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.
[this is a serial travel memoir about my experience traveling in Nepal. It’s best read from the beginning. Click for Chapter 1]
As we made our way up the valley towards Annapurna Base Camp, my cast of recurring characters had narrowed to no more than a dozen. I was beginning to get to know them all, as we struggled upwards, in mutual agony and awe.
Although we had encountered Linjon the German several times on the trail and in teahouses, Saffron and I first sat down with him for lunch in the village of Bamboo. Linjon was a medical student. I first encountered him in the lodge at Suile, the night before the most beautiful moment of my life. It’s a testament to my preoccupied mental state at the time, that when I first heard him speak, I thought he was Irish.
We stumbled into Chhomrong exhausted, with our thighs burning.
We had just descended what felt like a thousand steep steps. My knees were creaking; Saffron was leaning on my trekking poles while gasping; Anker was sweaty but whistling cheerily. “We stop here,” he said, as we walked into Chhomrong.
Chhomrong was the biggest village we’d encountered since we left Ghorepani. You could probably even go so far as to call Chhomrong a town—at least by mountain standards.
The morning after I saw the rainbow, I awoke before sunrise.
I had gone to bed early—around eight— so this wasn’t much of a surprise.
I was still shaken from my experience the day before; filled with a sense of satisfaction. I rose quietly, doing my best to let Saffron sleep. I ventured outside to relieve myself. The only toilet was occupied, so I walked a little ways off the property, and peed on the trail. It felt good; felt refreshing in the chill morning air.
I walked back to the lodge as the morning sky was beginning to fill with light. It was a clear, brisk morning. The valley was beautiful, quiet and peaceful. You could see for miles. Far off, in the distance, the distinctive silhouette of of the Fishtail poked out of the horizon. Although the real name is Machupuchre, the mountain has acquired the English nickname “Fishtail” because of its obvious resemblance, from certain angles, to a fish’s tail.