From Namche 3440m to Deboche 3820 m, crossing Tengboche monastery at 3860m
It is a long day’s hike today. I had a hearty breakfast of omelettes and toast and set off along-with the others looking forward to more walking. I am feeling more and more energetic as we are gaining altitude, a symptom that I cannot understand, and which I choose not to question much thinking I may jinx it. But there’s no denying that I feel already on top of the world, and that every morning I wake up energetic and very hungry.
The first half of the day was not very eventful. There were a couple of things that broke the monotony – the memorial chorten built in memory of Tenzing Norgay, the sighting of the mountain goats clambering up the rocks, and the raptor I desperately tried to photograph. Reached Phungi-Thanga in about 3 hours – myself, Cheekala, Sudhir and Aditya being as usual in the lead. The benefit of this is we get to put up our feet for longer, and even catch a snooze before the others land up for lunch.
After lunch, there is a really steep climb up a hill, at the top of which is the Tengboche monastery. Its made bearable by the lovely red-pink rhododendrons in bloom.
We take frequent breaks, and Mingma, our porter, who’s been walking with us most of today, smokes at every place we stop. Its a wonder he does not collapse from all that smoke, and the weight of my backpack. I chat with him a bit today – he stops calling me Aunty after today, switching to Didi instead. Thank God for small mercies. I feel sorry for him – he’s a very bright guy, and he’d doing nothing but lugging luggage. I feel a little guilty too – its my luggage he lugs for most of the trip.
The view at the top is fantastic. Tengboche monastery sitting grandly on the hill-top surrounded by all these snow-clad mountains. Here’s where the pics are better than the words.
I go inside to pray. Yes, I do pray. Sometimes. Mostly when I am on mountains, since the last time I prayed was also on a mountain in Bhutan.
We are not staying at Tengboche, instead, we are walking further down to Deboche to the Ama Dablam hotel. The walk is through some lovely white-yellow rhododendron forests. I don’t mind the evening walk – its nice a peaceful. The hotel is not bad too, though the rooms are getting smaller everyday. I do my usual routine of “wet-tissue bath”, and join the rest of the gang at the dining table. In the evening I go out to try and photograph the mountains lit with the last rays of the sun – limited success there. I watch some local guys playing volleyball, itch to join them but don’t, and go back into the cozy dining hall. I am glad I bought my jacket – night temperatures are sub-zero and there is frost on the ground in the mornings.