I’m currently sitting in an internet café in Namche Bazaar, which with around a thousand residents is the largest town we will encounter on our trek to Everest Base Camp. Two days ago, we woke up at 3:30 am, and left the hotel at 4:30 to catch an early flight to Lukla. When we got to the airport, there was already a line, but thankfully we were able to get on a plane fairly quickly and fly to our jumping off point for the trek.
The plane ride to Lukla was interesting. Unfortunately, it was very cloudy so we did not get much of a view, but fortunately the pilots were able to find the tiny runway through the clouds and get us down on the ground safely. From Lukla, it was only a few hours of hiking to the town of Phakding, but our progress was slowed by heavy rain and even some pretty big hail! Luckily there were plenty of tea houses along the way to duck into and have a hot drink to relax and stay (somewhat) dry.
The next day was a tougher as we gained significant elevation on our hike from Phakding to Namche. This involved crossing several bridges across the river, which can be pretty scary and beautiful at the same time. The last couple of hours of the day took us up a steep hill to our final destination around 11,500’ above sea level. We were all pretty wiped out from the day, so we had a quick dinner of potatoes, noodles and yak meat before bed.
Today we had a rest day in Namche, but in the morning we took an acclimatization hike up to the Everest View Hotel. True to the name, we got our first views of Everest today as the peak was showing up through the clouds just as we were approaching our destination. Unfortunately, it clouded in after a few minutes but it was great nonetheless. We also managed to take in some breathtaking views of Ama Dablam.
Tomorrow we will be heading to Thame, a small town a bit off the beaten path, where Lhakpa Rita Sherpa (one of our lead guides) was born and raised. We will keep you posted as our journey progresses!