Our wakeup call today is about 5:45. The guide brings me a cup of hot water and I add some green tea leaves that I have brought from home. I am really appreciative of the support staff on this trek. I sip my tea and pack up my gear into a duffel bag, then go out for a breakfast of rice porridge, eggs, plums, and a sweet doughy bread that has been prepared by the Kamal and Gimmoy. After breakfast, Wong and I put on our boots and head out with Sonam while the rest of the crew breaks down the camp and loads the horses with the gear. They then set out for the next camping site and set it all up again and are usually there waiting for our arrival. The support crew really do make this a pleasant experience and quite frankly, probably the only way I could have done the trek this year.
Today is a short hike, should only take about 3.5 hours but the path is steep. We are climbing from our current camping height of 13,800 feet to our next camp at just over 16,000 feet. There are some spectacular view along the way today. This is what I came trekking for and I am glad I have my camera with me so I can share what I see.
Today we see more of the tables with the mantra carved rocks on them. Sonam tells me they are carved in memory of a loved one. Or, in some cases when a person is caught stealing or committing other crimes they are required to carve these stones or to build some of the primitive Stupas we see along the trails as part of their punishment. It is seen as a way to repair or clean their karma.
With the short hike today we have a hot lunch and get settled into our camp. We have a great pasta dish with grilled vegetables and are told to eat quite a bit and to rest this afternoon. Tomorrow is supposed to be a long day with a two hour climb up to a pass that will take us just over 17,000 ft and then a long 5-6 hour descent. I actually haven’t felt too sore from all of the walking. Sonam is telling us that the long descent is actually harder for some than the climbing….. will find out tomorrow!