Sunday, 13 Nov

Posted: November 21, 2011 in Trekking / トレッキング

Today was a great day. We were woken up by Peter’s porter banging on the door telling him that breakfast was ready. They had decided that to leave Deurali early and make the dash to Annapurna Base Camp – a climb of 900 metres. I thought that wasn’t a wise idea for us at this altitude. So we were just going to walk to Machhapuchhre Base Camp – a climb of only 400 metres. The room was very cold last night. In fact our thermometer read minus 1 degrees. We hurried to the dining hall and had a simple breakfast of lemon tea, Gurung bread and an omelette. The portions in all these lodges are big and so we have decided to order few dishes and then share. This is especially true for breakfast where it’s not good to eat too much. We have learnt the lesson of the pizza breakfast.

We said goodbye to Peter; there’s a chance we might meet him coming down as we are going up but there are so many people climbing up this valley we may miss him. The walk today was great; very few steps, not too much up and down, just a gentle up hill slope. The path has now met the Modi Khola river and for part of the way we were walking beside it. At one point we came across some snow lying the beside the cliff of the valley wall. We realised that this was the aftermath of an avalanche. The snow wasn’t on the path and there wasn’t a lot of it but it was a reminder that this was avalanche territory. The valley is now about 100 metres wide. There are very few trees and we have left all the bamboo behind. Now it’s only grass and small plants. It was cloudy for much of today so we couldn’t see the mountains above and behind the valley walls. The avalanches are a silent danger. The snow starts moving high on the mountains above and then falls suddenly into the valley in which we are walking. Narayan said that a week ago the whole valley above Deurali was covered in snow. It has all melted now which is good for us. We walked from 9 to 12:30 and when we arrived at Machhapuchhre Base Camp the place was completely in cloud. There are 4 large lodges but also today there were some tents. Some of them were identical and in a regimental line so I think that must be an organised trip. I wouldn’t want to be in a tent tonight! We had a soup lunch and then went to bed from about 2pm to 5pm. It was so cold. I’m now in the dining room writing this diary with pen and paper. The batteries on the iPhone and camera are pretty low and I’m saving them for Annapurna Base Camp tomorrow.

In other news I seem to be damaging international relations at every opportunity. Across from us at the dining table last night was a chap who must have been in his early 70s. He was speaking English and after a few minutes our eyes met and I asked him where in England he was from. “I’m from Australia!” was his reply. It turned out that he left England with his parents when he was 16. This is his 7th trip to Nepal so he’s quite a veteran. He’s one of the people who wanted to go on a trek near Mount Everest but because of the bad weather he changed his plans. A few days ago we also met some middle-aged European women and I asked them if they were from Italy only to be told they were from Spain! We met them again on the trail and they were genuinely worried about Julian because he was being slow and no communicative. Despite being the poorest speakers of English on the whole Annapurna Route, they got the message across that Julian should walk slowly and drink lots of water. They gave him some chocolate which of course was bound to cheer him up. Whenever we saw them again, I always urged Julian to smile and pretend to be ultra happy lest I receive another ticking off from the Spanish witches. (I bet they were nurses!)

Before going to bed I gave Narayan one of our precious hot patches. I hope it kept him warm because we were freezing in our room…

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