Friday, December 16, 2011

Nepal Trek Day Nine: Phortse - Pangboche

Over the next three weeks, I'm taking a trip down memory lane with a look back at our trip to Nepal last December. For all of the entries about our trek, click here.

My chest cold worsened overnight in Phortse. I was awake for most of the night coughing up a storm. When I finally fell asleep, it was a semi-lucid sleep, in which I thought I was dreaming about singing, but apparently I was humming like a crazy person. D spent the evening flashing his headlamp in my direction to get me to wake up and shut up. I'm sure our neighbors in the rooms surrounding us loved all the noise I was unconsciously making all night. Oh well. 

Following breakfast, I finally took the first dose of levaquin, a strong antibiotic we had on hand with us, to combat my respiratory issues. (D consulted his doctor friend in Laramie before we left as to what we should have with us, and he suggested levaquin, vicodin (in case of broken limbs on the trail), and ambien (for the long plane rides to and from Nepal). (If only we had also gotten some diamox!) 

Following breakfast, we packed up our stuff and headed out on the trail to Pangboche. I think today marked the worst of it in terms of walking steeply up and down trails alongside ledges. I had a bit of a moment when I was stymied by about four feet of loose-gravel-covered trail located on a steep downward angle alongside a deep ravine. I was paralyzed with fear as I watched Dilip nonchalantly walk past me carrying our large pack and saw the trail give way slightly underneath his weight. Bharat came back to me and took me arm to lead me across the small portion of trail. Soon after, he took my pack, which he carried on his front, while he carried his own on his back, for the rest of the day. Without the added weight on my back, I felt a little bit sturdier and balanced on the trail, though I still spent most of the day in abject fear of falling over the edge. As I wrote in my journal, "For several hours, my eyes were glued solely on the trail ahead of me and where I would next place my foot -- and not at that steep drop-off to my right." (Dramatic much?) Long story short, I don't have many pictures from the day's hike, as my camera was in my bag carried by Bharat, and I really wasn't so interested in taking pictures at the time, anyway.

Once we arrived at our lodge in Pangboche (which was a glorious sight to behold that day), I headed directly to our room, where I stripped off a few layers, and then took a much-needed nap. Given the lack of sleep from the previous night, I managed to sleep through lunch. Around 3p I roused myself awake and D and I headed out to explore the village. One funny thing was that there was a group from REI camped out in the courtyard in front of our lodge (perhaps the very REI trip we had initially looked at being a part of?) -- I have to say I was very glad we opted to stay in teahouses rather than tent camp. I can't imagine how cold it must've been to overnight in a tent, especially at the higher elevations along the way. We were frozen many nights, even in our lodge rooms!

 {death-defying trail to Pangboche}

{village view}

 {arriving at our lodge in Pangboche}

 {REI camp in the courtyard below our lodge}

 {carved rocks}

{Pangboche}

{Pangboche stupa}

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