sunrise over camp
We woke up to a brilliant morning, sunrise at 4:45 am. The sky was clear then progressively developed that hazy look that when you are away from Toronto you know is natural and not smog.
We did a fair bit of up and down but overall lost 1000m elevation today. Camp is in a local schoolyard. The kids were playing volleyball around the tents and watching all the commotion and chaos. Dale gave his pencils, erasers and his spare books to the school. There are 79 students who attend the school, they attend till they are 16 then it is a two hour walk to continue their education. As a result the majority don’t.
Gastro has hit the team with Helene, Juri, Dave, Michel, Yanick all succumbing. The day progressed quite slowly.
At one of the small villages we came through, two young men were playing a Nepalese guitar and drum. We started dancing. It reminded me a bit of the dancing I did at Suneet’s wedding. The next town along had a holy shrine. It is nestled at the top of a hill leading into a deep valley carved and terraced, stone retaining walls, the whole way down 1000m. All of the work is done by hand. Dale and I visited a local woodsmith who takes whole logs, hand cuts, planes and then creates furniture.
dancing Nepali style
Further along a Nepalese woman was sitting on the retaining wall holding her hand out. At first I thought she was begging, but that is very rare in Nepal. It turned out she had a very nasty cut to her thumb. Manu and I stopped to try to help. One of the Sherpas translated while another tried to clean her wound with a stick! She sat there, patiently, while I took tweezers and pulled all the dirt out, poured peroxide over (not a peep) and then sponged with more peroxide to clean it. The stoicism was incredible. We got her all bandaged up with the usual instructions and headed further along, only to find a young boy, maybe 3 or 4 years old if he’s a day, also with a cut. When I cleaned his wound he just looked at me with huge brown eyes full of innocence and trust.
The path wound down inexorably to the valley (damn we lost a lot of altitude we had fought hard for the day before). It is well maintained, rock steps, alternating granite, mostly with retaining walls that look incredibly old. The whole day was dotted with encounters with the locals as most of their homes open onto the path. You could hear Nameste (hello) echo all through the canyon.
This path, the Jiri to Lukla path, is the path that Mallory took on one of his three epic expeditions to Everest.
Tomorrow we start up and up and up and up…..
path to the valley