Today we trekked from Pangboche to Kunde - a long seven hour day. Just over 10km, but a lot of vertical which pretty much doubled the distance. It seems so strange to be heading home already after coming over this bridge and this route not that long ago.
The high point of the day would have been on the descent from Tengboche - a nasty long hill that we climbed just a few days ago. Jeff and I were at the back of the pack with our head Sherpa Nima, when he got a little grin on his face and asked us if we wanted to try the "Nepali short cut". He proceeded to turn off the main trail and head pretty much straight down - Jeff and I leaped frogged to the front of out team, crossing this bridge 30 minutes before anyone else. I am fairly certain the trail we took would not have been approved by Parks Canada!
More prayer stones, these ones beside the trail on the route to Kunde. When they are in the middle of the trail (right picture), tradition dictates one always walks to the left of them,
On the left, our destination, the neighbouring villages of Khunjung and Kunde. On the right, one of many reasons for Kiwis to be proud - the Hillary School in Kunde.
Where do trekkers stay in Nepal? "Tea houses" Tea houses are lodges and vary quite a bit in terms of comfort. The one pictured here is where we are staying tonight. The rooms are simple and small but very clean. A room will typically have two single beds and just enough space for gear. The facilities are down the hall and hot showers cost extra - as does wifi and simply charging an electronic device - electricity is a commodity that is for sale in this part of Nepal. As one gets farther up the trail and closer to EBC the lodges become more and more frugal and more and more expensive. In Kathmandu, a bottle of water costs 50 rupees - at Gorek Shep near EBC it costs 350 rupees. Why the jump in price? As you will recall everything is carried up here on a Yak or porters back.
Inside the tea house - the common room is the hub of activity where all meals are served and people sit and unwind. The rooms are not heated so the fire in the common room is a huge draw. And of course, the tea!
Our last view of Everest as we leave Tengboche after a rest break on the trail. Tomorrow, Namche Bazaar.
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Olav Krigolson is a neuroscientist at the University of Victoria who has authored over 40 academic papers and given over 150 talks and presentations.