Today we got our first sighting of Mera Peak and it might be a trekking mountain but it's big, scarily big. For the first time I was grabbed by a challenge of climbing it, both the excitement about getting to the top and concern that I might not be able to do it. I got the same feeling when I started the walk along the E4 last year.
|First hazy sight of Mera (the one in the middle!)|
I opened my tent flap first thing this morning and this was view, the Gunda, not bad!
My second night in the tent was a big improvement on the first, finally got all the buttons and cords worked out in the sleeping bag and it's now a lot warmer. Included with me in the sleeping bag is one of those metal drink tins full of hot water, socks and underwear for the morning, camera and iPhone. They all seem to have a mind of their own and get very uncomfortable as they move around.
The tents are excellent, brand new I think and three of us have our own tent, not quite sure how the allocation of tents worked but I'm not arguing. Might be a bit colder on your own but I'm sure it's easier to sleep.
Getting to work out who everyone is in terms of the rest of the group and I think everyone is pretty comfortable together. It's a completely different group to one I went around the Annapurna with, less jokes and conversation but still good fun.
|The group - less Marc (his picture!)|
In addition to me the group consists of Nigel and his son Kerry, both very fit particularly the 29 year old son; Alistair, who works for Exodus, very experienced and chief humorist; Marc a very thin and fit young French software engineer who lives in Ipswich; Big John some sort of high tech person with BT who is carrying a big frame up and down the mountains; and, finally Chris from Belgium a biotechnologist and another experienced walker, a funny man with a penchant for bright coloured fleeces.
Today's walk was another tough one up out of the village, 300 metre climb over a pass and then an 1100 metre drop down one side of a valley and a 900 metre climb up the other. We ate lunch at the bottom of valley not far from a river that had cut out a gorge with towering cliffs on either side. The net effect of this is a camp tonight slightly lower than last night with what could be, in the morning, great views to Mera Peak.
It's great countryside, despite the humid air which is obscuring the views, with very friendly locals. People here clearly don't see many trekkers and the children in particular and the older people as well were quick to share smiles, clasp their hands together and issue the "nameste" greeting. I much prefer this style of walking through rural Nepal to the hustle and bustle of the Annapurna Circuit.
|New prayer flag pole|
Walking down the hillside we were able to join a ceremony raising a prayer flag pole. The event was celebrating the visit of a New Zealand couple who had dedicated a significant proportion of their lives to supporting the local community. They had financed various local projects including putting solar panels on the local school. They were now in their seventies and this was going to be their last visit, having decided that the walk from Lukla was just too much. Anyway the ceremony was good fun but given the steepness of the rest of the descent we were careful not to drink much of the local brew which was being passed around.
Despite the efforts of the New Zealanders this is clearly a very poor part of Nepal. The weaved grass panelled houses, which had been replaced by stone built houses in other villages we have seen, are the norm here.
Checked my numbers in terms of the crew, counting the porters bring the climbing gear there are 29 people trying to get 7 of us to the top of Mera Peak. This really does feel like an expedition.
Well John, here we are again following your big adventure. I trust everything will be OK.ReplyDelete
Have a good walk tomorrow.