Luke ~ Back on the trail

After spending almost 48 hours in Sibuje, I was well rested and excited to start up the valley towards the high alpine environment. At the same time, it was difficult to leave the people from Karma’s home village behind. Despite the difficult lives they lead, they shone with happiness and warmth to all of us. In just a short time, I felt like I was welcomed in as family.

Andrew receives a customary kata scarf as a token of good luck on the journey.
Andrew receives a customary kata scarf as a token of good luck on the journey.
Christen saying goodbye to some of her new friends from Sibuje.
Christen saying goodbye to some of her new friends from Sibuje.

As we began our hike, which would be a relatively short 3 hours, we started traversing the gigantic ridge lines leading up the valley toward Mera Peak. About 30 minutes up the trail, we came to the village’s water wheel, which is used for grinding buckwheat into flour. When water is low and it can not operate, the villagers must grind it by hand. Karma showed us how to do it when we were eating lunch at Pasang’s house before our departure. It looks like back-breaking work!

Immediately after the water wheel, we had to climb a very steep trail that went up a slope that had been a recent landslide, and then go back down another steep trail right after. We were to experience this joy over and over again throughout the day, and most of the next. These trails were some of the steepest of the trip, and certainly some of the steepest I have ever hiked.

The group sets out from Sibuje. The next day and a half would see us climbing up and down steep trails as we traversed the ridges shown in this photo. These were some of the steepest hiking trails I have been on.
The group sets out from Sibuje. The next day and a half would see us climbing up and down steep trails as we traversed the ridges shown in this photo. These were some of the steepest hiking trails I have been on.

As we continued through the day, we walked through some amazing forests. We started seeing rhododendron trees blooming everywhere. Everyone was in high spirits, but the weather reflected a gloom that everyone seemed to be feeling about the tragedy on Everest. Karma was warm and immensely friendly, as always. Yet, it seemed he carried a sadness because of the avalanche on the world’s highest peak. Details were still coming in piece by piece, and there was some conflicting information. I think he also was missing Sibuje already. He does not get to come back as often as he likes, having to reside in Kathmandu to run his fledgling business. At every vantage point, he would stop and turn to gaze on his home village.

The end of the day brought us to a lone lodge situated in a steep valley. The group was really starting to bond, and people were acting silly as we started to experience the first light rain of the trek.

Our lodge for the night was 3 hours from Sibuje. It is run by a family from the village.
Our lodge for the night was 3 hours from Sibuje. It is run by a family from the village.

Kami and Christen started the fun off with some carefree mock kickboxing. Glen emerged from his room carrying quite the stylish umbrella. As if to show that style does not belay agility and functionality, he then quickly did a head flip over a bench. Remember kids, he is a professional guide. Do not attempt any dance moves or stunts demonstrated by Glen.

Kami shows Christen his kickboxing skills.
Kami shows Christen his kickboxing skills.
Glen shows off his impeccable style with his fancy umbrella. Guides do not like to get wet.
Glen shows off his impeccable style with his fancy umbrella. Guides do not like to get wet.
No, Kami. Do not attempt Glen's head flip. If our cook were to break his neck, it would be very bad...
No, Kami. Do not attempt Glen’s head flip. If our cook were to break his neck, it would be very bad…

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