November 03, 2006 - The trail becomes gentle and more sparsely vegetated...

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Partially acclimatized to the altitude, or at least thinking we are, we leave Namche for the next destination, Khumjung. This is supposed to be our easiest and shortest trek. However, the path is initially steeply uphill, and Jack is having a hard time. But, the views of Namche below us, with the mountains around it, quickly lift the spirits. Very soon, mountains we haven’t seen before come into view. The trail becomes gentle and more sparsely vegetated as we climb. While there are fewer trees, we are surprised that clusters of delicate blue and gray bell-shaped flowers continue to appear along the trail.

After walking about 3 hours, including a break for tea, we walk up to the Everest View Hotel situated atop a hill. The hotel so blends in with the environment that it is not easily spotted. It is possible to see Everest from the hotel, but the clouds roll in and we can only see parts of mountains closest to us. Despite the missing view, we have lunch with a charming Canadian, Dave, who is working on a medical study on HAPE. We have met the most interesting, friendly travelers along our way. Approaching Khumjung we see a group of young girls collecting leaves that will be used as bedding for their cattle. They are curious
about Marsha’s blue plastic shoes that are hanging from her backpack. They are a delightful introduction to this tidy, picturesque village set into the side of a mountain. We are staying at the Ama Dablam lodge, so named because it has beautiful views of Ama Dablam and several other mountains. Marsha goes off to take a walk around the town, while Jack relaxes with a hot shower, the first since he left Kathmandu. She walks up to the Khumjung Gompa (monastery) passing fields lined with three foot high beautiful rock walks, visits with local women in sign language, and shares narrow paths with yaks returning alone from grazing to their homes. It is now quite cool outside and the fire inside the common room at the Ama Dablam Lodge is welcome.