The first days of trekking

Coming from Ben via sat phone from somewhere in the Himalayas.

It is the end of day two of our approach trek to Mera peak (our first of three objectives Mera, Island and Ama Dablam). The flight into Lukla is as crazy, scary and insane as I remember. This time I was sitting right up the front near the open cockpit. My seat afforded me an unobstructed view of the landing, which I filmed and cannot wait to see footage of!

So far the expedition has been a lot of low land trekking. Low land trekking involves a lot of Nepali flat sections – up, then down to the same height – leeches, rain and very slippy mud. Currently we are at 3000 meters above sea level, right in the clouds and rain. As much as altitude hurts, I really cannot wait to be above the weather and into some blue skies. The scenery when the clouds open, however, is astounding. Today at lunch I sat on the edge of a terrace on a ridiculously steep valley and just stared down an expansive valley to watch rural Nepali life playing out. Yaks the size of mice slowly moved up dirt tracks as farmers prepared their paddocks for crops. Soon the clouds rolled over nearby snow covered mountains erasing the view.

In our wanderings we often wander past small villages with a family or two, chickens wandering free and snotty nosed children holding barking dogs and yelling “Namaste” gleefully. The people here always smile, even porters as they struggle up hills with huge loads on their backs. Being passed by female porters carrying three times our load always serves to deflate any chest puffing by the group.

Tomorrow we will be going down 1km and then up again to an altitude that is slightly above where we started the day. The team is bonding really well, making lots of bad jokes and working well as a group. The cook Deb (male) is the same guy who fed Mal and I on Manaslu so the food is top notch, with lots of carbohydrates and energy rich food. For example, today at dinner we had: salty vegetable soup with popcorn followed by curry potatoes, pasta, veg sauce and cauliflower.

It is great to be back in Nepal, I truly love this country, her people and natural history. We have ten more days of trekking and slowly increasing our altitude before we tackle our first proper snowy mountain, Mera Peak. This has been described by Mal as a long, cold, high walk. I have seen pictures of Mera and it does not look at all technical, just long and high! I will update from time to time on the trek, mainly when cool things happen but in the interim just be sure to watch our progress on my map which I will be updating three times a day here: www.redrucksack.com/ama-dablam

Blue skies and happy feet grey The first days of trekking

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