Because Phakding To Namche Bazar

Last night was cold. While our accommodations were spectacular (and well beyond what I expected), they didn’t stop the cold of the night from penetrating every fibre of my being. Fortunately I chose to gird my loins with some rather sporty thermal underwear. Also, the fleece liner and -20C sleeping bad didn’t hurt either.

Today we awoke around 6:30am to pack, eat breakfast, and begin our long journey to Namche Bazar – located about 4.5 hours away and at 3440m above sea level. Of course, before we started I made sure to warm up with a delicious coffee. I’m still amazed that there was a fancy espresso machine at our lodge. This trip continues to blow every expectation.

When we began our trek the morning air was crisp. We walked over a roadway of rocks, through small villages, and past cute little stone houses and shops, sometimes sharing our path with yaks, chickens, dogs, and horses. As the sun rose higher in the sky and the shadows of the mountains receded, the temperature began to rise. The first few hours of the trek were peaceful and beautiful.

After lunch we carried on, aiming to climb 600m in about 2.5 hours. The path was steep, but nothing that Rick and I hadn’t experienced before. We soldiered on, breaking for water whenever necessary. After a while, however, Rick started feeling not so hot. We weren’t nearly high enough for us to think this was altitude sickness, so we ruled that out rather quickly. Sadly it seed to be a stomach bug.

Despite feeling like a bag of smashed hammers, and despite losing his lunch, and despite leg cramps, and despite wanting to curl up and die, Rick carried on – because he’s clearly awesome and a trooper, and that’s what awesome troopers do – they carry on.

And so we did, rising higher and higher, catching glimpses of the peak of Everest and the various mountains surrounding it. The scenery was beyond spectacular.

Before long we were entering the gates of Namche Bazar. The town, nestled under the shadow of Everest, is beautiful. The streets are lined with stores offering local wares, as well imported goods that I wouldn’t have expected to find here (e.g. Starbucks coffee, dark chocolate kitkats). This town is at once traditional – filled with people who herd goats, farm, etc. – and modern – boasting broadband wifi on most shop windows. Oh, and I guess it also offers an amazing view of some nearby mountains which is beyond words. 😉

Anyway, we’ve just finished stuffing ourselves with a vegetable Sherpa stew (which was delicious by the way) and are calling it a night. We’re all pretty exhausted and figure we should stay as rested as possible given the days to come.

Oh, and don’t worry folks – Rick is already feeling much better – which is good because tomorrow we have a short hike to approximately 3800m. From there we’ll be able to catch a better view of Everest’s summit. 🙂

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