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  1. #101

    Default Part XXIVa


    Coming from Tagnag, Marcťu crossing the vast Ngozumpa's glacier, headind to Gokyo's village. On the background, the huge Cho Oyu can be seem, one of the over 8.000m Nepali mountains. There is a catch in this picture. Can someone see it?

    Day 26

    I feel wonderful! Sleeping at so nice place as Tagnag did charge my batteries. I could start the trek all over again, but only if a bulldozer goes ahead me, flattening all the hills and valleys.

    Today will be a short day. The lodgeís owner told us that Gokyo is not far away, two hours maximum, and that the walk has not any serious climbing, so I let me sleep as much I wanted and do all the packing and eating lazily. I wouldnít mind expend another day at Tagnag, resting from yesterday, but since Gokyo is that close, I can do it there. Just a last effort to get there and it will be lemon tea and coconut biscuit all day. Oh, yeahÖ I feel like Homer Simpson pre-viewing some donut.

    Now I donít remember whatís happened with the Israeli guy, but Fred and Chris will do the Ngozumpaís glacier cross with us and, after it, will go down. I try to convince Fred go to Gokyoís village and give the Gokyo ri a try, but his condition isnít good and he wants go down. He didnít sleep well at Dzongla and at Tagnag almost didnít get out of the room. I feel sorry for him. Here we are, at the doors of one most beautiful places from Nepal and he canít step in. But with the health one must not play, at last not play like me.

    I donít remember which time was when we leave Tagnag, but was late. The Sun is hot over us, itís empire only menaced by the cold winds. Just a little after leaving Tagnag, we climb the glacierís moraine. A small one, but kind of large and tortuous. Just for warming up. The real stuff laid now around us: the glacier.

    Funny how I expected it to be more icy, but itís just a landscape of dust and rocks. Here and there, the only things to reveal where we were are huge walls of ice hanging over the dust. Many froze or semi froze lakes pinpoint the view. I know there is ice below my feet, but I kind of expected something more like the Khumbuís glacier. This one looks as dieing. Of course, we cross the Khumbuís glacier very close to itís cradle. The cradle from this one is far way north.

    The good thing is that now, because of that, I think, there arenít many ups and downs. Flat parts of the trail allowed us to walk several meters without stepping over a rock! Amazing. The trail itself has some unclear parts, but the little rocks towers and/or commercials from Tagnagís lodges painted on the rocks help us stay on the right way. The proof that the glacier isnít death are several interrupted trails, where the new one has to go around some ice block or depression, and the old one lying down there, unpractical for trekking. One time we almost go for one of this death ends, but I (me, donít forget it!) saw some rocks standing up at the other direction and alert my faster partners. Yes, because even Fred now is walking fast, as he wants get down as fast as possible.

    After all, is nice to do this crossing. Itís lots easier than I expected from reading the LP and the relatively flat land makes it enjoyable for walk. Sadly itís ends at the moraineís wall at the other side. Climbing it take me some time, but the view up there is nice. I think itís from there that we could see Gokyo ri from the first time. Looks awful close.

    Some sherpa is resting there, seating over a rock. We know him. Heís guiding a French woman. Whereís his client? Baldly, he says sheís taking a dump. LolÖ I canít forget the candor and innocence from this people. We stay there for a while, resting from the climb. Meanwhile, his client show up, already dumped. We ask the guy some info about the rest of the trek. He says it is easy, piece of cake. Just go down, get right at the forking and straight on till Gokyo. Sounds good. The only problem is that we donít agree about the name of the lake we can see in front of us. He says itís the Second Sacred Lake, but give us the name of the first one. Not important.

    It IS good, really, the way from here to Gokyo. We just go down for a while, a good descent, but bad ascent go comes the other way, till a junction where Fred and Chris take the left, down the valley, and we take the right, up the valley. But first we have to pee, because the first thing we see when get at the junction is a unfroze river. Water at liquid state! Man, what a weird and beautiful sign. And so much water! Itís so nice to see unfroze water after so many days looking at ice and rock blocks everywhere we did turn our heads.

    Sadly, we canít stay there much because a line of yaks are approaching. We donít now how is the trail from now on and donít want get jammed behind the smelly backs of this beasts. So we hurry up and resume the trail. All for nothing, because after this short part after the fork, there come a flat and large valley. Better stuck at the trail, but there is plenty space for yaks, porters and trekkers.

    Also, we can see that the Gokyo trek is less populated than the EBC. We cross people, groups, porters and yaks, but not at the same rate as in EBC. To our left, big mountains. To our right, the huge moraineís wall. Iím liking this place!

    The way from here to Gokyo seems long, but it isnít. itís just me who wants get there fast. So is true that I assume the front line, walking at the same pace as Marcťu!

    We cross lots of independent trekkers, old and young, with their big backs and buffing their breath away as yaks. Just like me. Itís nice to meet so many pals. Again, I think trekking is a personal experience where the person should decide how must be done. If guided, guided. If with porters, with porters. If organized group, so be organized group.

    But was nice to meet so many people doing it at my favorite style! There is a expression of accomplishment and happiness at their faces that I didnít find very often at the guided/portered/organized others.

    Most this guys, and girls, suggests staying at a lodge named Cho Oyu View Lodge. They said is mainly independent trekkers who stay there and the owner, an old lady, is really nice and make a wonderful food. Also, if we stay there a few days and eat there, the room is free!

    This sounds like music to my ears. After Duglha, Lobuche, Gorak Shep and, bleargh, Dzongla, I find almost impossible such place existing.

    We walk a little more and eventually get at a kind of gompa with flags. That is the villageís entrance. We cross it and can see the village. Itís breathtakingÖ the village, the moraine behind it, the lake in front it, the valley and Gokyo ri after it. I feel like getting at the magic Shangri la itself. I think I will love it! I think I will expend a few days here.

    After the flags, the trail goes at the side of some small slope, a narrow trail, but very short. Soon we are at Gokyo. Many big lodges here, with itís big dining room made on top of it, very sunny. Our lodge is the last one from who come, besides the lake. Itís simpler and smaller than the others, but as just the people said, the owner is a great person. She makes the room for free if we eat there and stay a couple of days. Our room, like all others, is in front of the lake, roomy, have blankets andÖ pillows!!! When I remember Dzongla, where I did have to share my bed with my pack, this is great! The hot shower is the usually expensive price, so it will have to wait until we get at Lukla. I did pack out all I would need, check the view, change the t-shirt and fly out the room to see the dinning room.

    Enormous. Some people are there, lying lazily on the seats, that have blankets over it and pillows. Sweet Zeus! Pillows everywhere. And me who was thinking such thing was part of a previous life. Also, the place is sunny and have big windows. The view is fantastic, with the Second Sacred Lake and Gokyo ri plain visible. I couldnít ask for a better place.

    To Be Continued...

  2. #102

    Default Part XXIVb

    Continuation...

    While there, we see some organized Japanese group standing at the lakeís margin, out the village, half way to Gokyo ri foot. Their porters, guides and baggage are all around them. Then something surreal happens: a big helicopter came and start to land there. Some yaks that were there run away, the groupís baggage roll due the wind generated by the helicopter to the lake. The porters run after it, falling one by one under the wind pressure in the lake. Guides and tourists are having hard time to not be knocked down also. When all finishes, they get all in and the massive machine take off and at one incredible low fly go away. A show. The locals said the group come walking, but decided fly out till Kathmandu itself. Some money.

    So, itís time for food. The decrease on the price is heartily welcomed by me, that order some mix all fried rice, plus liters of tea, the famous momos things that I never dare taste before, due the high price. When Marcťu arrives, after recovering from the shock due the room and dinning room accommodations, he put an ear to ear smile at the view of the great banquet laid for us. And we eatÖ and eatÖ and eatÖ Itís like our stomachs are now black holes.

    After eating I feel like an anaconda that just ate a entire cow. I feel heavy. I have to rest and digest. But first, letís explore the place. We walk past a few lodges. Many organized groups also, but they stay at the nicer lodges. Good. Then I see something incredible: the higher library of the world. Yes, some lodges sell books! One of it, the last higher one, has LOTS of books for sale. I canít believe my luck. I run to there and soon chose one. Itís expensive and the guy refuse to shrink the price for a old book, without cover and all, so I chose a better one, more expensive, but with all the pages. I pay a little more, but will read a little more also. And unlike the ďLionís GameĒ, I will know how this one ends.

    Booked and ate, we go rest at the lakeís margin. A little cold, but bearable. We stay there a while, hearing the small waves, looking the views, feeling the peace. The Gokyo ri is inviting us, but I donít want climb it today. Today I will rest. Maybe tomorrow.

    While there and looking at the Gokyo ri and the people going up and down, we see a familiar set of clothes coming down. A guy all yellow. Could be? Chris? Another guy is with him, wearing a yellow jacket. The Israeli guy? We keep looking and they get at the Gokyo riís foot and have some refreshment at the lake. They really look like them, but they should be half way down by now. Marcťu whistle hard and they look at us. Marcťu waves and they wave back. Yes, itís really them. We go to there, to see whatís happened with their plans of going down.

    Once there, we talk and they say that they came back just for climb the Gokyo, since still early. Fred did go down, but they came back to climb the Gokyo ri and go down after it and meet Fred.

    Some legs those guys have!

    I invite them to stay and do the upper Sacred Lakes with us, but they decide to go back. For them, the trek is over. We go with them to the lodge where they leave their stuff and drink some tea. Meanwhile, another Japanese group arrived. Very, very slowly, they seat one after the other. Stiff and silent. Then came the gadgets. Machines here and there, measuring little and big. Fun, but good thing that this is not my lodge.

    Finally we get separated and Chris and the guy go away. We head back to our lodge. Time to read, write and play. I start winning lots at the cards. The dinning room is half full, basically with independent trekkers, what is good for talking. Many are going to EBC, so I see myself at some kid of guru position. All want know about the Cho la and what is there after it. My 15 minutes of fame!

    To Be Continued...

    []'s

    Hendrik

  3. #103

    Default Post-it

    Soon I will be moving out, so the Net cable instalations can take a while. I have to call the ISP, the guy come and install the cables and moden, etc. This can take from 1 to several weeks. Then, if I dissapear again, you know what is happening.

    Anyway, the trekking is getting at it's end. After Gokyo, there is 2 or three days of nothingness, just trekking down and down as fast I could.

    But I will finish it properly.

    []'s

    Hendrik

  4. #104

    Default Part XXVa

    Gokyo's ri climb! Lots of photos to celebrate it!


    From the peak, views of the Gokyo's village, part of the Ngozumpa's glacier and from the Second and Third Sacred Lakes.


    You can see more of the Everest from the Gokyo's ri peak.


    Marcťu wandering lazily around the Gokyo's ri peak.

    Day 27

    Itís Gokyo ri day! The good thing about having done the EBC objective is that now I donít feel the obligation of doing nothing else more, so I can enjoy it more. I have expend so much time planning for this trek and invested so much money to come here and bring my brother along, who also has to make a 6 months pause at his college and leave behind family, friends and girlfriend, that having to do all I planned and pay and leave behind for was no more a possibility. Was a duty. And I find difficult having fun when on duty.

    But the good thing is that we were very luck and could do all we expected and more, so the Gokyo part was a easy going part of the trek. If itís not done, no problem.

    Of course, Iím going to do all I can to finish this properly, but if I canít, no sweat. If it was with the EBC, big sweat if hasnít done it.

    So, we sleep as much our body could bear. The discomfort inside the bags is getting worst and worst. I miss the moving around the bed. But here hurt to just put the nose out the bag, let alone sleep out of it so I can fool around the bed.

    We take the breakfast lazily. No hurry. Gokyo isnít going anywhere. Was already maybe 9h when we leave the lodge to climb Gokyo. As always, 2l water, camera, biscuits, chocolate, extra clothes, etc.

    Up from the start, we came across a Japanese group. They were a little ahead, but we catch with them pretty soon. They walk very slowly, talking lots. We walk fast, talking nothing. I know what costs talk at a climb.

    Gokyo is a hell of a climb. So many switchbacks! So steep! I mean, itís unlike from all the previous climbs, where here and there we could walk a few meters straight. At Gokyo we are always switching on a steep trail. Iím doing my hardest to keep with Marcťu. At least the last climb weíll do together. But itís so hard that after an hour or so, he get away and Iím behind him, having to make my short stops. The Japanese are way worst. Far below me, they are getting smaller and smaller. More stopping than walking. I look to Marcťu. He keeps going, seldom making a break or slowing down. Then I thought: ďwhat an f***! This is my last climb. Iíll have no more climbs. I can well ripe me off on this hill and take 5 days recovering at the lodge. Still plenty of time to catch the flight back to Kathmandu. So, at last one time I will do it on the hard way. I will catch my brother and see if I can keep with him, even if this kill meĒ.

    So I make a final adjustment in my backpack, pack in the windbrakes, sip lots of water andÖ march!

    Man, after 10 minutes I was breathing as someone who has trying to break his own record of staying underwater and just surface craving from air. My legs complain so much about pain and tiredness that I thought they would go on strike and refuse to take another step further for the rest of my life. The sweat covers my face and get inside my eyes, nose and mouth. My nose asks me for the entire pantheonís mercies to please be cleaned. But itís too late. My mind took off the power and refuse to listen to legs, nose or lugs. I keep with the crazy heavy pace. No stops. Puff-puff-puff-puff all the way. Puff all you want, as much you want. From now on will be worst and worst.

    I feel that after 30 minutes, more or less, I catch a little with Marcťu. My body cries for mercy. Iím deaf to any pleads now. Iím a zombie. Faster, I must be faster. I increase the pace.

    Then the unexpected takes place: Marcťu stops for a little break. Maybe 10 minutes, maybe 5, maybe 15. I donít know. What I know is that while heís there, I catch up. Almost 1 hour of sheer pain, I catch with him.

    And now, what I do? If I stop, Iíll collapse. There is no way that a 10 minutes pause would be enough for me to rest. This is fatigue for at last 1 hour resting.

    So, I do what any unreasonable trekker would do: keep going as fast I was doing. No more, no less. Steep or not steep. As I came, I go, so I OVERTAKE my brother on a climb! Ė I hear this ďwowĒ there! Be quiet!

    So, this time, I go away (come on, people, no more ďwowĒ, let me talk). Soon I am in front, lots in front. Marcťu resumes his trek, but couldnít catch with me and I canít wait for him or slow down, otherwise I would be tore apart like some Lego construction hit by a ball. I jut keep going, and breathing harder, and hurting harder, and sweating harder.

    And switchbacks all over the place. They keep coming, numberless. When I think Iím close to something, another extension of the trail comes on view, with more switchbacks. No top on view. I donít care. I keep going as a maniac. The distance between me and Marcťu holds steady. I donít care. I walk as crazy. This climb will be MY climb.

    Time passes, 2 hours of climb when I saw the first sign of top. I hit the pedal. The engine complains. I donít care. Japanese come down from the top. I donít care. I see flags. I donít care. More people coming down. I donít care. I see that the first rocks from the top are right in front of me. Itís a surprise, because I thought it would be a further still, but no, itís right there. And I DONíT CARE. I get on the top, so I did care.

    Then, this ascent was the Donít Care Ascent. I just start to have feeling again when I get up there. Before it, I just thought about getting there as fast I could. Now Iím there, I see that the Gokyo riís peak is very roomy. There is some kind of tourist spot where everybody gathers for the picture, but I cross it going underneath it and climb a rock at the other side, take out my pack andÖ collapse.

    No way could I get my breath back. My legs could be made of rocks as far I could feel it, or not feel. I stay there all the time Marcťu got to get there, around 20 minutes later, resting without results. Even after Marcťu get there and rested up, I still tired and short of breath, but then I was too busy fascinating myself with the views and with the Gokyoís peak to pay it much attention.

    So niceÖ really nice. Lots more nicer than Kala Pattar. Gokyoís peak is huge. We can explore it for hours and the views from there are outstanding, better than from Kala Pattar.

    OK, the Everest is further, but itís more visible. The Ngozumpaís glacier is amazingly big. There is view all around and, what is better, there is plenty space to appreciate it from wherever you want.

    To Be Continued...

  5. #105

    Default Part XXVb

    Continuation..


    Posing for a photo up a rock. That's me, alright.


    Breathtaking views form the peak! Just amazing.


    Again me, having a good time on the Gokyo's ri peak.

    So, we take lots of pictures, have snacks, talk, play, make another ď Brazilianís towerĒ, restÖ and play more, and snack more, and rest more, over and overÖ when we got tired of being there, I look at the clock and see that we have being there for around two hours and half!

    Oh, yes: in the meanwhile, the Japanese and some more people got there.

    But we have to go down. The lunch awaits and we have to get some serious rest. So we start to climb it down, my favorite part of mountain trekking climbing.

    Just on itís beginning, I start coughing. A dry cough. Not good. Finally the effort over my capacities Iíve done to climb it is claiming itís price. From here till back to Paris, this cough would be my partner, with ups and downs on itís frequency and strength, but always there. I abuse, I pay. Fair trade.

    BUT I GET FIRST AND FAST AT THE PEAK!

    Anyway, pride besides, we get at the lodge and we eet, and eet, and eet. And I cough, and cough, and cough. And then we talk and I cough. And we go sleep, and I cough. And cough pretty much till late on the night, before could surprise a nap between the coughs.

    To Be Continued...

    []'s

    Hendrik

  6. #106

    Default Part XXVIa


    Trail that goes to the upper Sacred Lakes, beyond Gokyo's village. I'm looking North>South here, so at my front is going to Gokyo's village.

    Day 28

    Bad nightÖ the cough is getting worst, but not all the time. Then it stops and I can rest. I feel sorry for that people who gets cough right from the beginning and goes like this all the way up to the EBC and back. My coughing is dry, but I hear people having really not-dry one. And it isnít beautiful.

    So I start my morning with a lemon tea, egg and cheese sandwich and a nice bowl of garlic soup. I ask for extra garlic and almost canít take it afterward. My brother isnít feeling so well also, but he says heís ready for the day. Me, besides the coughing and tiredness from yesterday, Iím also ready for it.

    Itís because we plan go to the 6th Sacred Lake. Itís another side-extra-maybe trek I did plan since Europe. But this one is really extra. First I plan to camp there, but now camping is completely out of my mind. I barely can stand the mornings cold inside the lodge, what I would do with it when have to roll and pack the tent outside? No, the other Sacred Lakes have to be done as a day trek or not be done at all.

    The problem is that the LP says that this is a really long day trek. Itís possible to do it in one day, but is very demanding and time counted. Itís not a trek, itís a dash.

    I canít demand anything from my body after the Gokyoís climb and getting the coughing and bad night. I lost all respect I had from it to me. When I ask it to go, lets say, to the toilet, it answers me a clear ďgo to hellĒ. And now I ask it to take me to the 6th Sacred Lake. I feel almost mayhem inside me. But after negotiating carefully with sandwiches and garlic soup, I think I have the control again.

    Another problem is that since the Jiri-Bupsa part I havenít done a trek that will take all day do be done. Ok,OkÖ the Cho la did take pretty much all day, but then we start it very late. This one we are starting very early, to stand a chance of doing it all. Not being it enough, we decide go up by the moraine, to have nicer views, instead doing it by the valley, from where you can see a lot of pretty much nothing.

    So, still on the crack of dawn, we leave the lodge and climb the moraine. As usual, we chose different trail. I get a straighter and steep. Marcťu decides for one flatter and gentle. I wanted get at the moraines top as soon as possible, but expend to much time carving for air to do it at one effort. Marcťu, by his side, did it pretty quick and appears a few meters in front of me, at the top. The good thing is that he waits me get at my partís top, have a rest and catch up with him.

    Itís amazing walk over the moraineís crest. The views change constantly accordingly you go up, down, in or out the moraineís crest. Sometimes we go so in the valley that we donít see a thing. Sometimes we are so at the moraineís edge that is scary watching the rocks roll inside the moraine just a few centimeters beside us.. But is a real walking and deserve be done if you go to Gokyo. Sometimes, because of the moraineís shape changing, the trail goes to dead ends, but as long you keep going North, it will not be a problem.

    It takes a long time to get at the 4th lake. Because of the lost of size proportion, we expend a lot of time thinking that it is really near, but the near never become close. When finally we get there, we almost pass it, because we were so close to the moraineís edge that we could have go without noticing there was a lake beside us. If not for some rock towers we saw at some moment, we would have miss it.

    At this lake, which is beautiful BTW, I had my more dramatically digestive experience for all trek. Having spasms of pain, I call a break and run away from my brother and to some much hidden place. There, I give voice to my most inners wishes of relief and well being. After all, I cover it with the material I have most abundant, snow, and let my masterwork there to be discovered for later geologistís generations. I forgot to sign, though.

    I know, I knowÖ itís a barbaric thing to do and I havenít done it the entire trek. But it was a moment of acute crisis that demanded my most urgent and unpostponable attention. So, Iím sorry.

    After attending the utter predicament, I go meet Marcťu, who was kind of bored waiting for me. No sweat. To fix things, I increase the pace as for be like his speed. Or at last I try it. Not easy when you are coughing your lugs out.

    After the 4th Lake, I think after it, we get at some camping, big camping. The guys there were starting their day, getting at the trail and moving very slowly, as like they are death tired. They arenít as young as us, but we show no respect and almost run them over. Soon, they were nowhere to be seemed. But I think this is because they took the down trail, while me and Marcťu lost ours and fool around a little trying to find it again. It took around half hour to find it again and cost us reasonable amount of energy to play the jump rock game at that altitude and at our present physical condition. But we find it.

    Again at the good road, we keep going. We are walking in a crazy pace but, reading the LP, I see that we still behind itís walking times. Surely because of the play around, internal matters to be attended, etc. The thing is this day will not be astronomically longer than the previous one, so I donít know if weíll be able to get at the 6th lake. Also, we bring a richer snack for the way, but still I wanted get back before 16h, so we can have a proper lunch.

    And nothing about the 5th Lake. We walk,walk and count the time and nothing about it.

    I think it was around 5.30h-6h when we leave the lodge. When we reach the 5th lake was 11h. Around of 6 hours for the 4th and 5th Sacred Lakes. Not bad, but also not so good. Our physical condition is not at itís best, and also I can observe a little worn out at the emotional level. When we seat in front of the lake to have a snack and long rest, I see that Marcťuís condition is not good. Heís feeling like have flu, butÖ without flu. Heís not feeling well. I suggest he goes back. He refuses. Then I give him time to rest, but after 30 minutes of rest, he shows no signs of be rested, so I say to him to go back. He doesnít want, but says it not with the same conviction as before. A few more words and he decides go back, after resting a little more.

    As for me, I donít feel a Tarzan either, but I want give a last try to get at the 6th Lake, so I take off. And I run. Man, I run like crazy. A couple of hours later, when I finally get just before the glacier bending, I make the dare mistake of staying at the moraineís side, instead of crossing the little valley and get at one trail that runs along the hillside, at the other side. Because of it, I get lost. For around 1 hour I climb rocks of the size of cars, vans and houses, trying to figure out where I am and how can I get out of here. I have no choice but keep going, bordering the glacier. At one place, Iím in the middle of a big open gorge that is just pouring rocks inside the glacier. This place has some monstrous rocks. And I have to climb it up and down, always trying to find the lake. Nothing. Iím just in front of the Cho Oyu and nothing about lale and trail.

    Then, after crossing this immense rock field, I see it! Still far away, but I see it! I stop, snack a little more, drink some water and run to it. Lotís of snow gathered on the ground, but itís OK. Now Iím just beside it. I look around, chose some rocks 200m away as base and go to there and seat. I did it! I get at the last Sacred Lake!

    Itís different to do a trek alone. I feel more vulnerable, fragile, scared, lonely, but itís also good to have new perspectives of what I am and at that moment, surrounded by huge mountains, in front a godforsaken high altitude lake and in the middle of nowhere, I feel myself really smallÖ and big at the same time. Itís like Iím the first person to get at one place where no man have being before. I now itís a lie, but itís like I feel.

    To Be Continued...

  7. #107

    Default Part XXVIb

    Continuation...

    Sadly, the time doesnít allow me to enjoy these paradoxes for much longer. Itís damn late and I still have to walk all that way back to the village. And I know it isnít a short way, even if now I can go back by the normal trail, that is not so clear as I though, but the eventual foot steps I can see here and there helps me stay on it till I get to the bend, where I can follow a well visible trail.

    Walking in the valleyís trail is lots faster, but besides it, I still hours from the village, so I start to walk really fast. I think I leave the 6th Lake between 13.30h and 14.00h. I havenít much time of light and donít want be caught by the dark in the middle of nothing having just a small headlamp with me, that has a almost dead battery. I didnít find a equal battery for it and my brother convinces me to not buy new one, because he had his headlamp with extra battery in case I need it. Now I regret listening to himÖ

    Runnig down valley as crazy, I get at the 5th Sacred Lake, and there I meet a peculiar guy.

    No, not the Yeti.

    I explain: yesterday a guy from Russia step in our lodge. He was trekking alone, with a huge pack with lot of stuff hanging on it. He get there coming from Dzongla. So, he walks lots. He used to walks and bicycling back in Russia and didnít have any problem trekking to EBC and doing extended trekking days. Once he got in Gokyo close to dusk, he couldnít do much more, but the day after, when we go to the upper Sacred Lakes, he was going to do the Gokyo ri AND the upper lakes, ON THE SAME DAY.

    So, here he was, on the 5th Sacred lake, already a little over 16h, going to the 6th Sacred LakeÖ Personally, I wouldnít do it, but heís a big guy and can think for himself, so he jus asks how much still for the 6th lake and go on. I donít know how is going to find it in the dark.

    Me too, I go on, but to the opposite side. I cross the 5th lake, as fast as I could, but stopping here and there to take pictures (I've take none on the way up because my only one battery is almost empty and I was afraid of not have enough for the 6th lake). I cross the camping old guys, who look to me as I am some kind of ghost. I run to the 4th lake, take a eternity to cross it because there is lots of trails there (the up trail was only one) and keep running down the valley. And itís getting dark. And I cough hard all the way down. I feel as much tired as the first day, when have done the Deurali climb. But I donít dare rest.

    So, a little past 18h, I see Gokyoís village. Man, what a relief! But I donít slow down. I see the village, but Iím not at it yet.

    When I get there, the last light is disappearing from the higher tops. That was a close call. Dying for food, drink and rest, I go direct to the dining room, just stopping by the kitchen to order my food and some urgent tea, biscuit and garlic soup. When I get there, I see Marcťu lying on one of the seats. Heís better, but no good. Looks like a flu. We talk, eat and play. Just a little before we go to bed, around 20h, I think, the Russian guy gets in the lodge. He says he goes as far as the glacier corner, but didnít find the trail and do have to come back.

    So, from the lodge, only me got to get at the 6th. Most people there goes as far as the 5th.

    But didnít got to go to the Cho Oyu base camp, as I hopped before. It was impossible for me go around the 6th lake. I would still be there if had done it. No way. So, Iím awfully tired and is time to bed.

    To Be Continued...

    Hendrik

  8. #108

    Default Part XXVII


    Farwell photo with the nicest lodge's owner of all Nepal. Behind, a little brazilian flag can be seemed as well some of the mountains and 4th Sacred Lake that are a welcomed rest for our eyes from the sunny, roomy and confortable dining room.

    Day 29

    I feel sorry to be leaving this awesome place, but also happy to be going back. I know that with the 6th Sacred Lake done, the trek objectives are also all done, but not the trek itself. We still have to actually get back at Lukla and fly back to Kathmandu. Initially we plan stay more days at the mountains and, besides the Marcťuís flu and my dry counghing, I think we still could do more stuff, since still plenty of days till the take off from Lukla. Maybe we could do the pass from Gokyo to Thami, or expend a few more days here, resting, and/or on our way to Lukla, walking down lazily and expending a few extras nights on the villages on itís way.

    But, no, as much weíre happy to have done all we did and be on one of most spectacular places I ever saw from the whole planet, in locos or through media (TV, magazines, videos, photos, etc), we are anxious to go back to the so called ďcivilizationĒ. Little things as a good meal with a nice meat or a proper toilet or a proper shower are some of these things we miss dearly. We only can appreciate what we have when we got separated from it for a while. Cups of coffee and buttered bread are everyday morningís things in my life and I have been 30 days without it. Not much, you can say, but I miss it.

    You see, before we leave to Nepal, Marcťu and I agreed to not contemporize with lots of our previous life styles. Since this trek wll probably be a ďonce-in-lifeĒ experience, we would try to have it as simpler as possible, not looking at stuff that could bring to our trail consolation and souvenirs from our previous lifes. Thatís why we didnít get to go at bakers, discos, bars or look for the fancier supplies, as Coca-Colas and chocolates. Besides being onerous, things like this will only make the trek less a trek and more a tourist tour. Besides it, all of this stuff will taste great when we get at it back in Lukla or Kathmandu. This is our trekís philosophy. Iím not judging who does or doesnít do it at any level. Itís just that, for us, the trek would no be the same if we did it.

    So, the day 29 starts late, with a richer breakfast, lazy packing and lots of farewells. The nice owner lady offer us a pack of cream-cracker each, as a thank you for staying at her lodge, and ask that we make some recommendation of it on our way down, what I have done dutifully till Machermmo, when I give up doing so because the people who I meet still has to much climbing occupying their suffering minds and bodies to listen something about a lodge placed at a place that, for them, could be at the Moon for all their care. Like us before, their were a great deal more worried about the next ten meters for thinking about something still 1 or 2 days away. But until Pangka, I stoped and talked with every independent trekker.

    The descent from Gokyo is fast, mostly because the terrain is lots flatter than the Khumbuís trail. Ok, there is some heavy stuff to climb up and down, but itís lots less and with so less switchbacks that I almost didnít acknowledge it as worth a knee pain. Also, since we are walking at the hillside and the Gokyoís valley take all the view, the sights are great and immense. We keep ourselves at the right side. We came across several trekkers and one Belgian guy, Paul if Iím not mistaken, would be a kind of trail partner, since we meet him several times on the way.

    And we walk fast! Our batteries are all empty, so no more pictures. And the way is so broad that we didnít even stop to appreciate the views. We just walk, walk and walk. Very fast. The coughing is not helping much, but I managed to ignore it till we reached a place were we could buy some drops and oranges to help bear it better.

    I fall lots of times on this day, mostly at the steeper down climbs, where I almost dutifully hit my bottom on the dusty ground. But Iím not worried anymore. I just want be out of here ASAP!

    When, around 15h, we stop to expend some more long way carried food, just after getting at a small valley besides Dole. The vegetation are taller, what is a welcomed change of sight. There is a small river on itís bottom, where we set the stove and collect water. Dole itself is at the other side, but there is a steep and short climb to it, that we want avoid doing with empty stomachs.

    While the water boils, we rest. At the other riverís margin, a yak is calling for something. ďMuuuu-mu-mu-muuuuuĒ. What a hell it wants? It takes us a long time to figure out what SHE wants, but then Iím not a sympathizer of inter-species intimate relationships and I think she was more interested in my brother, who, with his long hair, is the more yak like thing around there. Several times we ďshooĒ it away throwing stones that hit only he ground. After a while, she perceives our not-horny dispositions and give up, going to look for something with bigger horns, more fur and four legged like.

    After eating and washing the stuff at the river, always a ordeal because the cold water, we head to Dole, where we find a kind of dirty village, but with nice beds on the lodge. There we expend a hero like night talking about our experiences on the trek to people who still going up. The food is horrible and I have to thanks the cook for all the extra free stones we get at our rice. I find 12 off reasonable size, besides the smaller ones that I didnít want have the trouble of fishing in my mouth and so just swallow it.

    There we meet the Spanish couple I talked before, last members of a failed organized trekking group, which has to give up trekking to the EBC on a tight schedule and got AMS after rushing to Tengboche. From the six people, they were the last 2 that, felling slight better, want now give Gokyo a try, so the whole trip wouldnít be for nothing. It is kind of sad see the disappointment of their faces. Today they had make a small acclimatization walk up the hillside after Dole and religiously counted time and other stuff. Seems a poor acclimatization for me and they say they arenít feeling so well, but will try Machermmo the very next day. So, this is a good example about how important is to have a good acclimatization on the way up. If you try to cut it so you can have a faster ascent, can happen that will have no ascent at all. Or at least a not enjoyable one at all.

    After talking, drinking, playing and eating half of the mountain rocks on our rice, we go sleep.

    And is SO nice to sleep at lower altitudes!!!

    To Be Continued...

    []'s

    Hendrik
    Last edited by Hendrik van Dingenen; 23rd April 2006 at 03:19 AM.

  9. #109

    Default Part XXVIII

    End of the trek! to celebrate it, more extra photos:


    Village of Phortse, build on the hillsides, as it can be see from Mong.


    Picture from Marcťu, of a female old lady porter, at the last of the "Hell's Ascents", this one to Mong.


    Farwell of Marcťu to the EBC.


    My farwell to the EBC. Goodbye, Everest! Goodbye, Ama Dablam! You guys are great and thanks for all the hills!

    Day 30

    So, we leave Dole very early on the day. When we are finishing our breakfast, the first other guests are starting to get in the dining room. We talk little, because Iím in such a hurry to get at Namche at last that donít want wait much more.

    The way to Namche passes like a blur for me. Besides one or two things, I donít remember a dim of it. I know that at some point we start to see bigger trees, what is now an alien sight, as alien as a bugged eyed monster from the 8th dimension of some parallel Universe. But we handle it well.

    Now there is more ups and downs, but short ones and because now we have trees, very shadowed ones also. The number of trekkers coming up increase a lot and doesnít pass 30 minutes without us bumping in a porter or trekker or, worst scenario, organized group with itís trekkers, porters and guides. You see, the trail is not that large and we are practically running on it. Before we would stop and politely give space to our trekking folk, but now we explore any free inch to get away as fast as possible.

    There is this time when we meet some other Brazilian trekkers going down, 4 of them, I think, and they are standing at a bend of the trail, waiting that a organized group climb itís way up, very slowly. I try to cross the guys and go away, but there was no space at all. One of the guys says to the other, in Portuguese: ďcan you believe this guy is trying to pass me HERE?Ē. Of course, as being a Brazilian myself, I understand all and just give a ďgood morningĒ back, and ask about the trivia: to where you go, how much time did you trek, from where you come from, etcÖ They are just 16 days at the trek. Iím at 30, so Iím lots more desperate. 1+1= I have absolute priority.

    When finally we get at Phortse Thanga, I see that a last climb still have to be done. This go to Mong village and is a hell of a climb. There we meet the Belgian guy again, who would sort of be company at the climb. We are exhausted from the dash down from Dole, but I spare no legs and no lugs to climb it as fast I could. Lots of trekkers coming down. A few porters going up, carrying absurdly big load on their backs, like wood planks. Just unbelievable. An old lady has a load much bigger than herself. Iím ashamed to say that the thought of helping her didnít even cross my mind. This one was focused on getting up, at Mong.

    I get there lots early than Marcťu. There, we see that the heat give an extra power to his batteries, so we took more photos. Strange, but happened with mine also, lots of times, inclusive on my way up the Sacred Lakes.

    From there, a gentle but crowed descent take us to my forking, where I almost cry of worry days ago. This time, is MY time to get the nice flat trail to Namche, direct ahead.

    Itís a nice trail, where we get the opportunity of kiss goodbye to the might mountains, before getting in Namche.

    There we go to our old lodge, where the owner fixes us a great lunch. While itís being made, we send some e-mails to family and closer friends, saying that all is OK and we are back with all legs and arms in place.

    SO nice to eat good food again, served in big portionsÖ after it, we leave some souvenir to the guy and leave Namche.

    The dreadful Namche ascent is now a long descent. This time, is my brother who eats my dust. Again, I fall a few times, much to the horror of fellow trekkers coming up, tired out their skulls. But I just stand up and say that Iím used to it and continue my way down. A cloud of dust is the only indicator of my passage.

    At the bottomís valley, I have the bad luck of being locked in the middle of a student expedition. They are just kids, for Zeuís sake! They walk so close to each other that over crossing them is impossible. Itís like a roadblock.

    When we get at Jorsale, the afternoon is well advaced to the dusk, but I want go to Monjo. So, I stop at Jorsale and wait for Marcťu and see what he says. There I meet the Belgian guy, again, who thinks about staying there, Jorsale, for the day. Iím tired myself, but feel that could get at Monjo. When Marcťu arrives, I see that heís lots tired than me and no way want or can go further, so Jorsale is our last stop of the trek.

    The lodge where we stay is nice and the river besides it gives a nice music for sleep. The other guests are mainly female, traveling with another female partner or alone. Their histories about encounter with Maoist are revealing. These guys are not so nice all the time and can be very rude, especially when too young to carry a gun and be given some authority. Weíre too tired to expend much time with small talk, so we go to bed early. Tomorrow is Lukla day and we still have to see about changing our flight tickets, so we donít have to expend several days at Lukla waiting for the 18/11 (today is 09/11, I think).

    To Be Continued...

    []'s

    Hendrik

  10. #110

    Default Part XXIX


    The remainings of the two trekkers, when finally they get in Lukla.


    Marcťu partying at a fancy bakery in Lukla. Note the large smily face.


    After 31 days eating Dhal, potatos or rice, and drinking lemon tea, this bakery was heaven on Earth. I mean: heaven on Lukla.

    Day 31

    Very short day. After leaving Jorsale, we find amazing how short is the walk to Lukla. OK, sometimes 1 hour walking under a hot Sun, climbing up and down over a dusty trail seems to take ages to be done, but before we realize it, weíre at the Parkís entrance. Again, weíre the first ones to leave. But is amazing how the other way around, 30 days ago, the same Parkís entrance-Jorsale part seemed to be much longer.

    The same goes to Monjo and the little village where we slept on the first day after leaving Lukla. The same goes to Phakding and all the villages on the way Ė but before Phakding we took by mistake a wrong trail that reveal itself, later, to be a shortcut. All pass very fast. Soon weíre at the bottomís valley where have to climb to Lukla. The bridge is made by now, so we avoid the scary and dangerous trails from before.

    This ascent is tiring, but I WANT, really, to get in Lukla so badly that I made it in one effort. Only the Choblung village fool me, because itís length is so big that I think always that Lukla is close.

    To make a long ascent short, when I get in Lukla is 11.00h. It took us around 3 to 4 hours to get here from Jorsale. Not so bad. Panting as crazy, I seat and wait for my brother, who gets there soon. Luckly the Sita Air office is open, so we can have info about the tickets. The girl there says is possible, yes. Just come back at the open office hours: 15.30-14.00 hours. Will do, for sure.

    So we go to our old lodge, where my brother leaved some of his stuff. We stay at the same room, with private toilet and shower. For the first time in days I can have a good dump, finally! After it, is the shower, the first after Dingboche, 14 days ago. There is no hot water yet. The guy says still a few hours till they turn the heater on. I canít wait and freeze myself with cold water. After me, is my brother who gets to put up with it. But is SO NICE to have a bathÖ I feel human again.

    Clean body in cleat clothes and off we go to have a lazy walk in Lukla, waiting for the lunch. We go to the airport, see how itís work. I ask a soldier where the entrance is, but he doesnít speak English. But we find a bakery! Ha-ha-ha! Wait till noonÖ

    We hang there for a while, observing the coming and go of trekkers, arrived from the trek or from Kathmandu. Lots of porters carry their loads to and from the airport. Perfumed trekkers mix with the not so clean ones, depending on which side of the trail you are. The end side shows more barbed and smelly guys, as we self, with tired but mission fulfilled faces. The start side shows baby faces and happy guys, who normally donít know what really waits for them the next days.

    We go back to the lodge, where we have a nice meal. After, we rest, read, catch a lazy sun under the dining room windows and go see about the tickets. The guy there says that is no problem and we can go the very next day, at 7 oíclock. I feel radiant! All goes well. Is almost unbelievable!

    With the new tickets on our hands, we go to the bakery we saw close to the airport. Once there, I only can say that is the most close thing of paradise I ever saw. Cakes! Breads! Coffee! Croissants! We eat, eat, eat, drink, drink, and drink! Itís expensive, but who cares? We deserve it! And itís so tastyÖ Tomorrow for sure the breakfast will be here.

    After having that large snack, we go to the lodge, where after a while we order the dining and expend some time watching the local TV showing some strong guy kicking some bad ass. I have seem a few programs as this one and in all, the guy seems be the same. Nevermind.

    Time to bed. Tomorrow is the little plane carnival! I have listened so many things about getting is a plane at Lukla that Iím not sure weíll really leave tomorrow.

    To Be Continued...

    []'s

    Hendrik

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