Nepalese Notebook: September 17th, 2014

September 17th, 2014

Samagaun 3550m.

Clear morning; Lho was as a spring day in the sunshine of the early hours, and everything that seemed untouchable yesterday was for a moment understandable, creating once more another aspect to our journey.  There was a strange feeling of confidence all around, and it seemed that wherever we were going that day, was indeed the one and only thing that mattered to anyone who crossed our path, and most importantly, to us.  Manaslu Himal (8165m.) and Manaslu North (7157m.), covered in the whitest snow, were visible for the first time, along with many other unknown peaks, showing us what our trail had yet to encounter, and proving still that we had much more to climb.
We visited the Ribung Gompa on the way out of Lho, a Buddhist Monastery, and were greeted with hellos from the monks who were busy making repairs far away in another building up the hillside.  A young attendant monk waited on us and showed what buildings we could look into and explained things in a quiet, offhand manner.  At one point, some bells began to ring, but we forgot to ask what for.  We arrived at Shyala not long after this, on a beautiful alpine type trail, passing old trees and rushing streams, always with the Manaslu to our left or in front of us.  We were able to make out the bright colors of the High camp and camp 1 situated on the mountain's glacier at about 6000m. and 5200m. respectively.  Shyala is a bright green plateau before the next ascent to Samagaun, where we ate lunch, and where, unfortunately, I started to have stomach problems.  Not far from where we were eating, and associated with the same house, was a stocky girl of no more than 13, up to her knees in a basin of dark red liquid, swishing around a bundle of yak wool with her feet.  She seemed rather amused and proud of our watching, but did not stick to the task for too long; her hands and feet were stained through.
From Samagaun it is 8 days to the nearest road; a photographer landed by helicopter only a short time after our arrival.  Our room is more or less a shanty and the voices of the family here can be heard from every side, quite disheartening in a way.  No appetite tonight, but a rest day tomorrow.

Douglas Thornton


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