Friday 24 March

I seem to need a bit more motivation to get up this morning, but the coffee helps.

It is a bit warmer but somewhat misty. Occasionally the peak of Kongdi Ri pokes through. I pack my trek bag and then go into the lodge for breakfast.

We’re on the trail by 8 am, retracing our steps from yesterday. Today the path seems steeper – so much for acclimatisation…

(magnify) First view of Everest

A bit more climbing beyond the farm and then we begin contouring around the valley. We round a bend and suddenly there in front of us is Everest, with Lhotse just to its right, and the ever-present Ama Dablam, much closer to us, right of that. Awesome. An American group comes up behind and we swap cameras for group photos.

We are just short of the Everest View Hotel, and what a place it is to build a hotel! A short time later we are sitting on the terrace sipping hot chocolate and watching the cloud blow across the peaks.

(magnify) Approaching Khumjung

We leave the hotel down a steep slope of mud and patchy snow. The town of Khumjung comes quickly into view and we descend towards it. It is a well spread out town, houses dotted around fields that are being prepared for planting, separated by dry stone walls. There is a large flat area in front of the school and two stupas. We eat lunch out of the cool breeze in the Sherpa Land Lodge.

After lunch, we wander through the school, founded in 1961 by Sir Edmond Hillary. There isn’t much to see, because term has ended, so we continue around the stupa and then out of town via a maze of paths between fields. It is very picturesque, but the women tilling the ground don’t want to be photographed.

At the top of the town we enter the monastery, and for a small donation we are able to see their prize possession – a yeti scalp. It is locked away inside a green metal cabinet and is protected inside a glass case. To me it looks a bit like half of a coconut, perhaps slightly larger. John is keen to get a photograph, but is having a camera battery crisis.

(magnify) Tashi’s

From Khumjung we descend a broad stepped path to Kyangjuma where we are staying at the Amadablam Lodge, more familiarly known as Tashi’s. The tents are pitched at the back on a terrace surrounding on three sides a central area where our yaks are tied up.

It’s just early afternoon as we assemble in the dining room for tea and coffee. A moment later, some noodle soup turns up to tide us over to dinner time.

The facilities at Tashi’s

Go for a short wander along the trail and bump into John, who is birdwatching. He has seen some crested tits flitting inside a bush and we try to get closer. Then John spots a deer not far below us in the woods. It has seen us and watches us intently for about ten minutes before deciding we are not a threat and continuing its foraging.

Back at the lodge the dining room has filled up with other guests. Cloud has rolled up the valley – it is white and cold outside, but inside there is a good fire going in the stove in the centre of the room.

Another great combination for dinner. Soup, then coarse cut chips, rice, vegetables, and fried egg. Apple pie and custard for dessert. How do they do it?