Day 1-3: Lukla to Namche Bazaar
DAY 1: Lukla to Monjo, 5 hours
Finally, after days of bartering and buying gear & 1 dodgy mountain flight we were trekking! The first few days were full of “Oo’s and Ahh’s” at the beauty around us. The turquoise river running wild with homey cottages dotted along the trail at the foot of lush green peaks. Starting out of Lukla (the town we flew into) we hiked 5 hours and stopped for the night at a place called Monjo. The hike to Monjo goes up and down following along the beautiful Dudi Kosi River the whole way. We passed by teams of yaks strapped full of supplies, slowly making their way down the rocky trail. Sherpas with TOWERING loads pushed their way on. FYI: Sherpas are hard-core. I counted 11 CASES OF BEER in one of the their baskets. 11 CASES OF BEER. Think about how heavy 1 case is to carry from your car to your house, now times that by 11 & walk up a mountain! Plus the Sherpas are the same size as me… insanity!
The first few days of the hike required us to cross over the river a few times. Long, swaying, wobbling, bouncy suspension bridges are your only option. Yaks, donkeys, horses, dogs, Sherpas, & hiking groups, all passing by each other on these one lane bridges. The bridges offer incredible views of the river rushing far below, but I wasn’t a fan of the swaying & passing of people on the narrow walkway. I stuck to singing Disney’s, “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” to keep my mind off the bouncing and wobble. Rhys had no worries, half hanging over the bridge to take a photograph of the lines of prayer flags blowing in the wind off the bridge’s side. By the 4th and 5th suspension bridge, I was a pro at walking on the suspension bridges.. but admittedly still singing The Lion King.
Our night in Monjo was filled with lots of hot lemon tea & card games. We played cards all night with a sherpa who SUMMITED Mt. Everest 4 times! That’s what makes travel so worthwhile to me. The people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting, whom I’d never have a chance to meet otherwise. Namgyn told us all about the Hillary Step, the dangers of the Khumbu icefall, and the endless work of a Sherpa catering to whining and dazed rich western clients for the 75 days they all live & breathe on Everest. He said the view from the top of the world is so beautiful, an endless array of white mountains in every direction. (Can I at least mention that I beat him in cards all night long?!)
Day 2: Monjo to Namche Bazaar, 3 hours 45 minutes
We had an early rise the next morning, a bowl of hot muesli, and were ready to hit the trail. A hard hike UP to Namche Bazaar, where we ascended 2,000ft/600m in 3 hours. A very steady climb and up, up, up, the whole way. I felt like a pansy when porters with humongous baskets filled with 30kg of food, drinks, and random supplies to deliver at the next town were going up the same pace as me! Finally, after a tiring 3 hour uphill battle.. I was the winner. Namche Bazaar rested at our feet.
Day 3: Acclimatization Day in Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar is the main stop off point for all hikes going up and down the mountain. It sits at 11,286ft/3,440m with white peaked mountains surrounding it. There are bars, bakery’s, souvenir shops, internet cafes, a Tibetan flea market, book stores, and lots of tea houses. Most hikers, and all smart hikers spend an extra day acclimatizing to the change in altitude here. Golden rule #1: go up slow! Going up slow and having acclimatizing days helps aid your body with the change in altitude, and lowers your chances of succumbing to altitude sickness. These so-claimed “rest days” are far from actual resting. In order to properly acclimatize you must push your body, golden rule #2: climb high, sleep low. On our ‘rest day’ in Namche we decided to take the popular hour hike straight up to the highest hotel in the World, Everest View Hotel (13,000ft/3,900m). The hotel offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the mighty Himalayas, surrounding you from all directions. It was absolutely breathtaking. In the middle of all these white giants, peeking out from far behind them was the one and only, Mt. Everest. We sat at the world’s highest hotel, feeling lost in the clouds, sipping a hot cup of Joe, mesmerized by our first glimpse of the goddess mother of the Earth.
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