Birthday in the Khumbu
Our team of 14 trekkers hail from Calgary, to Florida, to Australia and Scotland, North Carolina, Maine, Indiana, Chicago and Seattle ‑all brought together for the same goal- trek to Everest Base Camp! I have already enjoyed greatly the company of Neil A, Simona P, Mike P, Joanna Y, Catherine W, Wendy H, Pam L, JD W, Eric R, Mark C, Chris C, Dana R and my mom, Marla!
The team began bonding over our city tour of Kathmandu followed by meticulous repacking to prepare for the next day’s journey ahead! Many would say that our luck started out beautifully as, after several days of storms, our flight to Lukla took off bright and early as planned! The view from our 16-seater prop plane had the whole team hooting and hollering as the Himalaya came into view, and then as we watched through the cockpit window as the runway came up quick and smooth! “For someone who is afraid of commercial flights — that landing was amazing. I can’t believe the approach!” Says Chris C from Florida who got a front row seat for the whole thing!
Namche Bazaar. Kayla Fenske photo
Our first easy trekking day to Phakding was topped off wonderfully with a birthday celebration! We all got a great introduction to our cook staff’s amazing abilities that night with a delicious meal. As they made their rounds to ask if anyone wanted anything else, Eric joked that he would love some chocolate cake. Our server, Sila, was somewhat confused by this outburst because, little did Eric know, chocolate cake was just around the corner, with candles and a happy birthday to Neil! Cheers and singing all around, and Neil was adorned with beautiful Nepali prayer scarves and given a birthday card sent all the way from Scotland from his daughter.
Ama Dablam. Catherine Wells photo
Tham Serku. Catherine Wells photo
The next day started off with cool sunshine as we crossed the many suspension bridges along the Dudh Kosi river — a milky river from glacial runoff. We passed through the gates of Sagarmatha National Park — a significant landmark on our journey! After a delicious lunch — the rain began to pour. As many before us know, the stretch after lunch to Namche Bazaar is nearly 3,000 feet… UP! Later Pam L reflected “i was amazed at the porters running down the muddy hills in bare feet and flip flops or crocs!” Porters here are truly incredible to watch- carrying loads 3 times their size in battered shoes on uneven terrain- still moving 5 times faster than us!
Mountain Madness Sherpa crew. Kaji, Dawa, Mani, Om Kumar and Nanga. Kayla Fenske photo
Relaxing in our comfortable Camp de Base tea house here in Namche, many of us are starting to feel the effects of altitude. So happy, then, that we get two nights here! This morning we woke up later than usual, had a delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs and rice porridge, and we headed up the hill behind Namche another 1,000 feet to the Everest View Hotel. You can say that the team got a spectacular reminder of why we are all here — Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and Tham Serku towering over us! We just made it early enough to get our glimpse of the great Chomolungma, the Nepali name for Everest, before the afternoon clouds enshrouded the peaks. Feeling much more full of air on the way down, we were treated to an afternoon of rest for shopping, checking email and, for some of us, an hour-long full body massage by Dr. Tashi Tsering Sherpa as the cows moo soothingly next door.
Off to Tengboche tomorrow! Stay tuned!!
~ MM Operations Manager Kayla Fenske