Upwards!

Lydia and Jan warned us the night before that each village after Chomrong had no more than 4 lodges with no more than 6 rooms each.  It’s common that these lodges fill up quickly during the high tourist seasons, and Tim and I didn’t want to be sleeping in the lodge kitchen.  So we did the math and resolved to start out early to secure premium shelter space.

Well, it turns out we weren’t the only ones with that idea, because at 6:30am there was a mass-exodus of white people from Chomrong down into the river valley and back up a second mountain into the village of Sinuwa.

This was not the pleasant, easy-going trekking I had experienced the days before.  I felt consumed by a competitive monster, intent on beating out the enemy teams.  Each person we passed became subject to my censorship.  “Okay, the Ukranian family has porters – no way I’m catching up to them,” or “I’ve got 40 years on that Australian guy – see ya, Old Man!”  You get the idea.

Base Camp this way

We caught up with Lydia and Jan, who had stopped for a mid-morning meal in Sinuwa.  Though I was feeling a little hungry myself, I decided to snack on a granola bar and keep on truckin’ — secretly happy that we had the chance to pass by all of the other diners.

By the time we emerged from the bamboo and rhododendron forests, I was famished and glad to find a nice lodge with a bed and hot meal.  It gave me a little satisfaction to watch the other trekkers catch-up, but I decided that I hated this form of “race-trekking.”  I had been so stressed that I barely took time to enjoy the scenery and I enjoyed the hike far less than the previous two days.  I resolved to chill out for the remainder of the journey (which proved to be a good idea – we found ample accommodation everywhere).

Clear, sunny day

At the lodge we ran into our friends Elena and Remco, and met a whole host of other interesting people, including one highly entertaining Greek Man, a very nice American-Israeli guy, and a group of trekkers from Spain – one of whom was reading the Spanish translation of the book that I was reading (Pillars of the Earth – good read, I recommend it).

This was the first night that I felt how cold the high-altitude mountain air could be, and also the night that I developed a head cold that would stay with me until I descended from Base Camp.  But I considered myself lucky that I hadn’t developed any stomach viruses or traveler’s “ailments.”  Can you imagine trekking in the wilderness for 10 days with Montezuma’s revenge?  The thought makes me shudder!

***

Tim took some really amazing pictures, so I’ve combined the best of our Day 3 shots into a slide show.  It’s a relatively new feature on wordpress.com, so let me know if you have any difficulties viewing.  Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements