Morning break at the top of a steep slope as the group re huddles and the conversation settles on what they brought for the trip. Which 'essentials' were discarded into the 'maybe' pile and then finally left at home. Which things people now regret not bringing, and which of the trusty base-layers from previous trips just got plain forgotten. Many people compared how many times they packed, repacked, and got their mums to pack their bags before departing for Nepal.
A stop at one of the many bridges gives a chance to try and dig the gadget out that one packed, but never actually discovered how to work it out. After passing it around the group the altimeter is eventually started and another member has a working watch, hurrah! After the first downpour the toggles are located to get the waterproof-jacket-hood to eventually fit snug.
Noon-time and its lunch stop. Sweaty feet escape from the boots into sandals and a debate on leather vs fabric boots. The variety of makes baffles some team members. Weights and waterproof are compared, everyone sticking up for their trusty footwear, knowing full well they are relying on them to get them to the top of the mountain. The next is the grumble of who has the smelliest feet and which socks, varying in cost of course, are made of which fabric to give the best results. We know full well that this could be make or break of tent-sharing partners!
Back on the trail and a European group pass us by, listening to their dialect we try and figure out their nationality. The skin tight male leggings and dark shades suggest Italian, the variety of bright colours confirm they aren't British(!) but their clean and shiny boots confirms they were Spanish.
Evening at the campsite and bobble hats, fleecy hates, buffs, and home knitted tea cosies come out brightening up the tea table. The exciting time is yet to come. Is it yet warm enough for the down sleeping bag?!
With such a big trip many of the biggest personal purchases (or birthday presents) have been one's down; a fine goose feather filled warm sleeping bag or jacket that when you put on immediately makes you feel warm and cosy! Essential in the snowy conditions we are encountering. The first few days of the trek have been in hot dusty climate or forests, and each day climbing slowly up in altitude. The first night we were drenched in sweat in merely a thin liner during the night, but each night as it drops one or two degrees more and more layers are put on. First the down sleeping bags are used only as a pillow, the next night might be just to cover the toes. The next evening it might be pulled on in the early hours as the temperature drops. But the next night, is when THE NIGHT comes. It's cold enough up at higher altitude to slip right inside the fully zipped-up sleeping bag (or struggle into the unzippable sliding caterpillar as Denise describes) and basque in the comfy, warm, toasty feet delight! The only downside is coming out of it in the morning...
Hi to everyone, Han.
Just to let people know, here are the groups lists:
Group 1- Team testosterone
Group 2 – l'equipe de chic
Group 3- Team Tea Break
Group 4- the young and restless
Group 5 - better late than never