Our goal for day 4 was to get to Machermo. It was planned to be an easy day. I talked to the teahouse host in the morning regarding the route, difficult segments and lodging options. It sounded like if we didn’t develop altitude symptoms we could reasonably go all the way to Gokyo Lakes. We figured we would reassess when we got to Machermo, especially considering how Tricia had been feeling the previous day.
When I say that we had no altitude sickness symptoms, I mean malignant symptoms like headaches, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath or severe Khumbu cough. We didn’t have any of those but we definitely noticed differences in our body at high altitude. Our resting respiratory rate has noticeably increased. I knew it was respiratory compensation to the environment of decreased oxygen. My resting heart rate also increased even though that sign was far less prominent for Tricia whose resting heart rate remained around 60 during our trip. I also had somewhat bothersome numbness and tingling in my hands and feet. I initially thought that these were signs of altitude sickness, but I believe it was more likely side effects of diamox. Tricia stopped her diamox by the end of day 4 while I kept taking it until we crossed Cho La pass.
It was a three hour hike to get to Machermo where we leisurely enjoyed our lunch. We both felt that we had enough drive and energy to keep going. The argument for staying was to minimize the risk of altitude sickness. Since neither of us were experiencing any malignant symptoms thus far, we felt safe to march on. We ended up at Gokyo Lakes 3 hours later. We gained another 1,600 feet over 8.2 miles on that day. We were now at 15,711 feet above sea level.
We stayed at Lakeside Lodge at Gokyo, which is owned by the sister of the owner of Mountain View lodge at Dole. The sisters looked almost identical and the two were equally outgoing and warm. It also helped that Tricia and I were their only guests for a few hours that evening. We sat around the stove in the dining room and chatted with the teahouse owners until dinner time. It sounded like the family has a small empire of teahouses. The host and her husband are the owners of Lake Side Lodge. They have three kids and they all own teahouses in the vicinity.
Since we were two days ahead of our original schedule, we contemplated the alternative itineraries, including adding a day trip up Renjo pass, a day trip up to Cho Oyu base camp, or just continuing on to cross Cho La pass when we are ready. We didn’t make any new decisions that night. Regardless of the additional day plans, we wanted to get up early on day 5 to see sunrise from Gokyo Ri. Did we successfully summit Gokyo Ri? Keep on follow me on our day 5 adventure!
Interested in reading about our food adventures in Kathmandu? Click here.
Are you planning a trekking trip of own? Check out my packing list.