7:30’ish is our trekking time everyday. We didn’t plan on it. It just became a habit. We are getting about 10 hours of sleep a day and sometimes, naps in the afternoons. That’s sort of life at a tea house in the high mountains of Nepal. We also drink un-godly amounts of masala tea. Doug would order a big pot of “tatopani” or hot water (more like giant thermos) every night so he can drink to keep his core body warm. I, on the other hand need to do a better job of hydrating myself in the evenings. We packed some orange flavored Tang mix because it’s the only way I would be able to drink because just water doesn’t motivate me to drink at all at high altitude but I really have to keep hydrating.
The first half of the trek to Thorung Phedi was nice. We passed some old yak herd empty buildings and the views were spectacular. We followed the trail down to the river and once again, saw the porters we keep team tagging. The two porters with green North Face expedition bags and big orange pants. They were the French group porters. These porters were very professional and speaks good English. They always greet us when we see each other on the trail. Sometimes we pass them and sometimes they pass us. It’s kinda fun seeing them on the trails as they are so happy with smiling faces all the time. Their guide is with the French group and we chatted with him at a tea house. I am really impressed of the guide’s experience and professionalism. I didn’t get a chance to find out the name of the company because I would highly recommend them to other trekkers looking for guides or porters.
We crossed an old wood bridge then started climbing on a short switch back section to a little tea house on top. I was right behind the porter and we had a good pace going up. It’s really always impressive to see how strong the porters climb with a big load on their backs. I’m always in awe watching them navigate through snow and mud. They are fast! I tried to keep up with the porter and we were able to crest up to the tea house. The porters took a little break, usually 5 mins as they told me when we first met them in Chame. I asked the tea house owner for a toilet and he laughed! He said every where outside is the toilet and continued to laugh. I went behind the tea house and saw a beat up little shack. There was no door. I squatted and pee’d fast before someone comes along. I really had to go!
The next section is a bit tricky and scary. We approached a sign with a warning for rock falls so we need to walk gently. It’s a very sensitive landslide area and it’s about 500 meters in distance, I believe. We trekked slowly and quietly. A few small rocks slid but not bad. There were a few inclines uphill and being at about 14,000+ ft, we needed a break every 10-15 steps uphill as our heart rate is jacked up being nervous at the same time. We stopped and rested at a protected barrier holding the rock falls on the side of the trail. We reached the end of that section with a big sigh of relief!
We started to climb a bit more and just around the corner is Thorung Phedi. We arrived at the gate into the village and there’s probably about four or five lodges. We headed to a lodge called Thorung Base Camp and asked for a room. A man with long haired dreadlocks showed us our room with an attached toilet. He was the owner. I thought he was very rasta looking. A hat, black eye glasses and long dreadlocks. It was interesting. We got to know him a bit more later that afternoon and shared some laughs talking about his St. Bernards. One of his St. Bernards had somewhat of a hip problem and Doug being a vet tech was able to chat a bit about dog stuff.
We dropped our packs in the room and opened the curtains for some good afternoon sun. The dining room is on the opposite side of our room and down some steps.
What a surprise!
I walked in to the dining room and saw two St. Bernards behind the reception counter. I was so immediately wanting to pet but the lady owner, told me not to because they are still young and she didn’t want them to be use to strangers. They looked so cute!
I sat down, ordered me cinnamon roll and hot chocolate. The dining room felt like a very reggae, holistic and 70’s kind atmosphere. There was background music, reggae of course!
My cinnamon roll and hot chocolate came and I devoured it. As soon as Doug came in, the kitchen delivered a large basket of bread rolls and more cinnamon rolls. Where the heck am I? I asked myself silently with a lot of little happy heart beat. This is so awesome! The cinnamon rolls were hot and delicious. The hot chocolate really hit the spot. Doug ordered hot ramen soup. I again ordered a big bread roll after that giant cinnamon roll!
The next day would be our ascent day and it will be a very long day. I was thankful for the breads and was pleasantly surprised the tea house had fresh bread. Score! We couldn’t get enough of the breads so later that mid-afternoon, we ordered a very large chocolate roll plus more hot chocolate. We were on serious carb loading…
A guy on a mountain bike just arrived huffing and puffing. He parked his bike and got his room while we were out enjoying the warm sun. We found out later after talking to him that he came from the pass, however it was still clear and sunny then. We sat outside of our room. A few trekkers were having lunch and they were going to High Camp which is another hour and a half of tough ascent. High Camp is about 16,170 ft or 4900 m. We couldn’t acclimate that fast. That’s another 500 m from Thorung Phedi where we are on top of the ascent from Yak Kharka. No way, however I was really impressed of the determination and focus the trekkers had going to High Camp. It was more than our bodies will be able to handle.
It started snowing in Thorung Phedi around 1:00pm. It started out with just a few flurries then it started to dump later in the afternoon. I was wishing for my snowboard with all that fresh snow. It didn’t stop at all and kept dumping. We were hoping that it would let up. I’m going to need more bread that day with all this snow. I was still hungry. It snowed all afternoon and into the night. We were concerned and worried how the pass would be with all the snow. I was worried about my shoes. A trail running shoes, not even Gortex. The shoes is not made for deep snow. I was worried about frostbite. Doug had a better shoes and it’s Gortex so it’s somewhat water proof. As worried as I was, I still got a good night sleep. In fact, it was hard to get up at 4:00am, have breakfast and start trekking in the dark!
That was the start of the next day…