Day 5: First Views of Everest & Acclimatization Day in Namche Bazaar
October 1, 2014
Namche Bazaar is turning out to be one of my favorite little Nepali villages. It’s tucked away in a c-shaped little valley which shields it from a lot of wind. Most everyone owns a small shop, a hotel, or is a farmer. Sometimes all of the above. The land is terraced, and they build well-built lodges (we passed a Comfort Inn on the way to our tea house) and farm on every little piece of land they can. You can buy pretty much anything you may need for your trek here, which is a small miracle because they have to haul it up by porter, yak or helicopter.
Everest Base Camp Trek Day by Day Index
Today was considered a “rest day, ” but we still needed to gain some altitude to help with the acclimatization process. There’s a small airport at the top of the ridge above Namche and a museum and an Everest viewing point that we hiked up to. It was a decent hike that had the heart rate up and made me rethink the term “rest day.” I’m still feeling really good. My Singapore friends, not so much. My guy friend had a rough night last night when some dahl baht (rice, curry, and lentils) didn’t sit right with him. He was winded and never really could catch his breath. I think he was dehydrated as well. It took us much longer than most to get to the top because we rested every 20 steps or so. I’m praying he can feel better soon or else this trip is going to be miserable for him.
This morning the weather was perfect, and we were lucky enough to see views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, and a few other peaks that I’m not sure how to say or spell. Seeing Everest was seriously surreal. It’s still so far away, yet it still seems to tower over many of the other mountains that surround us. We already feel like we’re pretty high up because we can see the cliffs and the drop-offs below us. We also know how far and how high we’ve hiked which helps put things into perspective.
While in Namche, we explored the village and did some shopping at the colorful shops. My Singapore friends needed to get some warm weather clothing like gloves, beanies, warm trekking pants, and thermal layers. It was there first time trying on and buying many of these items since it doesn’t get cold in Singapore. It was an entertaining afternoon watching them try on gloves for the first time and ask questions about layering.
Namche Bazaar also has a little German bakery that makes apple strudel along with other delightful pastries. I LOVE anything strudel, so we all stopped and got a pastry and hot chocolate. It was the perfect treat, and the Himalayan views couldn’t have gotten any better.
The views here are pretty spectacular. They don’t look real half the time. It’s hard to comprehend that I’m actually here and these mountains really are this high and that views like this exist. I’m still having a wonderful time, and I’m so grateful to be on this trip. I’m learning so much about this place, the culture, and myself.
Tomorrow is a full day. We’re going to the Tengboche Monastery and then spending the night in a small village that I’m not sure how to say or spell. Raj, our guide said to expect a 7 hour hiking day. So…I’m off to bed for now.
Day 6: Views of Everest and Monasteries
October 2, 2014
Finding internet the further we climb is getting rarer. So I’ll check in when I can.
Last night was a little harder. I think some yak cheese didn’t sit right so I was up some in the night. I felt better this morning but decided to stay away from the yak cheese. 🙂
We had gorgeous views of Everest today, as well as the other surrounding peaks. Heaven smiled on us because it was such a pretty day. We had a lot of flat ground (relatively speaking) and even some downhill this morning, which was a nice change. Though after lunch it was pretty much straight hill to the Tengboche Monastery.
We had gorgeous views of Ama Dablam, which is the third most popular peak in Nepal. It’s 22,349 ft and it’s beautiful. The name Ama Dablam means “Mother’s Necklace.” It gets its name because the long ridges on the side look like a mother’s arm reaching around to protect her child. Ama Dablam has become one of my favorite peaks because it was one I could always identify on my own and it became a source of strength and comfort as we trekked closer and closer.
We had a chance to go inside the monastery. The monks chant at certain times during the day which you can watch, but we arrived at the wrong time. It was still fascinating to see the monastery though.
I’m still feeling really good and strong. I haven’t noticed too much of a difference in the altitude yet. We’re probably close between 11 to 13 thousand feet. I could go a lot faster, but my Singapore friends still stop quite a bit to catch their breath and get their heart rates to slow down.
Our guide measured our heart rate and oxygen levels today with a pulse oximeter. My heart rate was around 80, and my oxygen levels were about 90ish, which he said was perfect. So…I’m getting enough oxygen to my body without my heart rate having to speed up. I’m just trying to channel my inner sherpa I guess. 🙂 No…I know I’m still getting lots of help and can genuinely feel the extra strength and energy.
I am crazy tired tonight though and it’s a little colder than it has been. We’re staying in a very small village called Deboche, maybe 4 to 6 houses is all. The accommodations are starting to get more basic and will continue to do so as we get higher.
I’m writing down a few lessons I’m learning from being here. Here’s just a few:
- Think about why you CAN do something, not why you CAN’T.
- Stay on the mountain side of the trail because that’s where it’s safe.
- Don’t compare yourself with others, we are all fighting our own personal and individual challenges, even though we’re on the same trail.
- Don’t eat the yak cheese.*
There are several others. I’m sure they’ll make great analogies in future teaching moments. 🙂
So grateful to be here. I honestly am loving this entire journey. I’ve met some incredible people and still can’t get over this striking scenery. Just so grateful.
Good night for now.
*I did eat the yak cheese again later on in the trip. I LOVE cheese and actually really enjoyed it. It’s a strong cheese, but very tasty.