever colder. The guesthouse wife saw I was chilly and went to great lengths to get a small electric heater working. So Michel and I sat by the heater while I warmed my toes and socks. At least the trek started comfortably. Nine hours later I pried painful damp feet from still wet boots and headed directly into the first shower in about a week. The water was hot. Bliss. All my troubles have been washed away.
As for today’s trek. Michel and I had wrongly anticipated a shorter day than yesterday. I guess it was marginally shorter but the last two hours of the nine hours on the trail were really hard.
It was foggy for most of the day. Perhaps a good thing because otherwise it might have been a scorcher. We started the day walking through a few more snowy patches. We are so done with the snow. It slows our progress and makes walking difficult. As we lost altitude – we are now in Chipling at 2170 metres – we progressed through various stages of spring. We’re now back amongst blooming rhododendrons. They decorate the otherwise green hillsides with red, pink and white splashes of colour.
Our trail intersected with the road in several places towards the end of our day. Sadly some of the villages have become construction zones, with no apparent planning. Piles of brick and cement and rebar clutter the ground. The trail is lost in the muddle. Such is progress.
We ended our trekking day with a gruelling 40 minutes of steeply pitched, uneven, slanted, slippery, rocky, stone steps and mucky, slimy mud. (Trevor – my editor – that sentence is just for you!) This is what we call a Nepali down. Not to be confused with Nepali gradual nor Nepali flat. To clarify, Nepali down or up, is super steep. Nepali gradual, is what most of us would call steep. Nepali flat is not flat. Trust me on this.
We stumbled into our guesthouse and nearly fell on our knees with gratitude when we discovered an ensuite bathroom with a flushing toilet, hot water shower, beds with two soft pillows and clean comforter on each. Our sleeping bags remain in our packs to tonight. Of course here is no toilet paper or towels but that doesn’t detract from our joy.
As we are back at lower altitude, we’re enjoying a cold Everest beer – OK two beers. Almost as welcome as the showers.
Good night from Chipling.