19, 20 October - Into the "Sacred and Mysterious Tracts"

Published on by Everest Trek for Charity - 2011.over-blog.com

"The tops of mountains are the unfinished parts of the globe," wrote Henry David Thoreau over a hundred and fifty years ago.  "[They} are sacred and mysterious tracts..."   After breakfast  (Tibetan bread,  omelets, porridge) we set out under a early morning half-moon to journey deeper into these tracts.  The landscape got more even dramatic:  gorges, waterfalls, swiftly flowing rivers coloured a milky blue from glacial meltwater, raptors (eagles? condors?) suspended high over us, and of course snow-packed peaks behind.  The path was crowded, not only with trekkers but with the usual sights and sounds of the Himalayan trails--Sherpa faces old in stories, young Sherpa men carrying extraordinary loads on their backs (and sometimes wearing just Crocs), yak trains, donkeys...   It was slow going in some places, but that provided more time for photos.  We hit the last arduous bit into the town of Namche Bazar at about noon; the path wound up and up, and we plodded along in slow motion, putting foot after careful foot.  We were feeling the altitude now, along with the fierce mountain sun.  Finally--Namche Bazar, a town built on terraces and shaped like an ampitheatre.  We tumbled into bed early and again, slept fitfully, the dreams thronging all night long.  Then, on the morning of October 20th (today), we climbed a path above Namche to the Everest View Inn (oxygen tanks in every room), to see the Everest group of mountains.  Alas, Everest itself was obscured by cloud, but the others were spectacular.  The sense of space here, the gigantic everlastingness of rock and snow and sky, cannot be captured in words or photos.  The trees thinned out on the climb to the inn, but around the inn itself was a beautiful wood of birch and black (or blue) pine, and other trees we could not name.  Then back down to Namche Bazar--and an afternoon to explore this picturesque Sherpa village that seems to be mainly guest houses and cafes.

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