Sunrise came early this morning at the Tengboche Monastery, and Eric, Jasmin and Colleen were there to greet it and attempt some photos of a true sun salutation by Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam. The Yak and Zopkyo traffic jams started off their business day, but in place of blaring horns, we were treated to the rhythmic ringing of their bells and they paced away. The entire group met up for breakfast at ~0700 and hit the trail at 0800. Chongba lead the team this morning, with Dorjie, Pasang and Dikki bringing up the rear. We followed a gentle downhill trail that wound through a shady pine forest. We rounded a corner, expecting to see the bridge we were supposed to cross, and found the metal frame cracked, twisted and halfway down the ravine. Kaygarnay (Nepali for “Oh well, what to do?”). We thought about calking the wagon, but that never turned out too well in Oregon Trail. Just a few more turns down the track brought us to a new, wooden and low-to-the-ground bridge that was easy to cross. Long caravans of Yaks and Zopkyos carried heavy loads bound for Everest Base Camp to support the climbers that will be attempting to summit once the season officially starts in mid April.
Dave Z. wants his daughters to know that the yaks are cute, but he’s not sure he’ll be able to smuggle one home in his suitcase for a pet.
We wound our dusty way to Upper Pangboche, where we stopped at a Monastery. We were privileged to meet Lama Geshe. We watched him bless the Sherpa teams that were preparing for summit attempts. In turn, we were blessed by the Lama for safe passage to Chomolungma (Everest’s Tibetan name, meaning Goddess Mother of the World), and given orange cords to tie loosely around our necks, there to stay until they fall off on their own. We also each received a card that reads:
“Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hung Hri.
A REQUEST TO ALL SENTIENT BEINGS
Give up all intentions to harm others from your heart,
And do your best to benefit from them all.
If each and every one feels the universal responsibility to do so,
We will all enjoy the feast of peace.”
Our next stop was another Monastery that had a REAL Yeti hand and skull on display. Many photos were taken, but no living Yeti has yet been spotted. Dave S. says, after seeing 2 Yeti scalps and a hand, he’s still not convinced it not just a goat… We still hold out hope. The Truth is Out There.
We briefly stopped to have lunch at a small restaurant in the small town of Shomare. We ate outside and rehydrated before setting off of the long climb to Pheriche. Greg and Diana are trying out a new fuel strategy, and are eating multiple small meals instead of just 3 large meals. Czarina is making a serious dent in her copy of Into Thin Air – Octavio and Elizabeth would be proud! It was a long and strenuous trek above the tree line, with the wind kicking up the dust and stinging our ears and faces. Suzy and Sanjiv lead the charge. Matt tucked his Buff up under his sunglasses and turned into Bad A** Ninja Matt. JB re-wrote the lyrics to YMCA to be YXCA, so that audience participation could be completed without putting down trekking poles. Diana hummed a little Janis Joplin to keep the pace. We were tired and dirty, but Tony kept us moving with promises that Pheriche was just over the next ridge, and that beds and hot showers were waiting for us, so we powered on - Bistaarai bistaarai, chop chop – and made it safely to the Himalayan Hotel.
Matt wants Tanya to know that he misses her.
Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband, Jim Griffin! ~Colleen