Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nepal Trek Day Four: Namche - Dole

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.

1. Leaving Namche, 2. A view of the trail yet to come, 3. Donation to maintain EBC trekking trails, 4. D giving our donation and signing the book, 5. Along the trail, 6. Mountain view, 7. Along the trail, 8. Along the trail, 9. Along the trail, 10. Village view, 11. Along the trail, 12. Lunch menu, 13. View outside dining room window, 14. Cloud-shrouded mountains, 15. Along the trail, 16. Frozen waterfall, 17. Along the trail, 18. Moss-covered trees, 19. Moss up close, 20. Yak!, 21. Trail view, 22. Welcome to Dole, 23. Dole yak, 24. Dilip striking a pose, 25. Dole lodge dining room, 26. Squat toilet (slightly frozen), 27. Dole lodge room, 28. Foggy view, 29. Lodge menu, 30. Dusk

After a breakfast of lemon pancakes with honey for me and porridge with apples for D, we packed up our gear and were on the trail around 8a. Today was the first day that I really met my nemesis -- trails along steep ledges. I think it's not so much a fear of heights as it is a fear of falling. (Seems to me there's a difference there; I don't particularly mind being somewhere high so long as I have stable footing.) It didn't help that most of the trails are covered in gravel, meaning it's quite easy to lose one's footing. By the end of the day I had a deep pain in my back, I think mainly due to stress tension and being so "on" in my alertness to avoid tripping over loose gravel.

After a lunch break in Phortse Thanga, we continued on our way to Dole. The walk there (though treacherous at times for me) was absolutely stunning. Part of the trail meandered through a shady copse with moss hanging from the trees' branches. As our trail climbed in elevation we passed by several frozen waterfalls. Near one such waterfall we stepped to the side as a family (mom, dad, child, and yak) made there way past us across the small bridge. They were headed down to spend the winter months with family members living in lower elevations.

We arrived in Dole around 3p. At the lodge here, our room featured two twin beds with delightfully-thick comforters and the bathroom was a private squat toilet (our first, and I was rather nervous to give it a go) located down the outside hallway. I took a short nap before heading into the dining room, which already had a roaring fire in the stove. D and I both read a bit and I warmed up with a satisfying mug of hot chocolate. I also spent a good portion of the afternoon staring out the window watching the clouds roll in, obscuring the view of the mountains surrounding Dole.

At Bharat's suggestion, D and I both ordered the veggie sherpa stew (thick vegetarian soup with tubular pasta, carrots, leafy greens, and potatoes), steamed potato momo (dumplings), and popcorn (!) for dinner. All the food definitely hit the spot. D and I both called it a night around 7p. Due to the lack of lighting aside from solar-powered lightbulbs, which aren't particularly bright, there wasn't much reason to stay up any later. 

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