Our scheduled rest day in Namche was anything but restful, with a host of more involved tests investigating curious physiology things like (and for the first time on this trip) the effects, if any, of hypoxic stress on respiratory sinus arrhythmia. For the non-physiologists amongst us, RSA is that crazy thing where your heart speeds up when you inhale and slows down when you exhale). We fired up the PowerLabs for this and they loved every minute of it.
The next day it was onward to Tengboche. After our daily morning measurements and a hearty brekkie, the yaks arrived and were loaded up. These yaks belong to Nema’s father (Nema is our head guide).
Then we set off up the hill. At the top we were greeted by the most spectacular views back down the valley where we had hiked over the previous few days. The track then levelled off and we motored along on what was practically a highway by Khumbu standards. Wide flat and immaculately cared for. Turns out it was constructed by one man, who is now in his eighties. He began when he was a teenager. He is still hard at it. We gave him some well-deserved donations.
Many of the vistas you see on YouTube for this trek come from this particular section of the track. Unfortunately, the big hills were shrouded in cloud; views of these would have to wait until the next day.
We dropped down to the river again and stopped for lunch. Then came the big climb up to Tengboche. I was feeling much better than the hike into Namche and was able to get into a good rhythm, plodding up through the rhododendron forest to the top. It was a satisfying walkies.
Tengboche is at the tree line – there are a few scrubby junipers about but that’s it. It makes for slim pickings for the ponies and dzo that wander around.