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Everest Base Camp Trek Underway

Moun­tain Mad­ness Ever­est Base Camp Trek is well on its way! After climb­ing to the top of the Mon­key Tem­ple for views of the city, watch­ing the funer­al rit­u­als at Pashu­pati­nath, sit­ting beneath the eyes of the Bud­dha at peace­ful Boud­dhanath Stu­pa, and mean­der­ing through monas­ter­ies, we packed up and head­ed for the moun­tains! A few days in chaot­ic Kath­man­du, fas­ci­nat­ing though it is, makes me long for the fresh breeze and qui­et jan­gling of yak bells that we find on the trail.

Our flight into Luk­la is always a thrill, but even more so this trip! The weath­er was extreme­ly clear and we had sweep­ing views of the Himalayas before slid­ing into the airstrip. These Nepali pilots are accus­tomed to fly­ing sev­er­al flights a day into Luk­la, and they nav­i­gate the loom­ing moun­tains with pro­fes­sion­al ease. We sped in for a fast land­ing, the uphill run­way imme­di­ate­ly slow­ing us down. Step­ping out onto the tar­mac in the cool wind of morn­ing, every­one was elat­ed with the views, the vil­lage, and the start of our adventure!

In Nepal, how­ev­er, every­thing starts with tea. So we made our way over to a sun­ny court­yard and sat down to enjoy tea, while our sher­pas and por­ter­ing team assem­bled our bags into even loads. After intro­duc­tions, we all set off for a few hours of hik­ing along the Dudh Kosi, or Milk Riv­er, and a night in Phakding.

The fol­low­ing day we began to see water­falls and snowy peaks, even as we hiked through for­est and small vil­lages. Cross­ing the Hillary sus­pen­sion bridge high above the riv­er, we made a steep climb for the rest of the after­noon until we arrived in Nam­che Bazaar. An old trad­ing town, it’s now filled with lodges, shops, and bak­eries. Our whole group hiked strong­ly and is look­ing good!

Our group con­tin­ues to be amazed by the mag­i­cal and mys­ti­cal scenery, con­stant­ly sur­prised that every turn is a more beau­ti­ful panora­ma than the last. This morn­ing’s acclima­ti­za­tion hike brought us to the famous Ever­est View Hotel. Apt­ly named, we could see a long way up the val­ley that we will trek through and star­ing us in the face were Ever­est, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, and Taboche. Stunning!

We’ve also been get­ting to know each oth­er and our Nepali staff, from the 6‑time Ever­est Sum­miter to the Ever­est Marathon run­ner, from the Sher­pa study­ing to be a Bud­dhist monk to the local vil­lage boy sav­ing mon­ey for his fam­i­ly. We have a great group? Amer­i­cans, Brazil­ians, and Nepali staff, and we’re climb­ing high­er tomorrow!

~ Deana Zabal­do, Team Leader