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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