Breakfast at 5:30. Rich, Dave and Martin, joined by Pasang and Ngwag set off at first light on the 790m climb to Tilicho Lake. For our first hour, the path takes us diagonally up the valley side. We fall into our own personal thoughts, accompanied by rhythmic breathing and steps, one by one ….. To our left the sun lights up the peaks with a soft morning glow, while clouds funnel up from the valley below as the air warms. The path steepens and for about another hour follows a series of zig-zags (switchbacks) until we reach the snowline. Here, the path levels out onto a plateau - well marked and a little icy in places. Three hours after setting out, we reach Tilicho Lake in bright sunshine.
The lake is not frozen and is an amazing deep azure blue. This is the largest lake in Nepal. It is also reputed to be the highest lake in the world, at 4,920m. Across the water, we witness a snow avalanche pouring from a gully on Tilicho Peak. A ferocious wind blows from the north. We quickly take photos, well all of us except photographer Rich, who like shooting in the RAW– might mean something to some of our readers!
Pasang accompanies Dave and Martin on the descent, so easy compared with the ascent. An hour and a half later we are drinking black tea back in the Tilicho Base Camp Hotel. An hour or so later, Rich arrives with Ngwag. We rejoin the resting Diane and Ray for lunch: veg fried rice and the best potato curry yet – well, it actually tastes of curry!
And then we are off again – retracing our steps of yesterday to Sheree Karka 4,076m. Diane stays close behind Ngwag as we enter the landslip area, not unlike the Badlands of the Dakotas, but with rather more exposure J. Our passage is uneventful, apart from an encounter with a horse and his minder somehow negotiating the challenging trail. We are through and pass the sign with its simple message: "THANKS"!
Diane's next challenge is the "extremely steep and narrow" descent to a suspension bridge on a loose gravel path ….. well, she made it.
Our overnight stay is the Hotel Tilicho Peak - once more we are treated to en suite rooms. Gathering around the dining room wood burner, we practice our French with a young couple from Geneva, before dinner: the usual mix of soups, momos, pizza, french fries and tinned fruit for dessert.
So ends another long and varied day.