We left Tenboche early to miss other trekking groups wanting to participate in a Puja in Pangboche up valley. This is high trekking season, the mountain is Disneyworld and a special Puja at Pangboche is Avatar: Birds of Flight! So worth it and never gets old. Even better than experiencing it myself, is watching others experience it for the first time. Both looks of deep connection and complete confusion at the same time. Special to this monastery, encased in glass is the bones of a hand and the skull of the YETI! I kid you not. Not supposed to take pictures, but I did. It was too good to pass up. Later a teammate told me some scientists stile part of the hand bone to have tested back in the UK. Guess what? It was not of the species “Big Foot”! Ha!
Back to the story: The High Lama Nawang Paljor gave us ceremonial necklace blessings for safe passage through the Khumbu. Of course, it is customary to give a donation to each monastery and blessing you receive. Hey, best money spent. I will buy every blessing I can get! Keep’em coming!
We continued our hike over a ridge at 14k ft, then dropped into Pheriche, located in a breathtaking valley on the river. We are now surrounded by giants, snow topped peaks all around. And in the distance… Lobuche, our first climbing rotation.
Last year this time, a bad head cold had settled in and major gastrointestinal issues. It made for long restless nights. I am so encouraged and happy to feel healthy and strong. I’ve taken extra precautions wearing my buff, washing/sanitizing hands, eating well and sleeping. We have 2 nights in this last teahouse, where other groups are staying, then we are on to CTSS private basecamp at Lobuche, then Everest Base Camp. Come on immune system, keep up the good work! We arrived at the Edelweiss guest house, same as last year. And I have the exact same room. We are higher up, so less trekkers, and more room. We are at approx. 14k ft. This is where many will start to slow because of altitude or respiratory issues from dry air and days of inhaling dust. There is a mountain clinic here and a busy helicopter pad. Supplies are flown in and out, as well as trekkers sick from altitude. We arrived early afternoon, so I had time to eat, do some needed stretching, take a nap and sort some gear (these are a few of my favorite things).
I had a warm and quiet nights sleep. Perhaps it was the Benadryl with the assist. I have a lovely bumpy rash across my face for the last couple days. It is not spreading, but itches. Benadryl calms it immediately, so I assume an allergic reaction to something. But what is the new variable in my routine. Only thing I can think of is…. Wait for it…. Don’t throw up… my massage in Namche. I was face down on a sheet that did NOT look fresh. I knew it was dirty, but I was already naked and the massage dude was in the room not understanding my request for a town or something for my face. I said “F” it, and got my massage on a used sheet. That will learn me. I feel so dirty (imagine the scene from Ace Ventura Pet Detective when he is showering off after learning “Eyehorn was a man”). Anyhow, made a trip to the clinic. The lovely doctor agreed just an allergic reaction and I will live!
Naren, Ruchika and I quickly took a 1000 ft acclimatization hike overlooking the next valley. Ran into Nims on the accent. He was moving slower than usual, with good reason. Apparently he had been in a paragliding accident a couple weeks ago and really messed himself up. He is leading my friend Asma up Everest this year, but I am not sure how he will be able to. Wait, never mind that, this is Nims, he’ll still do it with 1 lung Im sure. We returned for a last shower (next one will be at Everest Base Camp in 6 days), sink cleaning my socks and more gear sorting. Last day of wifi for 5-6 days, so called the family, uploaded this blog and getting ready for one of my FAVORITE DAYS! We will follow this valley on a slow climb for about an hour, then go UP yak trails, through boulders until we make our way to the Sherpa/Climbers graveyard, then on to Lobuche Base Camp. We will climb Lobuche East in place of a rotation through the Khumbu Ice Fall. Much safer and life changing views