As seen from Meta. Our kitchen tent, blue, is seen on the right.
Meta: Arriving Meta, the winter settlement of Nar village, was like coming to a different world. This place is slightly above or at the end of the tree line. The uphill leading up to Meta is, as Wanda put it, really mean. That makes you feel really tired but when you are here, you forget all those difficulties and you want to enjoy the cool breeze. It’s another thing that the same cool breeze becomes crazy and cold wind in as the day comes to the end.
At 3500 meters, you might feel already being at top but snowy Himals on virtually all four sides make you feel a dwarf. There is no sign of life in this ‘village’ but I can see a triangular, the national flag of Nepal, flipping proudly near a Buddhist prayer flag, at the top of a building. National flag in such a remote location? May the residents have gone somewhere, I think. I felt that people here need one flag to make feel that they belong to a country called Nepal with unique flag among the countries of the world. I wonder who would have put that there. Oh… it is a hotel, newly built but without any facilities. No one is here but I see smoke coming out from the building. The door is locked from outside. Other doors of the hotel rooms are open and I can see beds with a little bit of clothing.
I climbed a newly built and, apparently recently installed, wooden staircase and reach at the top of the ‘hotel’. Neat and meticulously build to save the structure from heavy snow.
Pema, the ever smiling kitchen boy, gets massage from Matt as he brings tea in Meta
On way to Meta, we passed from this spring. I am seen going backward for photo up. Pic by Wanda
Oh… here is a sign of life. A man is here, a real man, just outside the hotel. I want to talk with him. Amazing, he is from Dhading district and is here to carry planks from the jungle below to Nar. Planks to cover the roofs of Nar house probably. [I am wrong, I would discover when I reach Nar that roofs are not covered by woods but by the mixture of gravel and stones. They use planks for other purpose like making basement etc.]
Destination Kang Ru Base Camp?
This afternoon was the perfect time for some adventure. You always want to challenge yourself and the nature when you are feeling fine. I was no more a sick Dinesh. I had overcome to the initial problems related to common cold. Arrival in a new place was giving me extra energy. How about a little bit of exploration in the treacherous and deadly region just above Meta, on way to the Base Camp of 6, 700 meters high Kang Ru Himal? Wanda, Bijay, our kitchen staff and porter, and I were ready to climb up to the Base Camp situated somewhere at the height of 4500 meters. We started the journey, no backpacks!, with Wanda on the lead.
This woman called Wanda is an iron lady, I have concluded. She climbed the ‘mean’ hill leading up to Meta twice today: first with her backpack and latter she went down to bring Sioux’s bag. She walks fast, is so fit and takes care of all trekkers in the team. I know she is a group leader and it’s her duty to do so but I think I couldn’t have done the job. Some people are born to walk and I think Wanda is one of them. She reminds me of Narayan Wagle, the trekker journalist, one of the most widely traveled folks in the profession, who brought so many amazing stories to the front pages of Kantipur from deep and remote parts of the country. Even in the city, his favorite means of traveling is walking. That is why I talk of Narayan Wagle with Wanda most of the time.
Nepali porter girls squeezed by Canadian trekker women: As the cold wind became colder in the evening, clockwise from left, Caroline, Jennifer and Wanda found warmth in the bodies of three porter girls.
Ah… just as we were starting the exploration, Wanda stepped over ‘something awful’ which I instantly recognize as human shit. While Wanda is cleaning her shoes, Bijay and I take the lead. Oh.. I can see Lorraine Marie Harrison following us. The 60-year-old lady has some experiences of climbing mountains in Nepal including a trail adventure on Pisang that is standing tall at the other side of Kang Ru. Good that we are a team now. Not anymore. As soon as she sees tents arriving down in Meta, she descends. But hey there is another woman in the team: Brooke Martens, the always smiling ‘nanny’ who, for me, turned out to be a surprise in the exploration. She is a little bit fat and walks slowly. But she walks so well, in a reliable and constant pace. And I like her way of pronouncing my name.
I inspect a bag that we saw on way to Kang Ru Base Camp. 19 people had died here last October after an avalanche swept away tents at the base camp set up by an expedition team. On my right is Brooke and the boy on my left is Bijay Pic by Wanda
Well, it seems, we are in wrong trail. We are on and off the trail. Actually there is no trail. Seems Brooke is following the right trail but Wanda, Bijay and I have missed that one. We are now climbing like a monkey. This is a deadly place. People have died here before. Last October, an avalanche from Kang Ru killed 19 people, members of an expedition, who were camping on the base camp. Some managed to survive. We can see remains, clothings, tent parts, bags and gloves, scattered on the banks of the stream coming from Kang Ru. Bijay finds a glove and I pull out a bag.
Now we climb up to a steep ridge, it is scary to see down. We can see red tents in Meta but they are small. We finally managed to climb up to 4100 meters, 600 meters up from Meta. That was a great feat though base camp is still up and hidden. It’s still higher. Now is the time to return. Wanda feels raindrops. We walk down after sitting for about 5 minutes there.
We climbed like a monkey and now we are climbing like a leopard. But we are seeing something like a lion down on the stream. Wand and Brooke are sure that they are two yaks but I don’t want to believe them. I feel that’s a lion. Or, if not lion, that must be something else. How come yaks are so small? They are confused. Finally, we discover as we descend, they are yaks. One of them is black and the other is brown. They were there to drink water. Now they are grazing in the grass field near by a small jungle.
Wow, Bijay is descending faster than a leopard. He is already down, my god, I scream, how fast he went down. Did he jump? He, he.
We are back, with the feeling of achievement, but seeing where we reached from down doesn’t really excite. That doesn’t look so high though, altimeter is the proof, we climbed 600 meters.