Sam: This is it.
Frodo: This is what?
Sam: If take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been.
Frodo: Come on Sam. Remember what Bilbo used to say, "It's a dangerous business Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 4 Namche - Khumjung How to Keep Warm

Day 4 Namche - Khumjung 
Elevation gain 350m

Today we left the trekker haven of Namche for Khumjung, a good size village but that saw fewer Trekkers. It started to snow in the afternoon in Khumjung about 2pm. There was a thermometer in the dining room that dropped from a warm 20 degrees Celsius to 12 in about 45 minutes as soon as the sky became completely overcast. The wind picked up and flapped the prayer flags just outside the window. 

I thought I would take this entry to talk a little about just how cold I have been the past few days. The search for warmth is a constant one that begins everyday after we finish walking around noon and ends the next morning when we start walking again. 

we haven't even seen the worst of it. It will only get colder as we go higher and our highest elevation is about 5400m. It took me by surprise how cold the afternoon and evenings in the teahouse were and how difficult it was to warm up. I'm from Michigan! I survived the Polar Vortex! But I always have a heated house, hot running water 24/7, and walk only a few minutes outside to another heated building or car. 

This night in Khumjung was the first night we saw our breaths in our rooms after nightfall. The rooms are drafty. We literally can see sunlight through the gaps between the plywood walls and windows. We can also hear the wind whistling if it blows in the right direction. 

This is our strategy to keep warm:
-HOT WATER! hot water that we have to buy from the teahouse at varying costs, approx $2-3 per liter. We fill our cups and Nalgenes with it and press them into our hands. After washing our hands in icy cold water (if that is even available), I always remember to have a hot Nalgene ready.  This is literally the only thing we have that is warm. There is no heat in the room and everything gets so cold so fast. 
-We climb into our sleeping bags all afternoon and read or write
-fill a Nalgene with hot water and put it In our sleeping bag when we go to sleep. 
-put the next day's clothes in our sleeping bags so that they would not be icy cold, including gloves and liner socks 

-this is what I wear to sleep:
-A Columbia fleece hat
-a long sleeve shirt
-a heavy fleece jacket
-Smart wool midweight tights

In the evening the teahouse will have a yak dung burning stove lit in the dining room. If there are few guests then I can pull a chair up within a couple feet of the stove. This is the only time in the day I feel like my feet and hands are warm. 

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