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Published: December 30th 2016
I boarded my flight from Newark and landed in New Delhi, 14 hours later. I was jet lagged and it didn’t help that I got into an argument with the bus conductor, while traveling from terminal 3 to terminal 1 of the airport, to see my parents. But everything ended well, thanks to some airport officials. I got to see my parents, we had dinner and headed to the hotel.
I spent the next two days in Gurgaon, meeting some people and spending more time with my parents. The third day, we flew to Kathmandu, Nepal. The flight was smooth and there was no problem with the immigration, with our Indian passports.
I was still jet lagged and had caught a cold the day I landed in Nepal. Hence, spending time in Kathmandu, was important for me, to bring my body back on track. The elevation was not a problem (Kathmandu, is only 4500 feet above sea level). We did some local sightseeing – visited the Durbar Square in the night, walking through the bustling Thamel bazaar; also went to the Swayambhunath temple, climbing our way up those 365 steps (no I didn’t count them) and the Bodhinath stupa,
under construction at the moment, after the devastating earthquakes.
I met the rest of the trekkers later in the evening, along with Mingma, the leader and trip coordinator. He gave us useful tips in order to be safe and complete the trek successfully.
We left for the local airport early in the morning, the next day; boarded our domestic flight to Lukla, with Goma Air, in a plane that must have had a capacity of around 16 passengers. There was an air hostess, welcoming us with candy and cotton-balls, who also gave us safety instructions in Nepali and English.
Although the views from the sky were really good, I didn’t take any photographs. Sometimes, when you like a moment, it’s better to just sit back, relax and let the feeling sink in. The flight took less than an hour.
When I landed at Lukla (9200 ft), two things hit me immediately – the decrease in temperature and the improvement in air quality. The elevation was twice that of Kathmandu. While, I found the Thamel area in Kathmandu, highly commercialized, with a lot of vehicles and polluted air, Lukla was quieter, colder, with no vehicles and hence
the air was much cleaner.
The Sherpa sardar, Bal Kumar, introduced us to the Sherpa leader and the support staff – the assistant guides, kitchen boys and the yak herders (porters).
And then it began - the start of a beautiful journey. The long awaited Mt. Everest Base camp trek. I was finally doing it.
There were a lot of clouds in the sky that were shielding the mountains, but the views were still beautiful. We made our way through the marketplace. It was the first day and it was going to be easy. The trek was mostly going to be downhill. We were going to camp in Phakding (8500 ft). While on the way, our porters crossed us, with the animals carrying our duffel bags. I mistook those animals to be yaks, only to be told by Ananda, one of the assistant guides, that they were jopkyos (a cross between a yak and a cow).
By evening we were at Phakding - a total elevation decrease of close to 700 feet. The porters had already set up our tents. We were treated to some black tea and biscuits. After an early dinner, it was time
for bed. There was a lodge close-by where we could hear some trekkers partying. Bal Kumar told me, that in all likelihood, they must be trekkers on the way down to Kathmandu. That’s the way it usually is – trekkers are very careful with their diet and safety on the way up, but on the way down, they just cut loose and have fun.
I was sleeping in a tent after a long time and was still a little jet lagged. Hence, I woke up a few times in the night. I remember waking up at half past three and struggling to go back to sleep. I spent almost an hour doing that till I heard the sound of some bells (had to be some yaks or jopkyos) and a woman, yelling in Nepali, sounding really mad at something. How I wish, someone had been able to help her out, so that I could get back to my sleep, but that was not to be. I stayed awake till it was time for tea.
We headed out after a heavy breakfast. We were going to make up for all the elevation that we had lost the previous day
and also go further up after that. The destination for the day was Namche Bazaar, 11300 ft. The trek till lunch time was easy. There were mountains all around us and trees and several bridges. Long bridges, most of which were wobbly with water flowing strong and fast underneath them. We reached a good resting point after lunch, where we could see two bridges one on top of the other. I made friends with some Chinese tourists. Things got interesting after that. While we had gradually gained an elevation of around 1000 ft over the first 4 miles, we were about to gain twice that amount of elevation in less than 1.5 miles.
I started off and crossed the higher bridge and could soon feel the incline. I could see clouds at a distance. Taking it slowly, was the smart thing to do. However, I realized that I wasn’t dressed properly for the trek – the cotton in my clothing was making me sweat more. But I kept going.
After a while, I found myself struggling. Maybe it was the lack of sleep from the last few nights. I got separated from my team. But neither did I
freak out nor did I lose hope. I sat down for a couple of minutes, took in some oxygen and got my energy back up. There was mist all around. I continued after that, slowly but steadily. An hour later, I caught up with my team, while they were taking a break. I felt better knowing that I wasn’t far behind them all this while. I looked around and could see the same clouds, but this time, below me. This really told me that we had gained a lot in elevation. An hour later, all of us reached Namche Bazaar.
My clothes were all drenched with sweat, so much so, that when I sat on my bed and got back, I left behind a wet patch. I had a slight headache – it was a slight form of altitude sickness. I made sure I had a lot of fluids – hot soup and electrolytes. I ate well and went to sleep.
The next day was an acclimatization day. We trekked up to the Everest view hotel, at 12600 ft. It was cold and very foggy and cloudy and sadly, we couldn’t see Mt. Everest when we were up
there. The clouds did start to clear up for a bit, we thought we were going to see Mt.Everest, but sadly, that didn’t happen. Instead, we saw Mt. Nuptse (25,700ft) – Everest’s younger sibling.
Again, since it was an acclimatization day, we didn’t stay up there. Instead, we came back all the way to Namche Bazaar, to spend the night there.
Tot: 2.207s; Tpl: 0.114s; cc: 18; qc: 64; dbt: 0.0766s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 3;
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