We split the trip from Junbesi to Nunthala into two half days on account of my knees and the long descent involved. We stayed the night in Ringmo, and on the way there we came across a troop of about a dozen black-faced and white-haired monkeys just off the trail! They moved swiftly with very long tails and we later learned they were Nepal gray langurs, which are relatively common. On the same day we watched a Eurasian kestrel hovering over fields searching for lunch. According to the guidebook we should have been able to catch a glimpse of Everest on this jaunt, but to our disappointment it was a very cloudy day.
The descent into Ringmo proved my knees to be pretty bad, making my eyes water and causing poor Sean to have to carry a good portion of my load in addition to his own. Contrary to its description in the book as being full of apple, peach and apricot orchards which I was so looking forward to, Ringmo was “a town on its way down” as Sean put it. The small orchards were dormant if not completely dead, and there was a much larger presence of guest lodges than tourists, a legacy of the days prior to the airstrip at Lukla being built. There was however, a large group of tents set up for some big-time expedition of tourists. We were the lone occupants of the Apple House, ran by a single woman with very little English and who we increasingly suspected throughout the night to only be house sitting, as she couldn’t even get access to the pantry. We felt bad for troubling her and went on a quest to sample yak cheese and apple brandy, the brandy being so god-awful even Sean had trouble choking down both of our portions. Back at our lodge, the bathroom was a shed elevated above the garden with a missing plank over which to do your business.