March 27, 2016 - Trek to Tengboche

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WMS 2015
March 27, 2016 - Trek to Tengboche

Day six of our trek to the highest mountain in the world is coming to an end in the small misty mountain village of Tengboche at 3860 meters (12,694 feet).  This technically is not our highest climb but qualifies as our highest sleeping altitude.  We left Namche at 8:40 AM under a sunny brisk sky and trekked up and out of the Sherpa capital.  Our bird's eye view of the surrounding peaks of Thamserku, Ana Dablam, Kusum Kanguru slowly dissipated along with our altitude as we descended into a shady juniper forest which lead us into the small town of Phunka Tenga.  The trip down the mountain was littered with yak trains and porters carrying heavy loads of various goods.  Phunka Tenga's location is nestled along the Dudh Koshi (Milk River) and is a great place to stop for lunch.  The fried noodles and macaroni are great sources of carbohydrates.  However, good sources of protein are hard to find outside of the ever versatile egg.  We left this river village and hiked across a suspension bridge which marked our start to the moderate climb to Tengboche.   Pemba Nuri, our guide, graciously allowed us frequent breaks along the ascent.  The most beneficial gift from the Gods today along our trek was the introduction of a cool masking fog which was accompanied by a significant drop in temperature.  The fog continued as we approached Tengboche and the religious Buddhist prayer wheel huts gradually appeared through the mist.  The bright colors and artistry of the architecture was subdued in the haze but the fog gave the surroundings a surreal character.  The group dropped off our bags at the Himalayan Lodge and we all attended a prayer meeting at the local Buddhist monastery which was called to order by a sequence of blasts from a dung-dkar conch shell.  Rhythmic chats were recited by several monks inside the monastery otherwise known as a gompa.   We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the gompa out of respect but the giant Buddha covered in gold paint and the colorful thangka artistry was worth seeing in person.  After this, several of the group visited a local bakery which served westernized coffee and a variety of sweets which almost ruined my dinner.  Returning to the Himalayan lodge, we readied ourselves for dinner and fought the desire to sleep.  Dinner mainly consisted of daal bhaat, a traditional meal of rice, lentils, stir fried vegetables and, if you are lucky, pickles.  Our night ended with card games and personal time setting up a warm sleeping bag for the chilly night ahead.  As of now, we are all in good health and determined to take on the six hour trek to Pheriche tomorrow.  Looking forward to updating you all on our adventures tomorrow!

Happy Easter!
Sarah Hockaday