November 29th, 2008 – by: Stevie_Wes
(2,360m - 3,230m )
Best part of 7-8 hours on the trail today as collectively (Mino, Maud, Barbara and I) we've decided to get as close to Machhupuchhre Base Camp (MBC) as possible today to leave us a nice, easier morning stroll to our ultimate goal Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) tomorrow. There's a lot of uphill all the way today and this will e the case mostly until we reach ABC. My legs are seriously screaming out at me by the time we get to our lunchtime stop at Himalaya Hotel. Mino is quite a bit pacier than I but we even out over the course of the walk as he's always stopping to take footage on his impressive bit of handheld Japanese digital movie-camera technology.
There are some impressive views to accompany us along the way.
Interlacing silvery ribbons of waterfalls fanning out down the mountainsides. We pass a tiny temple with its usual multi-coloured prayer flags. The Nepalese locals we encounter here pluck small offerings of greenery from the surrounding forest, throw them into the heart of the shrine and jangle the 'temple' bells.
After lunch, moving on from Hotel Himalaya the clouds have already settled in for the day. The final 1 and half to 2 hour stretch of the trek is veiled in eerie, often quite claustrophobic clouds and mist. The entirety of the mountain scenery is obliterated. Only a vague idea of the shapes and peaks earlier glimpsed remains, imprinted on the retinas of your memory. They have all vanished and there's pretty much only the pathway and your trek buddy ahead of you for reference.
I follow Mino's bright yellow backpack through the mist. Always a good 50 feet away or so. In these conditions there are a couple of mildly hair-raising moments too. A waterfall breaks across the path at one point. Well swollen by recent snow-melt waters it flows over the higgledy-piggledy collection of tumbled rocks that would normally form more obvious footholds for passing trekkers. There's hardly a dry spot the whole way across and ya don't really want to get ya boots'n' toes wet in these kinda temperatures! This obstacle is soon forded though and we soon arrive at Deurali with blanket white mist all about us. Moisture is collecting in Mino's long dark hair. As usual the super trek fit Barbara and Maud have arrived ahead of us and got the low down on lodging prices etc.
Bonus. A bit more pricey here. A whole 75 NPR each... but with a nice big mug of hot-chocolate thrown in for all of us! "Perfect!" :D
We hookup with another pleasant couple trekking in our same direction at Deurali. Eric & Diane from Melbourne, Australia. Maud, Barbara, Mino and I sip our hot chocs at a table outside. Mino breaks out a large fold out map of the world upon which in red pen he has been tracking the course of his own last 3 months travels. I'm gonna have to get me one of them...it's a real easy fun way of making your journey seem a little more real to friends you meet on the trail... not everyone has the luxury of the little online Travbuddy map like you guys I guess ;D Barbara and Maud also go into more details about their own grand adventure.
Mino, my ever smiling Trek-buddy... hey "trek-buddy", sounds catchy! Competitor website catering solely for hikers anyone? ;D
They are now approximately 8 months into a whole year of pure trekking. They have so far trekked through areas of Khyrgistan, Pakistan, pretty much the entire Himalayan range and lots lots more less trodden parts of Nepal before meeting us here. It is a journey of great meaning and purpose for them. It has been almost exclusively on foot that they have travelled from place to place. And wherever they go they go to great lengths to engage with women on their travels through the mountains. To engage with the idea of womens lives, roles, cultures and community structures in these places. This often involves getting in touch with womens groups, movements, schools etc to conduct interviews where possible and they hope, in time, to make this into forms of written and visual documentary.
Mount Machhupuchhre (or 'Fish Tail') sighted in the distance.
Fascinating stuff for which they have alread received some backing from back home. Their project mostly takes the form of a blog at the moment and is called 'Parlerdelles' meaning (I think?) 'Talk with her'. It is written in French which may prevent a lot of you from having a look but if you are interested please do...there are some fabulous photos, the link is typed below :parlerdelles.over-blog.com