We had a great and eventful day today and acclimatizing for our next step up the mountain. We started out with our usual pig out breakfast then headed up the hill (STAIRSTEPS!!) and visited the Everest View Hotel. While we were hanging out near the hotel, the clouds parted long enough to give us our first glimpse of Lhotse and Everest- ever so briefly. The Sherpa were nonchalant about the whole thing and told us 'It's the middle one' but we still didn't really know what we were looking at. Finally we sorted it out and were almost as thrilled as we were watching Ngima Dorji Sherpa put his leg behind his head while standing up (you had to be there). Liz was somehow able to contain herself and refrained from breaking out in a refrain of 'The Sound of Music'; I think she is saving herself for Everest Base Camp. We then headed down the hill to Khumjung (3780m, 12,450 ft), saw our first group of full-blooded yaks and a lot of potato fields, and had a lovely lunch. Next we headed up to the Khumjung Buddhist Monastery where we got to go inside and were treated to a rare viewing of a Yeti skull. (Glenn said it looked a lot like his mother-in-law). Finally, we stopped by Kunde and the local hospital there and talked with their Health Care worker Mingma Sherpa. Mingma has been working in this clinic for almost 30 years without a day off and is on call 24/7. I will never complain about my call schedule again!
On the way back to Namche, we came across a Nepali who had fallen off the trail and was in and out of consciousness. His hiking partner said that prior to the fall he was complaining of headache and nausea, and was feeling very weak. When we came up on him he was groaning and bleeding from the skull. Due to quick work by the Scottish super-docs Chris and Sam, along with Chris Clark, Barry, Deja and Clay, our fallen Nepali was up and dancing, wiping the ketchup off his forehead and proceeding on down the hill. Yes, this was a 'scenario' schemed up by Suzi, Kirstie, Pranav, Chris Clark and Liz to test our wilderness medicine acumen. But, uh-oh- no one told the Sherpas it was a 'scenario'. Lucky for us they did not call the helicopters or the Sherpa Yak ambulance.
I wanted to say a word about our Sherpas. We write a lot about ourselves and each other but we rarely give the attention due to the people that make all of this possible. We have a great group of Sherpas. They are up first serving us tea, keep us organized, try to contain their frustration when we don’t claim the meal that we just ordered, herd us like so many white hairless Yaks, wait on us while 10 of us each take 13 pictures of the exact same scene, and go to bed after us.
Wangchou Sherpa is the real Papa Sherpa, getting us off to a good start in Kathmandu, telling us 'NO MEAT, NO ALCOHOL' on the trail, and organizing everything. He runs a well-organized company. On the trail, Pasang Sherpa is the boss- but he does it with patience and a smile, looking after both us and the other Sherpas. Phula Sherpa treats us like Yaks, huffing at us and whipping us with a stick to get us to go in the right direction- and he is our group photographer (he knows what he is doing in this area too). He went from Lukla to Base Camp in 3 days one time! Ang Dawa Sherpa supposedly has never cut his beard- but you would never know that! Chong Nuri Sherpa is tall- as tall or taller than most of us. That helps him see farther up the mountain and keeps us out of trouble. Ngima Dorji Sherpa is the baby of the bunch- the youngest of the group. Dorji Sherpa is the oldest and has summitted Everest twice- and tries his best to not have to speak English. Thank you Sherpas!
My overwhelming sense today is that of humility. Everything here humbles me and makes me feel truly blessed. The immense and striking mountains humble me. The Sherpas make me feel small. The people I am privileged to be trekking with our way out of my league and I feel fortunate to be hanging out with them. I am learning so much. Just the immensity, vastness, and grandeur that surround us almost bring me to my knees sometimes. We are so lucky.
Signing out from Namche
(Hi Shelley and Danielle- I miss you!!)
(Missing my good friends from Fresno…..I will be ready for some wine when I return for sure!
Love Deja LaMoure)
Namaste and hugs to the fam in Philly and NYC, and get better soon to Norm!! Thinking of you! Love, Lizzie
Just a lil shout out to Mama Stewart!!