I went to bed at 8.00pm convinced I was about to be sick. I went to sleep and had a pretty good night achieving 10 hours without too much interruption. When I woke at 6.00am I had the same sicky feeling I had gone to bed with. I had little motivation for the walk ahead and was not looking forward to it at all. Others were feeling the same without being ill and I could only attribute it to the lack of variety in our diet and the reliance on the potato, cheese and eggs with no room for anything fresh. I talked to Tanka while the rest of the group set off for the gompa. We agreed to simplify the diet with rice, dal and vegetables.
I caught up with the group at the gompa and waited for the key holder to arrive to open the cabinet containing the yeti scalp. There has been tight security since someone stole it a few years ago and got as far as Lukla before they were apprehended. Still the key holder would not open it until I had paid a donation.
We made enquiries about the deaf and dumb artist, Pemba, but nobody seemed to know what or who we were talking about. Sadly we had to give up and make a start on our day’s journey to Phortse. It would not surprise me if he has gone to live in America.Walking through a labyrinth of narrow stone wall tracks between potato fields awaiting their seedlings, we left Khumjung
As soon as we had left the village the track began to climb steeply up a series of steps hugging the cliff face. Since I last walked this track a hand rail has been installed in places suggesting that health and safety is creeping into Nepali society. At the top or the track it turned a corner out of the hanging valley that is home to Khumjung and Kunde into the main valley, all be it several hundred metres above the river below.
Before us the track climbed steadily up to Mong where there is a cluster of tea houses around a chorten. Despite taking it slowly we reached it at 10.30 and as this was our designated lunch stop we had plenty of time to relax and enjoy the stunning views of Tamserku and Kantega towering over us and Ama Dablam’s dramatic shape a little further away.I was, by now, feeling much better and more positive about the trek. Although I couldn’t eat all my lunch, it was a very welcome change of diet, also much appreciated by the rest of the group.
After lunch we dropped down 350m to Phortse Tenga where we crossed the river for the 200m climb up to Phortse. It is quite a windy spot but the sun is still warm out of the wind. We are surrounded by huge mountains, to the east those already mentioned and to the south the wall of mountains which make up the southern side of the Gokyo Valley. I am looking forward to watching the change of light as the day draws to an end.