It seems unreal to think that only a few day ago I was descending into Everest Base Camp with Sanjay, Alan, Petrina, our guide Nik, and our porters Dil and Bhakta. It seems even more unreal since I am currently writing this post from a comfy bed in the Royal Penguin Spa Hotel in Kathmandu. The room is bright, there is hot running water, a non-squatter toilet, and I’m not bundled up in multiple layers to stay warm. It’s pretty much the polar opposite of the conditions we faced on our trek to base camp.
Returning to the city after 11 days in the mountains has been eye-opening. While the comforts and amenities of the hotel are amazing, the noise and crowds have taken some getting used to. I’m actually not sure that I’m completely used to them now.
Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. The trek back to Kathmandu began the day after we reached base camp. We awoke early on the morning of the 27th, had breakfast, and made our way from Gorakshep towards Lukla. The entire trek back would take 3 days to complete. We would pass through valleys, climb mountains, and cross rivers. Our descent would see us hike from a height of 5100m above sea level, drop down as far as 2400m, and then regain 400m in a final, very tiring, very demanding push into Lukla.
Through the last three days of hiking we would pass through very different environments; from frozen desert to lush farmland. We’d pass yaks and donkeys and horses, and other trekkers who were at an earlier stage of their adventure. The return trip would also give me the opportunity to see things that I had either forgotten about, or may not have noticed because I was too busy trying to breathe. And of course, it provided me spectacular views of the Himalayan mountains.
And now I’m back in Kathmandu. The last 11 days have been filled with so many amazing experiences that I’m still processing what I saw and did. For now, I’m going to spend the eve with Rick, Sanjay, Alan, and Petrina – the last night our entire Everest base camp team will be together.