MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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October 20, 2009

Everest Base Camp Trek - Dispatch #2

From rhododendron forest to high alpine valleys, our days take us through local villages, past Buddhists deities painted on cliffs, past yak caravans loaded with supplies, and around large piles of stones carved with prayers. We arrived in Tengboche just in time to visit the monastery for the afternoon ceremony – monks chanting Tibetan scriptures and drinking steaming bowls of tea. Afterwards, we stayed to have some prayer flags blessed and ended up talking with the monks.

 

They were setting up for a big ceremony the next day and needed to move some heavy furniture. Handing back the prayer flags (and after chatting a bit in Nepali), the monk took a look at Brian and Geoff and figured they were pretty strong – and asked if we'd lend a hand with the rearrangement. Brian and Geoff were happy to help and were laden with a handpainted wooden throne (heavy indeed!), plus a few tables, for ceremony setup. Two weeks ago they never expected to be moving furniture with Buddhist monks, but here they were and fully enjoying it! You just never know what you're in for in Nepal.

 

From Tengboche to Dingboche took us above the tree line to high alpine valley. A few people opted in for the harder of two acclimatization hikes out of Dingboche this morning. It was well worth it. At the top of a steep, steep climb, we were rewarded with an exquisite turquoise blue lake gracing the foot of a massive glacier on the back side of Ama Dablam. The rest of the group curved up the valley towards Island Peak, with fantastic views of Lhotse, Nuptse, and a range of fluted, serrated mountains. Acclimatization complete, we're reveling in the last showers and internet for a while. Tomorrow we climb an alpine valley for one of my favorite days of the trek: sweeping views of the mountains, stone memorials perched high on a ridge top, and the dizzying arc of Taboche peak looming over us.

--Deana Zabaldo, Team Leader