It just keeps getting better and better. I can't believe it. We awoke this Easter morning to a coating of snow and a view of Ama Dablam from the window in our room that was simply stunning! We were also able to see Lhotse as well.
Some puffy clouds here and there but bright blue sky everywhere else treating us to the ever growing set of mazing peaks. The trail immediately headed down 2,000-ish feet to the river below and the village of Phunki Tenga ("funky tonga"). Everyone was signing "Won't you take me to... Phunki Tenga". At the Zambala Restaurant, located right at the bridge of over the Dudh Koshi river, we enjoyed a great lunch of fried egg and fried rice. It was so, so good.
The bridge over the river meant one thing: the rest of the way is up. Actually the 2,000 ft. climb up was beautiful and once again remarkably similar to hiking in the Cascades. The amble switchbacks and traversing up to the ridge made effort not the struggle that some were fearing. It was quite, quite enjoyable. For me, Ben, made it most enjoyable by DJ'ing tunes off of his iPhone with a small speaker. Michael Jackson kicked it off and soon I was moon walking my way of the trail in my hiking boots. We played quite a bit of name that tune and the next thing we knew we had reached the world-famous Tengboche Monastery.
We slipped off our boots and toured the inside of the monastery. This gompa is considered the cultural and religious center for the people of the Khumbu region. Fortunately we were allowed to photograph inside. What's interesting is that this gompa is not really that old. It was originally established in 1916 but was destroyed in an earthquake in 1934. And then a year after electricity was installed in 1988, a fire burned the gompa to the ground. Since rebuilt, it was quite a site to behold. The spiritual aura added a wonderful touch to this Easter Sunday.
We had planned to also tour the museum as well but it was closed until 3pm, so we opted for plan B: Cafe Tengboche bakery. Oh yeah, that's right more apple pastries. Have I mentioned that we are NOT roughing it? Tengboche presumably offers some of the best views in the Khumbu, but once again the cloud denied us the pleasure.
Some stayed behind to wait for the museum to open and also get a chance to hear the Monks chant. Unfortunately, I didn't know that was an option and head down the 20 minutes to our lodge for the night: The Rivendell Lodge in Deboche, proudly named after Rivendell from Lord of The Rings. The short hike down passed through the rhododendron forest which unfortunately was not yet in bloom. Since it was super cool to pass thru huge rhododendron trees forming an arch over the trail. I'm hoping for bloom when we make our way back in two weeks.
The Rivendell is another nice lodge, we are all once again hanging out in the dinning room snacking (does the food ever end?) on some wonderful cheddar, tomato, cucumber on cracker with hot tea. Dinner at the typical 6pm (in about an hour).
Tomorrow we move on to Dingboche, climbing 2,165 ft. along the Imja Khota river and making four river crossings. The suspension bridges are so cool. We will spend two nights in Dingboche with an acclimatizing hike on the day after tomorrow.