I woke up pretty early to the sound of the prayer wheel bell. It was cold outside, but beautifully bright. Today should be a good trekking day. I packed up and went down to the dining room to write my journal. Sunam, our hostess ushered me into the heated room where I saw an Illy machine… Cuppachinos in the valley!!
As I wrote, she “blessed” the room with a swinging brass incense burner quietly reciting a prayer. I felt very peaceful and blessed to be here. After a good breakfast, the team assembled for a day of good walking.
We slowly made our way out of Phakding up from the river on a nice wide path. There were many people sharing our journey- some locals with their loads of produce, some yaks, some donkeys and many climbers either going to or coming from Everest.
The beauty of the surroundings is very difficult to adequately describe… there’s a presence that needs to be felt to put it into context. The fast flowing river, the beautiful cherry blossom tree, the first glimpse of a magnificent snow covered peak…. wow.
We walked until we got to the entrance of the Sagamartha park. We enjoyed sitting in the sunshine while Sean sorted out our entry permits. There was a beautiful gate at the entrance of the park adorned with prayer wheels and it had a notice on the front that told us this was a religious place where we should refrain from taking life, refrain from anger, refrain from jealousy, refrain from offending others and refrain from taking excessive intoxicants!
We then started on our way along a rocky winding path next to the river. It was tricky going but luckily flat.
The river part of the trail showing the suspension bridges in the background
After a while we climbed up again on the trail and found ourselves staring at a very high suspension bridge…the Larja bridge. It was also a long one which swayed treacherously in the middle. I convinced myself that it was as stable as the others (which it was) and made my way across. The middle section was pretty scary. You felt like there was a chance that you could be tipped off as it was really windy, but looking straight ahead I marched across and made it safely to the other side. The next part of the trail was the big climb… 600m ascent in 2km! It was getting hot now, the secret was to choose a steady slow pace and stop often for water. At one part of the trail, a yak had lost its load of barrels and was being reloaded which blocked the path this gave us a welcome break.
I got into my rhythm and zoned out, just like I do on a long lonely mountain bike ride. It was wonderful to just have the time to reflect and think about life. It was about 2.5 hours of trekking before we reached the Namche Bazaar check point.
Namche Bazaar is a bustling town with cobbled streets and many shops and lodges. As you walk in, you pass the local ladies doing their washing in the river outlets that are piped down the mountain. I could only imagine how cold that water was!
We passed a temple surrounded by prayer wheels and then an Irish pub boasting cheap booze!
Our lodge, Sona lodge was warm and comfortable with good wifi (which is crucial for this blog).
We then went for Cuppachino and cake at the Everest bakery.
That evening after a good meal and a hot shower, I finally got my bag and was ecstatic to dress in clean clothes and use deodorant 😊
Tomorrow is an acclimatization day so I’m looking forward to exploring the town more.
It was pretty cold in the bedroom!