November 13th, 2009: Day 8 of Circuit
That peaceful summertime weather is officially over. It’s wintertime now. Amazing how it’s happened in just 2 days.
This morning I awoke to gentle falling snow outside my window. Last night was the first time since I’ve begun the trek that I’ve gotten a good night’s rest, and when I woke up and parted the curtains– it all felt like heavenly gift. It was quite raw and frigid inside my room, but the snow made me happy.
With the storm system there has come much tension around the guesthouses. Everyone’s speculating on the best plan of attack, how to outwit the weather, or how to pass on through as safely as possible. There is concerned talk around the breakfast table that this early snowstorm might cause the pass to be closed and force us to abort our mission. None of us are willing to accept that quite yet– but as the day progresses the snow begins falling harder and is accumulating rapidly. Skies are awfully dark and forboding. It doesn’t look like a good time to be traversing the world’s highest mountain pass.
Today is a rest day for me. Typically trekkers are encouraged to spend an extra day in the town of Manang, which sits at 3500 meters, so that there systems can be acclimatised to the thin air up at this high elevation. Manang is at the halfway point on the first half of the Circuit and the next few days will take us up another 2000 meters, so it’s best to sit tight, and enjoy the refreshing abundance of decent cuisine and wood burning stoves that Manag has to offer.
On my day off I find myself drifting around this Tibetan village walking really slowly. The falling snow brings a lightness to my heart and I have nowhere to go. As I walk around, I find myself recalling memories from my beloved Portland home– sledding with friends on the Eastern Prom, the hot chocolate hangouts afterwards, the quiet midnight strolls through snowy streets, snowboarding with Ryan, helping the neighbors liberate their snowbound cars. All day long, all I listen to is Sigur Ros, lost in peaceful reverie.