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Day 8 - Making it to Gokyo

Gokyo Travel Blog

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Day 8 - Macchemo to Gokyo

Another completely perfect morning greets us as we head off up the trail to Gokyo. We get our first view of Cho Oyu (6th highest in world) on the Chinese border, looking strangley close. The sight of this beautiful mountain takes our breathe away - more than the altitude does! The path took us across the mountains with snow and ice covering the ground. We gradually climbed up some steep stone steps that took the path past waterfalls gushing down to meet the roaring river below, the waterfalls spilled out onto the path in places. The views from up here were just stunning, with the roaring sound of the river filling our ears and the cold thin air filling our gasping lungs.

Gokyo lake
As we climbed up to the top of a ridge, we crossed over the river on a little bridge and the path levelled out as the first lake came into view, surrounded by mountains. The lake was the most beautiful colour, a striking turquoise green and had a very odd appearance of looking like very warm water that was inviting us to jump in. Considering the water was probably as cold as ice and the air temperature was something ridiculously low, we thought better of it. The path followed the lakeside and soon we joined the second lake. In the near-distance we could see a peak with a very clear path winding all the way up the steep side. This we thought with alarm was the Gokyo Ri path, our intended walk in the next few days.

The approach to Gokyo was simply stunning, the lake glistening in the sunshine and the mounain views incredible.

Cho Oyu is calling....
We felt surrounded by the 'big boy' mountains and could feel Everest getting closer! Just under 3 hours after leaving Macchermo, the tin roof lodges of Gokyo came into view and we carried along the lakeside path to reach the settlement.

We decided to go for the Gokyo Resort at the top of the village as it looked like it would have the best views across the lake and mountains and another trekker recommended it to us. We checked in, getting a room at the front of the lodge, which was ideal as we got all the afternoon sun giving our room just a smidgen of warmth. As with all the lodges we had stayed in on the trek, our room was R200 and as usual, we had to eat our meals at the lodge. As expected, the food prices were a lot higher here (well we were staying at 4800m) with a bowl of plain porridge coming it at R280 (about US$5!).

The food at the lodge was OK - the pizzas are incredible but anything fried (which is pretty much the rest of the menu) tastes like the kerosene that they use to cook with. The staff also were pretty grumpy and not friendly at all.

I was still suffering from very strong heaaches in the night so a belgian trekker who we befriended in Macchermo kindly offered me some Diamox. I decided to give them a go and by the second night my headaches were no more!! Most people take Diamox to prevent altitude sickness symptoms and we didn't take any with us thinking we would rather avoid taking drugs without knowing how our bodies would cope naturally. Diamos worked for my headaches though and I didn't suffer from another headache the entire trek.

In the afternoon while the sun was still shining, we went up the hill at the back of the lodge and got fantastic views across the mountains to Cholatse, to Cho Oyu, to the steep-looking Gokyo Ri and across the glacier that has now receeded to what looks like a giant gravel pit.

From this height, the lake looked an amazing emerald green colour, with the sunlight bouncing off its shimmering surface. On the way back down the hill we came across a family of Himalayan monal (a sort of pheasant). The wind had picked up and the clouds were coming down, covering the lake in an eerie mist. Back to the now very busy lodge and order dinner for 6pm - didn't get it til 7pm as they forgot us but hey ho! the lodge was rammed with big groups that night and it wasn't the best, especially when the room filled with a very strong air of kerosene so we thought we were all going to pass out from the fumes. Some windows were thrown open for air only for freezing icy cold air to come flooding in. So it was a choice of freeze to death or be intoxicated by kerosene fumes. Nice. Thankfully, the yak-dung-fuel heater offered a nicer smell and warmth.

kvom says:
I also stayed at Gokyo Resort, but only one night. Gokyo Ri was clouded over the next day and it was snowing, so I skipped trekking up and headed back down. Looks like you had better luck.
Posted on: Sep 23, 2011
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Gokyo lake
Gokyo lake
Cho Oyu is calling....
Cho Oyu is calling....
The Gokyo valley
The Gokyo valley
Gokyo
photo by: aquaholicme2