Kiersten the trekker

This was the most physically challenging day of the trek.

Chapati, breakfast of champions

With little time to recover from the previous day of exertion, the journey from Tolka to Chomrong really only left us a few hundred meters higher than where we started.  In the interim, every time we climbed 500 meters we could look out across the valley and see our next destination.  Frustratingly, we would have to go all the way down into the valley and right back up again before arriving at the next town.

Just when I felt like opening my mouth to complain about the heavy backpack weighing on my back and shoulders, we passed a group of local village people hauling 10 times my load up and down the paths.  At twice my speed.  With the load strapped only to their foreheads.  Smoking cigarettes!

Bearing the load

The porters, known locally as bhaarias, carry loads for trekkers and bring supplies to remote villages.  It was not uncommon throughout the trek to see a porter carrying a giant canister of kerosene or dozens of glass soda bottles up the mountains.

So in the end I shut up about my measly back pack and marched on in awe of the superior will power and strength of the porters.

Hillside village - a la Lord of the Rings?

The last haul of the day was a long, nearly vertical climb to the village of Chomrong (2210m).  At the top of the ridge I flung myself onto a large slab of rock.  Two other trekkers had the same idea, for it was there that we met Elena, a Spanish doctor working in England, and her companion, Remco, a very nice Dutch man.  They had met treking to Everest Base Camp and were also winded from the long climb.

Child in the field

This was the first of many encounters we would have with Elena and Remco.  I was surprised to find that teahouse trekking is a fairly social event.  Tim and I ran into the same people over and over again – at lodges, on the trail, at lunch or over tea, even later in the big cities.  In this way I met fascinating people from all over the world, and hopefully I’ll be able to stay in touch with some of them!

When the sun began to set we realized we had been talking (stalling) for nearly an hour, and the four of us decided to keep walking in search of a place to sleep.  We settled on the Excellent View Lodge (which did in fact have an excellent view), and there we met Jan and Lydia, two more Dutch travelers on their way to Base Camp.

After being schooled in a game of Go Fish by a Swiss man who had never played in his life (I’m skeptical), I decided to head to bed, hopeful that the soreness of the past two days would abate by morning.

Excellent View