Jumbesi -> Nuntala
Apr 15, 2002
To all the American a happy tax day - may you get a big refund. To everyone at the capitalism party -- joyous commerce to you. And to me, a toast to adventure - I've been on the road for exactly 8 months. I wake up to a clear day and a view of a mountain from my bed. Not bad.
Just after breakfast I find some members of the expedition whose porters I saw yesterday. No one, at least of this group, is going up Everest. "World Expeditions" and "Sea to Summit" are the names of tour companies. This tour is going to the summit of Mera peak. At over 20,000 feet it would be an impressive accomplishment anywhere in the world except Nepal. Here's it's rather routine. I might have to wait until I reach base camp to meet people going over 25,000 feet.
I start the day feeling very sore and beat up. I'm considering stopping early. However, the day turns into a walk in the park. A walk in the park in that it was much easier than the previous few tough days and also in that it was beautiful countryside. The day starts with pines and wildflowers. A few hours of walking up a relatively gentle slope brings me to the Everest View Sherpa Lodge. This is the first point on the trek where Everest would be visible on a clear day. It's not a clear day, the clouds have rolled in. Up and through another 10,000 foot pass. Hiking at 10,000 feet is getting much easier. Following a ridge a cold rain starts. Slightly damp I descend into Ringmo, the apple capitol of Nepal. Tea to warm me up, lunch with apple pie and I continue on my way. A little climb and descent through another forest - This time with streams and waterfalls literally running across the path. I arrive in Nuntala to a huge crowd in the guest house - 10 people. There are all of the trekkers from Sete plus a few people on the return journey and a few trekkers slower than us.
A note about "tea house" trekking. Along the whole route are tea houses - Small one room affairs that serve tea and food to porters and trekkers alike. Once upon a time, the early trekkers would stay in these tea houses laying by the fire and sharing the room with the family. At least that's the way that I imagine it. The reality now is hotels the whole way. I've had a room to myself every night and am about 50% on indoor toilets. The price for the rooms is right though, I've paid between 10 and 30 rupees (13 and 40 cents).
I'm now lightening my bag one pack of peanut M&M's at a time.
9am depart -- .5 hour snack time -- 1.5 hour lunch -- 5pm arrival
camera - At Ringmo I drop my camera on the concrete floor. It's still in one piece. I test out the zoom lens and everything seems alright. Then at the top of the pass I take a photo. The camera gives an error code and freezes. None of the buttons do anything. If there's one thing I learned in my 5 years of studying computers it's "by hitting something broken you're unlikely to make it worse." Bap! Sure enough, it returns to normal. I really hope that it's fixed. It would be a tragedy to complete this trek with no photos to share.