Observations while Trekking in Nepal
Monday 9th January 2006.
Trek Day 7 Namche to Phakding
As I write this in my journal one of the lodge workers has just come in to light the fire. It still takes quite a while for the dining room to warm up. Then after dinner when we are sitting around talking, listening to the guitar or reading, the fire makes the room hot enough to start taking off layers put on during the late afternoon. Later, at bedtime, one has to rug up again ready to brave the outside air to go to our freezing room. Even in lodges where we do not have to go outside to get to the room the air is far cooler away from the heater. Thankfully our sleeping bags are very warm.
Every evening during the trek drinking water is boiled for us and then our water bottles are topped up ready for the dayâ€™s hike. Most of us had at least two of these flasks, each containing a litre of water. Many others in the trekking group used these flasks to heat their sleeping bags before they crawled into them for the night. I didnâ€™t need to do that; I didnâ€™t want a cold lump around my feet at four oâ€™clock in the morning.
Buildings along the track
The buildings along the trek route are amazing. Most have been made using local granite, hand cut to shape. They fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. We passed a stone quarry this afternoon, the workersâ€™ chisels and stone axes making beautiful chinking music that wafted down the valley as we walked along.
The porters never fail to amaze me with their incredible strength. We passed two porters carrying 4 or 5 sheets of 5-ply. Each sheet was 8 feet by 4 feet. Amazing â€“ I have trouble carrying just one and here they were taking them up the mountain. On another occasion I saw two other porters carrying what looked like verandah posts. They were 2.4 metres (8 feet) long and about 10cm by 10cm and they were each carrying 14 of these posts.
The nimble-footedness of the guides is also something that amazes me. I feel very clumsy as I plod along. They sometimes race ahead and go back to check on something and they go at three times my speed, sometimes even running. As they walk behind me making such slow progress they chatter away in Nepalese. I can hardly get enough air and they start singing or whistling. I sometimes wondered if they were having a good laugh at my expense. Never mind â€“ I rose to the challenge and made it to the top. I did it my way â€“ slow and steady.