June 24, 2014 - Trek to Bhandar

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June 24, 2014 - Trek to Bhandar  

We were awoken by five minutes of scales played on what sounded like the lovechild of a piano and a car horn. The time was 5:50, ten minutes before morning tea. Today was, as usual, the hardest day : four hours uphill and an hour and a half downhill according to the Chief aka Ang Phula. In reality, the time taken depended on who you were: a member of the slow group, a member of the fast group, or Stephanie, who ended up with a personal trekking guide. The split happened around half an hour in, as our trek leader Nema barreled furiously up the mountain, leaving me, Olivia, Yvonne, Jennifer and Kelly in the dust. Thankfully, we had with us Ang Phula and his always helpful commentary. During our seventh rest stop, he described us as being “sooo faaaast”. How much longer until we get to the lunch spot? “Just 25 more minutes.” An hour and twenty minutes later, led by the valiant Jennifer (who practically started sprinting when she saw the place), we breathlessly stumbled into the lunch lounge to a round of applause. But between the frequent breathers and boy talk, the slow group had quite a blast. I attempted to convince Kelly that teal, not Carolina blue, was his real favorite color. We are making progress, as he can now distinguish green from blue-green. And after remaining maturely silent (but definitely eavesdropping) during our boy talk, Kelly concluded, “That explains a lot of things in my life.” The slow group tried hard to retain our dignity as we were passed by thirty high schoolers from Pennsylvania, followed by an elderly couple from New Zealand. Jennifer could not help but compare our team to the high schoolers, “They’re all staying together in a group. We are not. :(“ 

I am proud to report that we eventually reached camp before dark, were led by Grace in doing a short yoga routine, played Duck Duck Goose with the local children, and had the fifth meal in a row containing potatoes (it was delicious). In summary, everyone is sore but alive, well-fed, and happy to have completed “the hardest day”. 

Day in Numbers (estimated):

Leeches spotted: 3 (2 in Dylan and Olivia’s tent, 1 attached to Jennifer’s heel)
Stool updates from Adam: 6
First-time duck duck goose players: 4 adorable children
Time until lunch according to Ang Phula: 25 minutes
Time until lunch in reality: one hour and twenty minutes
Different ways Chef Pemba knows to prepare potatoes: at least 17, at this rate