Stats: 14,100′ to 15,525′. 3 hour hike. Goal: Go high. Stay in the devine place + sleep low.
This is our second acclimation day and if you checked my previous posts, you already know that I tanked on the first one in Namche. This day arrives with clear blue skies and I’m not worried. Time will unfold as intended and I’ll take what comes one second at a time. Step lightly with joy.
Nepal in peak season means conga lines of trekkers snaking uphill. Instead of being irritated by crowds everyone is in good humor today. An umbrella of peace covers this mountain. Before we know it, we’re on the ridge above Dingboche, looking far below upon green and red roofs.
I sit on a flat-topped boulder, wanting time to mentally chart the stacked rock cairns and prayer flags gently moving in the wind. This is holy ground.
Within minutes I see my celestial companion, the Steppe Eagle, with a wing span of 5.4-7.1 feet. Although there are 22 species of raptors in Nepal, the Steppes are the only ones who accompany us on our daily trek. Their spirit sign is courage, wisdom, strength, and they carry messages from earth to God. I breath deep and smile. My intentions float up.
But I don’t dally long. The number of people heading uphill is growing and I don’t want to miss the stupa or have my photos obstructed. It will prove difficult to photograph with the crowds already here.
All too soon it’s time to descend back to town. We’re all anxious to wander around the village.
Some friends are heading to a bakery with good internet. But my heart is intent on other things. Earlier in the day, I heard the clinking of metal hammers on stone. Masons take rocks and bang away until they are transformed into square building blocks. Evidently, it’s cheaper to have men pound raw material than carry bricks from Lukla.
I’m lucky to catch two tradesmen who hauled merchandise here and are selling their wares to shopkeepers. No wonder the price of bottled water has doubled.
I see my first solar heater used to boil water. This will also become a common sight at our next stops. I look for children, but don’t see any. This will prove true for every village higher up. Are they at boarding school at lower elevation or do they live at remote farms?
At dinner, we hear about a man needing emergency evacuation for altitude problems. I’d mark Dingboche as the line where the compromised will peel away from the strong. From here onwards, this amazing beautiful place will become more harsh and physically dangerous. Go with grace and God Speed.