It rained heavily all night in Phakding. I woke at 6am and went outside to see amazing towering peaks around us. A mist was just starting to form and by the time we got dressed and headed for 7am breakfast the views had disappeared, replaced with low clouds. At least the rain had gone. It wouldn’t have been fun hiking in the deluge. We immediately crossed another swing bridge and came to a washout from the night’s downpour. Bishnu told us to run one by one, very quickly, across a very narrow, newly formed small path with a drop below to the roaring Duhd Kosi River. We did as we were told and we all made it with fresh adrenaline pumping in our veins to kick start our day. Bishnu told us the first 2 or 3 hours were flat and easy before the steep two and a half hour climb to Namche. Yeah right! “Nepal flat” says Bishnu smiling with each very steep stepped section we ascend. There is no flat!
After many hours of trekking and a compulsory stop for tea (lemon with honey is my favourite) we then stopped for lunch. Soon after that, mushroom pizza sat heavily in my stomach as the famous Hillary bridge appeared before us. This bridge features in the new movie “Everest” and is even more spectacular in reality.
The bridge marks the beginning of the continuous unrelenting two and a half hour climb to Namche Bazar. Regular slow steps beating a rhythm to the top was the order of the day. After an eternity the exhausted group arrived at the welcoming mountain village of Namche Bazar. We checked into our accommodation at the Footrest Lodge and imbibed more tea and we all formed a queue for a hot shower. These had to be paid for but nobody was going to have a cold one tonight. Further up the mountain it is cold shower or no shower. It will be the latter for me I’m picking.
Dinner of Dahl Baht, a traditional Nepalese curry with lentil soup, and it was time for bed. The rooms have two wooden structures with thin foam mattresses that have been squeezed flat by many tired trekkers over the years. Luckily I like firm beds and I’m exhausted. I wanted this challenge to be hard and it’s more than delivered today. On top of that, mild altitude sickness set in and my head was throbbing. I stupidly took a couple of Coldral day tablets to help the head but this meant I lay wide awake until 2am at which time I took the Coldral night tabs and finally got some sleep.
Day two saw us climb a 3880 metre peak (400 vertical metres) next to the village. On a clear day Mt Everest can be seen in its glory from the top. Today however is misty again and Everest eludes us. Lemon tea at a lodge on the summit and I descend by myself back to Namche so I can Facetime Vincent Fuller who turned 25 today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY VINNIE! The rest of the group visited Khumjung and arrived back at the lodge two hours later.
My head and body feels much better today as I acclimatise to the lack of oxygen but it’s still not pleasant. We head to Tengbouche tomorrow and we will visit the famous monastery there. We’ve got another two and a half hour climb to finish the day to look forward to. Internet here is painfully slow so I can’t post a lot of photos just yet. I’ll add later when I can. Namaste!