I awoke early to clear skies and made my way around the Namche Gompa to turn the prayer wheels and exchanged a cheery greeting with the Abbot.
We saw locals harvesting new potatoes outside Namche, and during the morning walk were overtaken several times by porters bearing dokos filled to the brim with healthy red potatoes.
I’ve seen little evidence of insect damage, though Temba has told me warmer weather conditions have increased insect numbers and shifted distributions. For example, mosquitoes are now found at higher altitudes.
We had a fine morning and could see the high peaks glimmering above the snow line. Walking was easy at the start, with a gentle steady descent. After another river crossing we climbed 610 metres, but to my grateful surprise, I found the climb manageable, largely due to a well-maintained path with a gentle gradient.
Both Temba and Tirtha told of an old man who has spent many years working on the paths, funded by donations from passers-by.
He is now 85 and unable to work the stone, but thankfully donations pay for several apprentices who are continuing his work. We were all delighted to come across him by the roadside, and have a chance to wish him long life and happiness along with our small financial contributions.
We reached the Tyengboche monastery sooner than expected. It was first built in the 16/17th Century and rebuilt twice, the last time quite recently after fire destroyed the Gompa and many of the ancient thangkas.
There are usually 60 monks present, but some were ministering in the villages and others had taken three days holiday following the completion of a long ceremony over several weeks.