When Rick and I first decided that we’d be heading to Nepal for Christmas, I know I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The fact that we were trekking to Everest base camp was this weird surreal thing that came seemingly without reference. As the trek inched ever closer, I won’t lie, I wondered if or how I’d manage the trek and the altitude.
First and foremost, I had no idea how I’d handle an 11 day trek. I hadn’t completed an 11 day trek before and really wasn’t sure what to expect. I was worried that I had turned into a gelatinous blob over the last semester (what with not running and all), so thought that maybe I would be out of my element – completely unfit to take on such a challenge. For whatever reason, my cardiovascular fitness was way better than expected. Alan and I crushed the return trip to Lukla – pushing ourselves to the point where I thought I might vomit. It was awesome.
Beyond the idea of an 11 day trek, I also had no idea how I’d handle the altitude. I’ve been at altitude before, but base camp (and the trek to base camp) is far higher than I’ve ever been with my feet still firmly planted on Terra. Compared to home, the amount of oxygen available would be approximately half. I wondered if I’d succumb to altitude sickness, or if I’d even enjoy the adventure with that little oxygen. Fortunately, and very luckily, I never experienced anything substantial that was altitude related. I had a headache once or twice – but this was actually related to the sunshine and eyestrain. I sometimes felt a bit dizzy, but that was associated with getting up too quickly. At night I sometimes felt like I were having very mild asthma symptoms, but not enough to worry about. Otherwise, I never lost my appetite, I never felt sick, I had no gastrointestinal issues, and I never had any altitude related headaches. And even if I did, I had the fortune of having a group of excellent guides and porters who were very much paying attention at all times to ensure that I was always safe and healthy.
Going into a trip like this, one always has expectations. I expected more snow. I expected colder temperatures. I expected simpler accommodations. I expected simple foods. I can honestly say that the trek itself didn’t meet any of my expectations – it far exceeded them. I was always safe, I was always stuffed full of excellent food (and coffee or tea), and I was always rested. There was always amazing scenery, and my fellow trekkers were amazing to hike with. The sun was shining the entire time. The skies were always blue. I wasn’t always warm, but that’s part of the adventure when one decides to trek to base camp.
It really was such an amazing experience that I’m still processing it.
The one thing I can say is that this trip wouldn’t have been the same without Ramesh, and Nik, and our porters from Nepal Eco Adventures. For those of you considering an adventure like this, I highly recommend it. It will test your endurance, and your ability to deal with cold nights, poor plumbing, squatter toilets, cold showers, no showers, low oxygen, and all of the other things that made the adventure what it was. But the adventure was so bloody rewarding, I guarantee you’ll be thanking yourself for doing it.
I have to send out a huge thanks to Chhatra, Ramesh, Nik, and our porters. They made this adventure amazing. They kept us entertained and comfortable, well fed, and very well taken care of every step of the way. They made sure we were safe, and went above and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced with other trekking companies I’ve adventured with. I honestly can’t recommend them enough. And yes, whenever I return to Nepal, I’ll definitely be booking my adventures with them.
Go to Nepal. Trek to Everest base camp. It is so worth the effort.