The village of Chukhung (4730m/15,518') is a couple hours off the main trail that most tourists trek. We have managed to spend less time in the more heavily traveled areas. Lobuche, Everest Basecamp, Gorak Shep, and Kala Patthar are all heavily traveled areas which is fun when you get to meet new and interesting people but the downfall is when tea houses are full and loud, and you have to share the major vistas with others. Again this is not my typical backcountry backpack trip of solitude but rather an amazing cultural experience.....and I love it!
Today we climbed Chukhung Ri (5550m/18,208') (and remember "Ri" means "soft peak"....ha!). Our total elevation gain was 2690'. We had no idea that this peak and vista would be our favorite of this entire trek! We had the mountain to ourselves and found the perfect place to sit just out of the wind but in the sun to keep us warm. We sat on top of the peak for over two hours eating our grilled yak cheese sandwich lunch and absorbing the incredible view of so many huge peaks!!! These peaks may have not been Everest but these peaks were incredibly interesting and more majestic because of the glaciated flows "melting" down to the deep valleys. Wow! Two hours just flew by like an academy award-winning movie looking at the fourth, fifth, and sixth highest peaks in the world!
John with views of Island Peak in front, Makalu (27,805') behind Island, a peak we are not sure about to the right by itself.
Tomorrow we will move back down into the rat race again and head to Tengboche (3860m/12,660') and hopefully experience the serenity of the famous Buddhist temple. I do have to say that the business of other tourists is extremely low because of the after effects of the earthquake and the fact that this is late season for trekking. I cannot imagine what it would be like if it was mainstream trekking season! From here on out we will be decending over the next few days to Lukla where we began our trek. So it should get a little warmer and significantly easier on our bodies (except for my knees....darn knees!).