Day 5 – Namche Bazaar (3,440m) – Tengboche (3,867m) – Tuesday 22nd of June

Had an extremely tough day today, starting at 6:30 am. During the morning the trek was extremely steep for the duration of around an hour before leveling out along the side of the Khumbu Valley. This continued until about lunch time. I was very down all day, not at all helped by some serious sun-burn caught from yesterday’s trekking. I kept wishing over and over again that I could be back in Kathmandu or Dublin or Aberdeen.

Several things eventually came together to lift my mood. Although there was a horrid ascent in the afternoon, we met Nottingham group 4 on their way down. They were full of genuine words of encouragement and happy faces. After this, Sophie and Sarah, having lagged behind to go to the loo, encountered an extremely un-happy camper of a yak who had come charging down the path towards them. The story made me laugh rather a lot and by the time we reached Tengboche, I was tired but feeling a whole lot better. Dinner of tomato spaghetti and potatoes helped no end and then the altitude kicked in.

I have always theorised that climbing to high altitude has a serious effect on one’s humour. I haven’t laughed this much since Kilimanjaro. It’s a really wonderful feeling. Sarah regaled us with stories of her deviated septum whilst Sophie chatted about her dreams. Rod’s arbitrary thumb war declarations topped the night off for yours truly. It appears to me that the band of merry pranksters is really gelling with one another and this is a sight to behold.

Conversation turned to the trek and to ChildReach Aberdeen. People spoke of doing Kilimanjaro next year and how they would go about raising the money with the hindsight they now have. All agreed they would find it much less challenging the second time around and that they would start earlier. I know this last detail in particular Vicki Nolan would chuckle to read.

I’m rooming with Darya again tonight. She left the door open to our room which faces out on to the main courtyard of our lodgings and one of the stray dogs, who has been following us since Lukla, crept in unnoticed, going to sleep under my bed. We suspected nothing until he began pawing at the wall and whining in his sleep. Terror struck me such as I have never felt before or since. Being the big man that I am I refused to leave my bed and insisted that Daryah check what it was. We eventually dragged it whining and moaning to the front step where it sat for the rest of the night growling at nothing.

No longer any need for the laxatives, then.

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