14,298 feet above sea level; 57% oxygen
It was nice to “sleep in” this morning — that is, wake up after the sun was up. Similar to our second day in Namche, today was a rest day, designed to facilitate our acclimatization.
Still, a rest is not really a rest in the Himalayas. It’s important that you remain active, to keep the blood flowing in your body and facilitate the process. “No sleep,” Dawa said.
Instead, he had planned for us a hike up the Imja Khola to Chhukung, a small summer settlement from where the views of Island Peak, Lhotse, Ama Dabalm and the fluted ice walls flanking the Amphu Lapcha pass were one of the highlights of the entire trek.
We ascended to about 14,800 feet and gazed up. Even here, nearly five miles above sea level, these monster mountains soared above us. It was humbling.
At Chhukung was a small stupa adorned with prayer flags and a stupa — whose eyes looked out all-knowingly into the distance. Shielded from the wind, we spent about an hour taking in the views before descending back to the teahouse.
The afternoon was dedicated to reading, playing Uno and walking around the village, which didn’t offer much beyond a couple of small convenience stalls. Many of us opted for $6 USD hot showers — our last before hitting Base Camp.
Veggie chowmein for dinner was surprisingly decent, the best meal that I’ve had in a while. Retiring to my single “suite” with a hot water bottle, lights were out no later than 7:30 p.m.