TokTok: 2544m/8700 ft.
Namche Bazaar: 3446m/11270 Ft.
7km, 4.5 miles, 6.5 hours hike time
Terrain: Gently rolling trail until after lunch, then a steep climb up a long hill using stairs and switchbacks for 2-2.5 hours.
As we struck out from Lukla that first day we quickly encountered something Ryan had mentioned during the pre-briefing: Mani stones. All throughout the Himalaya are symbols of the Buddhist faith that is an important part of their life. Chortons are one example; they are usually larger, constructed structures that look like religious structure and often contain prayer wheels. Mani stones are rustic shrines; large rocks painted or carved with prayer symbols, or piles of rock slates on which the symbols are cut and painted.
Prayer wheels are supposed to be spun clockwise, the direction of the earth’s revolution, according to Buddhist tradition and mani stones are approached the same way and passed on the left side. Ryan had warned us that other trekkers and locals will call you out if you break the custom, which is sometimes tempting when the easier path is a downhill slope to the right.
This was our first mani wall. You can’t see in this shot but there is a path around both sides of the wall. People approaching from the opposite direction would pass the wall on the path that is to my right. We went left.