A view of Mount Everest
Today we make an attempt at reaching Namche Bazaar which is a popular trading village along the Everest Base Camp Trek trail. The trail is all up with a few little flat stretches. Last night I slept well under big thick blankets. This morning there was no water due to frozen pipes so it looks like my two weeks of no washing is about to begin. Tea Tree oil is my savior. As are pancakes, big ones.
It also helps that there is no one around. No sign of other trekkers at all. It looks like at this time of year the mountains are reserved for the solo travelers and locals restocking their tea houses.
First glimpse of Mount Everest
Narayan chats with a few locals about the conditions ahead as we stop by some ladies selling oranges. Where quite they get oranges from I don’t know.
But it’s here I glimpse Mount Everest live and in all its glory for the first time.
Framed between some tall trees it looks majestic in the distance. And, very far away. Not to mention, quite high up. It’s only now you begin to realize just how much further you have to go by foot!
Locals leaving the high grounds on Everest
As we move on it seems that there’s more of a mass exodus than incoming flux of people on the trail. Locals stacked high with blankets, baskets of kitchen ware and bags of clothes are all deserting the cold high grounds in droves.
“It’s one of the coldest winters we’ve had,” answers Narayan. “They’re going down to the valley to wait it out”.
Winter is here and the sensible are seeking the warmth of lower ground for the duration or the season.
“They think it will snow any day now …” he finishes nonchalantly.
I frown. If it snows it means the trek is over. We can’t make the passes if it snows.
Don’t snow. Not yet.
At that moment we decide to cancel our side trip to Gokyo. A stunning mountainous area giving possibly the best views of the entire region. It was a fast decision. One that was made so that we might make it to Everest Base Camp before the snow.
One sacrifice to accomplish something else.
Hopefully it would not be in vain.
Like to know more about places to trek in Nepal? Check out my list of treks in Nepal with maps of the areas.
Prices start to rise on the trek to Everest
A Dal Bhat Dinner last night was 300 rupees. Compare that to Kathmandu of 80 rupees (yes, I’m that cheap). It’s not just the difficulty of food up here that causes the price increase. It’s the fact that you have no choice.
Regulated by local authority, every year the prices go up. This is off set by the fact that in Nepal rice prices have shot up by nearly 50% in the last year. The small country sandwiched between the two giants of India and China is under pressure to feed its own. Let alone its number one income source: the tourist.
Welcome to Namche Bazaar (3800m / 12467 ft)
We arrive into Namche on the Everest Base Camp Trek route in time for a late lunch. I am already feeling the strain of the trek. Whether it’s the altitude, or the fact I’ve not been well over the past few months I don’t know.
These are now the first thoughts of all those long hours sitting around recovering from illness that may be holding me back. These are the first inklings of a larger battle I face on the trek. The mental battle.
Stopping every hour or so to re-tape up my disintegrating boots is not helping matters. I’ve lost nearly all my grip within a day’s trek. Now with tape wrapped around the top one-third I’m off-balance and relying on my heels for a proper grip.
I am hoping Namche Bazaars famous market from Tibet will provide me with a new pair of emergency boots. Otherwise it’s starting to look like I might not make it.
Day 3 of the Everest Base Camp Trek (acclimatization and shopping)
Note this is not live, the trek took place in December/January
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