After a good couple of days in Kyamjuma we packed up our gear and made our way to Thame. We immediately climbed uphill to a huge town – the biggest in the Khumbu – called Khumjung. Khumjung is the administrative capital of the Khumbu valley and the location of the Khumjung Secondary School which was established by Sir Edmond Hillary in 1961.
We then dropped down to a town called Syangboche which has the highest airfield in the Khumbu region. Just as we were arriving down into the town a massive Russian cargo helicopter came in at speed, touched down and rolled in towards us. It was an impressive sight, we tried to film it but it kicked up so much dust that we had to escape into a nearby teahouse for some refreshments, Mongo hot on our heels.
After enjoying the standard ‘hot orange’ (orange powder with boiling water), ‘mint tea’ and ‘milk tea’ we packed up our gear and made our way down to Thamo. The walk from Syangboche down to Thamo was spectacular. We descended into a lush forest dense with huge trees everywhere. The views through the trees were across to the other side of the valley which was peppered with frozen waterfalls. Apparently, this forest is filled with native fauna from dear, to colourful birds known as Danfe which are the national bird of Nepal and much more. Unfortunately, due to our 13-strong pack of people making way too much noise, we only saw some birds here and there. We were lucky enough to see a Danfe but by the time I got my camera out, he was gone.
We winded through some villages, past some more stupas, up hills, down hills and finally into Thamo, a small town before Thame. Tim, our expedition leader knows the owner Ang Chhutin, quite well and we had a nice lunch while hearing stories of her endurance running achievements where she dominated all high-altitude marathons she competed in, finishing hours before all other western and local competitors. We also met her cute little baby girl which reminded me of Charlie and made me miss home a little more than I already was.
After lunch, we did the short 1.5-hour trek to Thame. One notable part of this small trek was when we dropped down into a valley and crossed a raging river. From the bridge, we had views deep into the canyon which sourced the rapids, smooth twisted rocks showed just how powerful this river can be at full flow. Next to the bridge there was a massive rock face with some murals freshly painted which contrasted nicely against the black granite rock.
Finally, we arrived to the Valley View lodge, which would be our accommodation for the next two nights. Once again it was a very nice tea house with nice clean, new rooms and good food. The only downside was having spiders crawl across my face while watching some TV on my phone. I suppose they were attracted to the light source. But I will let that slide as I shouldn’t be watching ‘The People VS OJ Simpson’ while trekking through the Himalaya!
Our first day in Thame involved a short acclimatisation trek. 30 minutes of climbing up a nearby hill took us to the monastery which looks down over the Thame valley. The weather was perfect and gave us great views of the surrounding peaks and valley below. While up at the monastery we met a local Lama and had a small blessing ceremony.
We descended back to Valley View Lodge, enjoyed our last dinner in Thame, packed our bags and went to sleep ready for the trek the next day up the adjoining valley towards the ‘Renjo La’ pass.
Still no altitude issues but we had not really topped out on anything significant on this leg. Feeling good.
Apologies for typos and errors, I am rushing out these posts with limited laptop battery and internet.