I started my journey in Kathmandu a city filled with crazy streets and many salesmen. I purchased a ticket from the Kathmandu airport to the Lukla from the Yeti/Tara airlines for the 1st of October. I arrived at the airport quite early and was hoping to board a plane to start my journey, 6 hours later I learned that that Lukla airport had been shut down due to poor weather conditions. Luckily there was a kind guide who directed me and my group to an alternative option of taking a “jeep” to Salleri and starting our trek from there. He rode with us to the office where we bought our ticket and parted ways. We decided this was the best option as the flights have been known to be delayed for several days at a time. We rose extremely early to catch a taxi to the bus station where our jeep ended up being two hours late for pick up. This made our ride happen during the high traffic time of the morning and also at the end of a festival so many people were on the road. Our ride up th mountains took upwards of 12 hours to arrive at our destination with 11 people in the 8 person SUV. I happened to sit next to a grandmother and grandson, the little boy ended up vomiting all over me during the ride and the driver refused to stop until other people were getting sick from the smell. I cleaned myself off with my drinking water for the trip and we continued on our way. I was happy to arrive in the starting town until we realized that the town was fairly full and had trouble finding a room to sleep in. We started down the road the next morning which shifted into a hiking trail and this is where the trip started to look up for us. Although the trail climbed steeply and it was raining the experience was everything I wanted it to be. We traveled through each little town and past beautiful scenery, waterfalls, butterflies, and rainbows everywhere I turned.
The first few days included a lot of uphill elevation gain but was good for acclimating to the height we would end up at. We passed through Nunthala, Jubling, Bupsa, Puiya, Surke, and landed in Cheplung. Cheplung is where the Guide who helped us at the airport had a lodge with his wife. We were able to spend time there and felt like we were home away from home. The wife and two daughters welcomed us into their space with open arms and gave us an experience of a lifetime. We kept on our way up through the Himalayan foothills toward the Everest Base camp. We trekked past Monjo onto Namche Bazar where it is advised to stop so ones body can aclimate to the elevatio. I stopped for two days and switched hiking partners from The awesome Brazilian couple to the cheeky New Yorker. David the New Yorker was much more my pace of hiker and a hilarious companion for the journey ahead. We set out through Sansa and around Tengboche via Phortse. This was a grueling bypass that most people don’t take when traveling toward Everest Base Camp. It gave us amazing views and a deserted trail besides a few packs of yaks along the way. We caught up with the main trail near Pangbocheand on to Periche, Dukkah, Lobuche, and up to Gorak Shep the last town before Everest. When we arrived the town was completely full and we only found a place to stay inside a lodge due to a last minute cancellation otherwise we would have been sleeping in a tent. This would have been difficult to me as I chose not to pack a sleeping bag or mat. The next day we made our way to the Everest Base Camp through the driving snow and almost a whiteout. We were able to find our way because of two other trekkers and their guide who kindly let us follow them. The next day we made our way up Kala Pattar which is the look out point in the area, it is also a 4-500 meter climb over a short distance. After that we were still full of energy and decided to cross to Dzonglha. This was another difficult route to take but an easy path to follow as many people were hiking at this time of year.
After spending the night in Dzonglha we made our way over the Cho La pass to Gokyo. Gokyo is a beautiful little town nestled next to five sacred lakes, all of which are kept in pristine condition. They all have emerald blue water and reflect the mountains above them like a mirror. The valley below is a magical place where one can imagine the birth of the world happened millions of years ago even though these mountain ranges are some of the youngest. The many rock carvings and prayer flags dot the paths along the way and enrich the journey one is taking through the area. I was unfortunately not feeling well from a slight fever and decided to make my way down the Gokyo valley instead of crossing the Reno La pass. This happened to be a blessing because the valley was incredible and gave way to many stupendous views and passed by 4 of the 5 lakes in the area. I happened to be hiking down when there were few people on the trail. So it was all mine to soak up. I made my way past lakes, waterfalls,, streams, rivers, and mountain side villages. It was everything that I wanted out of this trip and the solidarity gave me time to reflect and divulge into my psyche. I was given a book before this trip which was extremely relevant to my experience. It was a book on Buddhism and Jungian psychology which match quite well in their philosophy. This helped guide my thoughts along the return trip to Lukla where I would fly out of the most dangerous airport in the world. The whole trip was an amazing experience which exceeded my expectations of what was to come from this trip. This entry into my blog/journal is a quick synopsis of the two weeks I spent out in the shadows of the Himalayan giants. I plan on divulging into the experience much more in the next few entries.