It was fun waking up early this morning and listening to the sounds of morning…..the shepherd calling to his dogs, the kitchen staff starting to move around with someone humming and finally the rattling of the pots and pans as they started fixing our breakfast. I felt very humbled to be able to be there to hear all of it!!
The moon and two planets were lined up in the V of the mountains. It was breathtaking.
Here is a photo of the “welcome mat” for our tent, complete with bed tea, boots, water and dry bags for our pack…..
Morning ablutions were completed in the glory of the mountains…..
After a breakfast of Oatmeal and apples, pancakes and scrambled eggs, we broke camp about 7:40. As Michael and I took off our fleece jackets before we started, Badri offered to carry them for us (but Michael said that he would carry them!!). He really does look after us well!!
As we headed out this morning, there was a general level of excitement as we were reaching our ultimate destination this morning…..Annapurna Base Camp!!!
The sun soon hit our backs and we started to warm up a bit. At 8:05 we took a break to take off some outer layers of clothes.
About 30 minutes further along and Sabine points to some blue buildings and said that it was ABC. This was VERY encouraging as it doesn’t look that far away and it isn’t much higher than we were right then.
It was a gorgeous day for trekking, with the blue sky up above and the towering mountains in front of us. We were ALL in a very happy place…..
The guides knew that we were greatly enjoying this part of the journey and they let us just take our time and see all of the sights.
We spent a few minutes taking photos to prove that we had actually made it…..
Machapuchare had followed us for the entire trek, but here we had a completely different view of it…..
We had to walk just a bit further before we arrived at my favorite camp of the trip…..
Sera told us that he made the dough in the morning and then it rose as we walked!!!
There were several shrines around the area, dedicated to people who have lost their lives while climbing these mountains……
Our first stop of the afternoon was to visit it…….
Who knows how many years ago the glacier moved thru and it is surprising that it is still such a barren landscape.
Badri indicated that the group was to continue heading upward, but at this point I had done ENOUGH climbing so I asked if I could stay in the lakebed. Badri left Monise and Mingma with me.
This began one of my favorite parts of the trip. The guides were sitting and talking so I was left all by myself to walk around and photograph the small flowers….. …..and cairns in the area…… It was also fun to listen to the two young guys talk and laugh and mess around with my trekking poles…..
I spent some time sitting on a rock and looking at the scene before me…..
I could hear “thunder” in the distance and finally realized that it was avalanches starting behind the mountains. Unfortunately I didn’t see any but it was cool to listen to them!!
While I enjoyed my peace and quiet, Michael and the others continued to climb up the mountain……
As they reached the top of the ridge, they looked over and found a mammoth glacier…..
There were several streams flowing out of it as it melted (you can see them in this video)……
…..and the guys saw several pieces that flaked off and tumbled down the icy bank.
The views from this ridge were even more fantastic…..
The mountains seemed SO close……
They rejoined me at the lake bed……..
and we started making our way back to camp. I had not been looking forward to this walk as it had been a chore for me to get here, but amazingly the walk back was much easier since we weren’t first heading up to a ridge!!
This is my favorite picture of Badri……
We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the base camp, taking photos and enjoying the other trekkers who were there.
They wouldn’t stop sawing as long as he was videoing but took a “catch their breath” break as soon as he stopped!!
We spent some time sitting in the dining hall of one of the tea houses. We have found that most of these dining rooms are the same…. windows on all sides, a long table down middle with benches on each side…basically boxes with heavy rug type covers on them. There are single mattress “beds” along each side of the hall that are used as overflow when the camp is really full.
The group’s porters came in to eat dinner at the long table. Each took a HUGE plate of rice with a thin Dal on top of it. They ate quickly (maybe 5 to 10 minutes), some eating with their hands and some using spoons. They also had fried Poppadoms with their rice.
They had two water pitchers that they all drank out of but they would never let it touch their mouths. They would aim the spout into their mouths and then pass it on to the next person.
We tried to soak in these last moments as we didn’t know if it would be cloudy in the morning so this might be our last view!!!
One of our team members had caught a cold and wasn’t feeling well. Badri insisted that he have a “Sherpa Sauna”, complete with Vicks Vaporub in a pot of boiling water with the head leaned over it and covered with a towel.
At the end of the meal, the Hot Water Bottles appeared and we happily climbed into our pre-warmed sleeping bags. We heard one big avalanche right after we got into the tent. It was nice to know that one would REALLY have to work to hit us!!!