There is actually frost on the inside of the window pane in the room of the lodge I’m staying at. As good a reason as any to crawl even deeper under my duvet and forget about the world a little longer. When I wake up again it’s still early, still freezing and quite a racket while everyone gets up and stomps about.
Lodges on the trail are never really known for their faultless workmanship and home comforts and this one is no exception. The walls are paper thin just a sheet of plywood and literally paper to cover the knot holes in the timber. The bed is better referred to as a cot made from local timbers with a cheap foam mattress that squeezes flat once you lie down. Heating is a wood stove in the dining room that is lit once the sun has gone down. People are frequently seen wearing gloves at breakfast. Thus I’m not really keen to get out of bed but now that I’m awake I really need to pee! The toilet in keeping with trail lodge chic is an Asian style squat pan with no running water and a rubbish bin for the toilet paper. So after you’ve done your business and cleaned yourself you throw the soiled paper in the waste paper basket and scoop some water out of a barrel in the corner of the loo to flush the toilet. Try not to splash your feet while doing this!
Anyway on with the day. The sun is up and hot tea and porridge while sitting outside seems the best option and while everyone rushes off to their next destination I enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and listen to the distant sound of monks chanting punctuated by the blowing of horns and crashing of cymbals. All is well in my little world.
Eventually, I pack up and start walking again. The trail goes down from the monastery through a rhododendron forest to where a suspension bridge has crashed in the river. Most people seem to think that it’s earthquake-related but the truth is it happened a few months before that. The river had eroded the anchors that hold the bridge up and it all came crashing down. A little upstream is a locally built replacement made from river rocks and some trees and it has proven remarkably robust so far. Crossing the bridge the trail heads up again and after a couple of hours, I arrive in Pangboche my destination for today. It is at more or less the same altitude as Thyangboche where I stayed last night and will help with my acclimatization. The monastery here has a Yeti skull amongst its collection of reliquaries so maybe I can spot a life one somewhere around town.