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Nepal Chapter 4


The place

There are no roads to Gokyo village. Situated at 15,500 ft, the only ways to get here are by four days of trekking or by helicopter.

It's nestled on the shore of the turquoise glacial Dudh Pokhari Lake, directly across from the prestigiously towering Mount Machermo.

In the mornings, after peeling aside the frozen curtain and scraping off some ice, I had an unobstructed view of the lake and mountain from my sleeping bag...

I don't think it got above freezing any of my three days here, but because of the altitude, the sun is incredibly intense and fools you into thinking you're warm.

Gokyo Ri

One day, with the promise of 360 degree views, I decided to climb back up to 17,500 ft to the top of Gokyo Ri.

At the top, I met a young Australian man and a young German man.

Such is the solo traveler's lament that we rarely get pictures of ourselves, so we took turns taking each other's photos and scrambled around the massive rocks.

It was so much fun!

And to my utter surprise and delight, as I climbed up and looked back toward Gokyo, the expansive Ngozumpa glacier began to reveal itself.

It was my first glimpse over the moraine and I was taken aback at how huge and close to Gokyo it is!

A welcomed treat

After the hike back down Gokyo Ri, the three of us met up with another young man, from Portland, for a coffee and cinnamon roll at a bakery in the village.

We sat in the sunny third-story café for hours. With a chess board between us, two of them played casually while we talked politics, religion, climate change, books, music and philosophy (ya know, the light stuff) as the sun set slowly behind Mount Machermo.

One, two, three, four, seven

On my first night in Gokyo, I became friends with local four year old, Deshi.

Deshi is a sweet, incredibly smart and slightly mischievous little girl with dark pigtail braids and big round eyes.

She had with her a Little Bo Peep page from a coloring book she had scribbled on with crayon. We folded it into a paper plane that we flew back and forth while counting to five in English.

Then we folded it into a boat and slid it along the floor while continuing to count aloud and with our fingers.

In the beginning she counted: one, two, three, four, seven. Over and over and over again, I'd correct her and have her practice saying, "five." She'd crinkle her little nose and say, "fwiiiiiii."

However by the end of the fourth night, I fear I hadn't corrected her counting, but instead inadvertently taught her to count: one, two, three, four, seven, fwiiiiiii...

Gokyo's fifth lake

On my last full day in Gokyo, I hiked to the fourth and fifth lakes.

It was maybe seven miles roundrip and skirted the glacier, which I totally geeked out on!

I could literally hear the ice crunch and crackle as it slowly made its way through the valley. As the ice shifted, rocks would go tumbling down, sending up plumes of dust in their wake.

It was the first time I'd seen a large glacier like this—so closely—and it was surreal to witness it in living breathing action.

The terrain

Climbing up into the scree field, the terrain morphed once again.

It was an unforgiving landscape. Dry, desolate, rocky, dusty, windy.

Although beautiful, glacial water is not potable, contributing to an inhospitable sense about the place.

The lakes

I'll write more later, but here are some pics :)

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1 Comment

John Hofius
John Hofius
Nov 07, 2022

The sound of the ice cracking is so cool!!! It must be really amazing to hear in person.

Maybe you can get a set of these for recording audio on your next trip!

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