10.22.2010

Trekking The Himalays: The Day We Walked Along a Valley to the Day We Recovered

Day 5: The Day We Walked Along a Valley. (Phortse Thanga to Luza) Today we woke up early, had our breakfast of tea and eggs and set off. The weird thing about this place is that everything that is up in any of these tea houses has to be taken up by someone. Porters are everywhere; they carry hiker’s bags, eggs, soda and any other supplies that may be needed. They must carry almost a hundred pounds sometimes. It makes me feel like I have no right to complain; I only have about 30 lbs on my back.  We arrive at our destination after not too steep of a hill, but I am definitely out of breath a lot. We walk along a really cool valley with huge mountains on both sides and a really white mountain way in the distance.
Prayer Flags at Luza
Day 6: The Day it Snowed. (Luza to Gokyo) Today we woke up and there was snow on the ground. It wasn’t a lot of snow, just a light dusting, but it made the mountains around us look like a kind of fairy land. The nice lady at our tea house took pity on us; we all have colds. She gave us each a nice cup of lemon tea, which did make me feel better. We started walking and it was like perfect timing - we got to the top of a little ridge and the sun came out! The valley was sunny and the white mountain in the distance looked like a cloud, it was so white. I am really feeling the altitude today. Most of our hike is a gradual uphill, which ends at about 15,800 feet. The air is very thin. We are VERY glad to get to the tea house.
View of the Gokyo Valley
Day 7: The Day We Saw Mt Everest. (Gokyo to Lake Five) When you are at altitude, it is suggested that if you are having any issues, you should “hike high and sleep low”. So we decided to take a little day hike (and it is SO NICE without carrying the big pack!) up to 17,000 feet and then hike back down to our tea house and sleep there again. It was even harder than yesterday. After every step you have to stop and take a breath. So it is pretty slow going - hike, stop, breath, hike, stop, breath. We made it to the “top” though and from there, you can see Mt Everest! It is not a spectacular looking mountain, but just knowing it is the highest in the world is a pretty big rush!
Mt Everest is the middle one - the first non pointy one from left
Day 8: The Day We Recovered. (Gokyo) We were still feeling a little bit of altitude sickness, so day 8 was spent playing rummy, relaxing and eating. An unfortunate girl had altitude sickness really bad, so had to get a helicopter evacuation, as it’s the only way to get off the mountain. We watched it and took pictures and thought, “well that is a quick way to get back to Kathmandu.”
This is one "hot" shower I did not take
More soon!

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