We reached Machhapuchhre Base Camp before noon.
It was a bright, sunny morning, and we shed our layers all over the place as we sat outside and snacked at one of the area’s four trekking lodges.
Everyone was in good spirits; the valley took a sharp turn left at MBC, and our goal was finally, literally, in sight.
We sat in the sun and ate mangoes. The Germans, it turned out, all had bags of dried fruits too. I shared what remained of my fruits, while they added theirs to the mix. We sat and traded our meager supplies of snacks, all hoarded jealously through a week of trekking. Now, before the end, we shared freely. Although it was a faint feast, each bite was savored and shared in our smiles.
Machupuchre absolutely dominated the skyline above us as we snacked. A few people ordered tea, but I abstained. It was too early in the day, too hot, and I had too much excitement about finally reaching the terminus of the trek.
Our guides plied us with facts about Machupuchre, and the Nepali consideration of mountains as sacred beings. They didn’t mind the climbers, they said, and especially not the money they brought to the country. But some things needed to be kept sacred. They pointed out that even the area we were in — the Annapurna Sanctuary — was still considered sacred ground. Slowly, foreigners had impinged on all of the secret spaces in Nepal. Except for the summit of Machupuchre.
They didn’t put it in such terms, of course. Our various trekking guides were many things: gruff; friendly; funny; quiet; loud… but rarely poetic. At least, I can say, they were rarely poetic in English.
What went on in their private conversations, I can’t begin to say.
Outwardly, we were jubilant: happy to be here, together, in the mountains, on this beautiful sunny morning.