12 October 2018
Hello everyone from Cholem Kharka, at 3,500m in the Himalayas. To call this a village would be overstating it. It is simply a Tea House at the top of a mountain col. It does, however, have a heater and so we are all sitting round the heater trying to dry off our clothes and ourselves.
There are two teams staying here – our team and another team also heading to Mera Peak. We therefore have a multicultural mix of Nepalese, Swedes, Australians, Americans and British. All joined in the aim of reaching the summit and, for this evening, keeping warm!
It has been a great trekking day. We have gained 700m in elevation and covered a range of terrain. We walked steeply uphill for about 90 minutes before continuing for several hours on a ‘flat’ section. It was ‘Nepalese flat’ not ‘British flat’! This meant it was constantly up and down steep hills and, at this altitude, that is hard work. The path was also difficult to navigate. Whilst it was defined, it was a mix of rocks, shale, boulders and sand. So it is difficult to get a rhythm!
I can definitely feel my confidence growing and I coped with the challenging sections, which involved steep drops along a ridge whilst navigating the boulders.
We were mainly in a forest and it was misty and so very atmospheric.
We saw some families today – baby yaks with their mums and a Nepalese family who ran a small hut at the top of one of the paths. It is the only place to buy tea for hours and so they do a good trade. There were three young children sitting outside doing trigonometry (!) and vigorously rocking what I thought was an empty basket .. until I looked inside to find a tiny baby! The baby must have felt they were on a roller coaster! When I gave them some sweets, they all said ‘thank you’ in English. It was amazing that they, who live in very basic conditions in the mountains, days away on foot from the nearest town, knew I was English and could speak some words in our language. This is an incredible country.
We arrived at our lodge in the early afternoon and, without Wi-fi, we have kept ourselves entertained with stories of our past adventures and future dreams. When we have no access to the outside world, it brings us closer together. A great lesson for us in life.
I am worrying about the road ahead. The weather is poor at the moment, which could hamper our plans. The terrain and altitude is getting harder each day. I hope I can make it to the summit.
Your messages of support are so wonderful. I really feel that I have a whole support team behind me and it is helping hugely. Thank you so much.