Tuesday 4 April

(magnify) Cloud and mist in the valley

In the morning the valley is filled with beautiful clouds and mist. The mountains at various distances form rows in distinct shades of blue-grey, making the whole scene rather reminiscent of a traditional Chinese landscape painting.

(magnify) Lammergeyer Eagle

I take the opportunity to wash some handkerchiefs, which have borne the brunt of my cold since the Cho La, now thankfully nearly cleared up. After a laid-back breakfast, we are soon back on the trail.

We have easy walking along a path following the valley high above the river to start with. Three enormous vulture-like birds fly back and forth along the valley and then higher up above us.

We make good time and when we reach Namche, where we had planned to eat lunch, it is only half past nine. This gives us a good two hours for souvenir hunting before an early lunch â€“ not that there is really two hours of souvenir hunting to do in Namche. It is positively hot and the many roofs arrayed around the hillside sparkle in the sun. The builders have made good progress on a new lodge while we have been away.

(magnify) Back in Namche

After lunch we descend the steep and long path down to the river. Today is by far the busiest we have seen, with many trekkers and yaks toiling up the long hill. A few look as if they are not going to make it. Around one corner a yak has shed its load, causing a long tailback. I start to imagine the traffic report…

We pass the view point where we first caught sight of Everest between the trees. There is a strong military presence here today, and the viewpoint is crowded with red-faced trekkers eager for their first view of the mighty mountain.

Far below at the bottom of the valley by the river we can see what looks like several coach parties of people wandering around. We meet them just as we reach the long suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi just at the bottom of the long descent. There we are forced to wait for more than fifteen minutes while in excess of two hundred and eighty people (according to David) make their way in single file across the bridge in front of us.

(magnify) Village

From there it is a pleasant walk along the river. We cross over twice, and then climb steeply past mani stones to the village of Tawa. We pass through more villages. Everything is more colourful than two weeks ago. There is blossom on the trees. The rhododendrons are out and there is green rice growing in the fields.

We camp at Chumawa. It is a sheltered setting a little above the river. The tents are lined up on a terrace. Below is an outhouse used by the crew as our kitchen and to the left is the lodge. Despite being only one day from Lukla, I decide that I would really enjoy a nice hot shower here. And I do.

As the kitchen team prepare our dinner we hear sounds of singing drifting across. They seem to be enjoying themselves.