Bob is well over half way through his organised trek now; and the plan for today is:
Day 16: Gokyo (4720m) (Trekking: approx 6-7 hours) The day begins very early in order to reach the top of the pass in the best possible conditions. From camp we ascend steeply on a narrow trail passing large boulders and huge rock slabs and keeping to the left of the main glacier. There are a number of cairns lining the route to the snowfield and, while the trail is well-defined, it does involve a little scrambling. Once on the snowfield the angle eases off and we soon reach the top of the pass (5420m), where the views are spectacular and include Baruntse (7220m) and Ama Dablam, as well as a sea of lesser peaks. Do not wander around the snowfield as there are crevasses and we may need to rope up for the pass crossing! The descent from the pass is steep and care should be taken as we follow the narrow rocky trail down to the Nymagawa Valley, where we enjoy a packed lunch.
From the valley we cross rocky screes and boulders and ascend the short distance to a small saddle that leads downhill all the way on an easy trail to the huts and tea houses at Dragnag. After a welcome break we cross Ngozumpa Glacier to the lake at Gokyo, from where it is a short walk to our lodge.
This is an example of one of the days which required Bob to take out specialised mountaineering travel insurance. I wonder if there is an option of Vegemite sandwiches for the packed lunch? (I know that sandwiches won't cut it, but I have a real hankering for Vegemite when I am travelling overseas).
I wasn't quite so adventurous today; I went for a walk planning to have a coffee, and the knee was once again surprisingly good after the watermelon episode on Wednesday. I got down to Lake G not feeling as though it was time already for my morning espresso. I knew that circumnavigating the lake was a bit ambitious, but thought that I may as well give it a shot - I could always cut off the peninsula (although it's probably the nicest part). Despite being late morning, there were a lot of people around, and most responded with an equally cheery greeting.
I was thinking about the nearest water bubbler leading up to the first I knew of at the kids playground. I drank like a dying man. I was carefully working out how far it was to Black Pepper both for the short black and, even more importantly the bottle of water at hand.
I was a bit stiff when I had to stand up, and was much, much slower walking the 3kms home, tiring even more noticeably towards the end. I think I made a mistake going quite so far. When I arrived, I knew I had to bathe, brush teeth and change in preparation for my afternoon's medical appointment. I had a bath, but was absolutely wasted. I only made it up to my study where I lay down and crashed out. Completely. With a reasonable length of time between bath and my doctors appointment I eventually pulled myself out of bed to throw on some clothes and get to the waiting room in time.
Verdict: Chronic Gastritis, Peptic Ulcers, Sinusitus, Blocked Ears, and other stuff. A couple of courses of Antibiotics and see him again in 10 days. Woo Hoo.
Is it bedtime yet?
(I'll blog next when I wrest Rudi away from the computer).