Day 8: Yak Kharka - Thorung Phedi
Total distance: 172.96km
Total Ascent: 9171m
Total Descent: 5712m
I have now climbed more than the height of Everest.
Short day today, which I'm using as a recovery day before the big push over the pass (the high point of the circuit) tomorrow. As it is recommended not to sleep 500m higher than the previous night, I knew it was wise not to continue on even if I wanted (which I sort of did, but I held myself back).
At 6am there were bright blue skies. By 7am the clouds had taken over. Except for brief patches here and there, it was a bleak, miserable day.
I had a leisurely morning, took my time getting ready and left sometime after 8am. It snowed lightly on the way, with snowflakes catching on my eyelashes. Frost had covered most of the vegetation; even the yak poo had icicles sticking to it.
A couple of hours later I arrived in Thorung Phedi, checked into the main hotel and ordered an early lunch. As there wasn't much to do and it was unbelievably cold, I put on all my warm gear and hopped into bed. Out the window I could barely see the nearby mountains, and the wind howled all day long. It snowed on and off, not enough to blanket the ground but enough for me to appreciate the short hiking day.
I felt lost not having a destination to reach that would take me all day to achieve. So instead I tucked up into bed and had a lazy day. All this involved was reading my book, which I have barely touched since arriving in Nepal, and trying to plan out the next few days. Mostly I concentrated on staying warm, which was proving difficult with temperatures below freezing. Even with two pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, a thermal top, two jackets, a beanie, gloves, a sleeping bag and two blankets folded in half I could still feel the cold. I was in for a long night.