Nuntala to Junbesi

IMG_2473Last night all of a sudden a storm blew in and wreaked havoc in town. The roof of the building next to my lodge came off and a huge pine tree got split in half. The ponies in the yard turned their rears to the wind and seemed unfazed by it all. Then as quickly as it started the tempest died down and it was wind still for the rest of the night. Today’s walk starts out with a two and a half hour climb to Trakshindo La another 3000-meter pass and while I make my way up I start noticing the sound that trekkers hate and locals love. The thump, thump, thump of a rock breaker heralding the impending arrival of a new road. IMG_2481Looking at its location and progress I’d estimate that Nuntala can enjoy diesel fumes, honking busses, clapped out trucks and roadside brothels before the year is out. I climb on and get overtaken by some empty donkey trains going to the pass to collect new loads and not long after I crest the hill myself and am aghast at the truck stop/open toilet this once lovely pass has turned into. There are jeeps, motorcycles a tractor is pulling a trailer load of cement and donkeys are defecating and urinating everywhere there is a smell of ammonia and ankle deep mud. This must be the spot Hieronymus Bosch forgot to include in his triptych. I hurry through it and escape Trakshindo La on the other side. IMG_2494It’s midday when I amble into Ringmo and have lunch with a Belgian Father and Daughter team who are on their way to Everest Base Camp they come from the Flemish-speaking part of the country and I practice my Dutch on them for awhile. The feel of the walk changes dramatically once I leave Ringmo, the clouds darken and it looks like it’s going to rain, colorful there are no more donkey trains and no people, trekkers and locals alike. I cross the Dudhkunda Khola on a long suspension bridge surrocolorfulMani stones and climb through a forest of mature rhododendron and pine trees. It’s not until I pass a few farm houses an hour later that I see other people Another hour later and I’ve climbed to over 3000 meters for the second time today and I celebrate by buying a bottle of Fanta from the old man that runs a small tea shop up here. From here it’s all the way down to Junbesi and apart from a young and exhausted trekker making his way up I see no one else. I’m exhausted when I arrive at the Sherpa Guide Lodge and claim their last room.

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