We both felt okay this morning, so we began the big climb to Lake Phoksumdo. It was a long climb, but it felt better to know that we would just keep going up rather than dropping back down around the next bend.
At the top of the final climb we were rewarded with a view of 200-meter-high Phoksumdo Falls, the largest and highest in Nepal. We could also see a small piece of the lake where we would be spending the night. Between us and the lake was a forested slope just starting to turn colors. We walked down through it and reached our lunch and camping spot at 12:30.
Lake Phoksumdo is a deep blue that varies from azure to turquoise depending on the light. It is very deep and exceptionally clear because nothing lives or grows in it. On each side are high peaks, including a 6600-meter summit of Kanjiroba, Dolpo’s highest mountain.
We had the afternoon off to explore the nearby monastery and the town of Ringmo. The monastery appeared empty – perhaps the monks had already descended to a lower altitude. The town was more lively, with numerous teams of goats and yaks passing through. One large team of about 30 yaks arrived on the trail from the north just before dark. It could be that the fall migration to lower altitudes is already underway. Dolpo herders used to take their flocks into Tibet for the winter, but after the border was closed in 1959, they had to adapt and use warmer areas at lower altitudes within Nepal.
Back in our camp, our cooks had bought and slaughtered a goat. Although both Tibetans and Nepalis are mostly vegetarian, a little meat is helpful at higher elevations. We had goatburger for dinner.