Trekking from Monjo to Namche Bazar
Thursday 5th January 2006.
Trek day 3: Monjo to Namche Bazar.
I had a reasonable nightâ€™s sleep despite fighting my sleeping bag again. It is very cosy and warm enough but I find movement in the bag to be very restrictive. Over the last ten years or so I have been spoiled by always sleeping in a queen size bed. Even when we have been camping in recent times we have used sheets and blankets rather than sleeping bags. Our most recent sleeping bag was a double anyway, so extra movement is possible.
Todayâ€™s walk promised to be the toughest so far. The scheduled time was four hours but it was mostly uphill at a very demanding gradient. At breakfast I had to force myself to eat to build up necessary energy for the dayâ€™s effort. The horrible feeling of dread I felt this morning can be compared to the anxiety I sometimes feel in the dentistâ€™s waiting room. You know that itâ€™s going to hurt at some stage and you want it to be all over and finished.
The track was quite level for the first half hour as it followed just above the Dudh Kosi, or Milk River. The constant white foam as the water cascades over thousands of rocks and boulders gives the water a milky colour. There were a few sections of climbing or dropping back down but the overall going was moderate. There were even some opportunities to take in the views, though this had to be done very carefully to avoid tripping or falling. My blistered feet did not give too much pain until near to Namche when I was aware of a new blister on my left heel.
The paths here are sometimes smooth gravel surfaces gently going up or down, rarely level. On these one can stretch out the pace and not have to worry about falling. On these occasions one can look around at the scenery, or take in the intricate details of the village houses, or marvel at the sheer magnitude of the mountains surrounding you, like some towering giant hovering overhead. Just when you think the going is really pleasant, a sharp rise will bring you back to reality.
Sometimes the rocks have been placed to make easy stepping stones or a rock-formed staircase. Most of the time one has to pick your way carefully over a jumble of loose rocks, trying to find the easiest path and always being aware of potentially twisting an ankle â€“ or worse. This makes going downhill sometimes even more treacherous than going uphill.