EVEREST BASE CAMP DIARIES - DAY 6
Everest Base Camp Trek, Day 6 - Deboche to Dingboche.
Quote of the day: Gitu: "Suhani's bladder just burst!"
The giggling apart, a burst bladder just when you're getting ready to take off for the next haul isn't a happy place to be in. But Suhani's a tough kid. Nothing seems to phase her. There's no fussing, she finds a replacement bottle, stuffs it in her nap sack and is ready for the trudge.
We take off at 7:30 AM through the Rhododendron forest, charming as ever. It's real, I think to myself, I wasn't imagining this, the altitude hadn't got to me yesterday. The walk is pretty much a "Nepali flat" all the way - little bit up, little bit down, as Khudam Bir describes it!
Tea point comes in about two hours - along with a desperately needed loo break. I'm consuming so much water now, that a pee break is a non negotiable stop almost every 30 minutes. In the early days of the trek, we'd look around for strategic rocks and bushes, but over the last few days, we've all become shameless. So totally so! A pee break is where you feel it, the rocks and shrubs be damned!
Lunch is again the staple dal bhat and veggies. Getting used to it now - actually look forward to it, weird as that may sound! After lunch it's a three hour trudge to Dingboche. We cross the Dudh Kosi and then begin to climb. It's a steep and thankfully short climb before we hit a wide glacial moraine. The winds pick up, the sun decides to hide behind the clouds and it starts to get really cold. The moraine is a wide expanse of land and there's no place to hide from the cold winds lashing into us. I have to stop and take my windbreaker out. I remember my dad-in-law, Col. Kumar's (one of India's most decorated soldiers and mountaineers) wise words: "a good down jacket will keep you warm, a good windbreaker will save your life." I know exactly what he means. There's no zip line, no button-down area that can keep the winds from seeping in and chilling your bones. The windbreaker is the rook of your trekking gear - it stands right up front protecting you from the onslaught.
We reach Dingboche around 4 PM - in retrospect it is one of the easier days we've had so far. Dinner is spaghetti with tomato sauce and fried potato balls. I miss my dal bhat and tarkari, nothing else seems to satisfy that raging appetite. I can hear Jinoo asking if there's MSG in the spaghetti - she's allergic to it, and vaguely, somewhere in the recesses of my tired head, I'm thinking...how can you be allergic to MSG?? Imagine, no Maggi noodles - ever!
Today is Nadeem's birthday and Khudam Bir's boys had picked up a cake from the Tengboche bakery in the morning. I'd bought some noisy whistle stuff from Delhi and we have a lovely party with lots of music and dancing. The girls who run the lodge join us in a wonderful Nepali dance around the warm bhukari. Kavita shows us her moves...and another side to her is discovered:-). Perfect ending to a fantastic day.
Tips for first time trekkers to the Khumbu region:
- Don't scrimp on a high quality wind breaker. It could save your life. Really.
- Always buy the windbreakers with a hoodie, Mountain Hardwear in Khatmandu has some fantastic ones. They're expensive but will last you at least 8 - 10 years.