In the Mountains, Day 7
Ahhhh…….Awoke in Muktinath, at roughly 15,500 feet feeling much better than the previous day. My headache (a typical reaction to oxygen deprivation) had subsided and the air was slightly warmer. My stomach also felt back to normal. Yesterday morning, before the summit, I had a rough time eating as our bodies use what limited oxygen it gets for more important functions like heart beat and breathing. However, I needed the energy so forced down a bowl of white rice, some fried potatoes and 2 boiled eggs. Today, I’m back to fried egg sandwichs and black coffee. I found it interesting that I could not force coffee down yesterday but think it was my body’s way of protecting itself since the blood vessels in my head were already constricted due to oxygen dep. Coffee would’ve caused further constriction.
Today, I walked to the most civilized town on the descent route called Jonsom, where, for the first time since I left Kathmandu, I could access cash from an ATM. This has been an ongoing challenge since none of the villages will take cards…only cash. My traveling companion and I spent more money than planned as she had some issues yesterday with the altitude so we ended up hiring her a horse at high camp to carry her to the top. I give her immense credit (and I can say this now that she’s safely over the top)…but I would’ve been scared to death to be on a horse on some of those cliff edges!
In Jonsom, we decided she would fly back to Pokhara, the town at the end of the trek, where I’ll meet her in 4 days.
I continued on to the quaint town of Marpha. It was an interesting 20 mile trek today- drastically changed from 2016 when I hiked this route. There are now paved roads and taxi cabs. It appears more like a European wine countryside than a Nepalese mountain base.
I truly hope the country doesn’t lose it’s culture.
Tomorrow, I’m off to Ghasa; another small village on the way back to sea level. Sleeping at 2700 meters, or 9200 feet tonight.
Village of Marpha
Typical “porter”, aka sherpa