Note: More trouble with photos due to Internet connection. Sorry!
My goodness, what a day it was. We awoke at 6:30am in sub-zero temperatures, sliding into ice-cold clothes amid shivers, frigid fingers, and totally numb toes. Then comes putting in contacts, sorting out blistered feet, applying sunscreen, and everything else that goes into prepping for a long day of altitude trekking.
Following breakfast and our morning music pump-up jams, we hit the trail. One thing has become incredibly clear at this early stage: the temperature changes almost constantly, which means taking layers off and putting layers on almost constantly. Round a bend and slide into the shade – fleece, coat, hat, and gloves on. Turn the next corner into direct sunlight – fleece, coat, hat, and gloves off. I call it Himalayan hopscotch for no reason other than that it is alliteration and sounds fun.
Today brought unparalleled beauty, which only promises to get more spectacular as the days go on. We descended deep into the valley and followed the river for several hours before heading upward 600 meters (2000 feet) in a steep ascent, all the while criss-crossing otherworldly suspension bridges covered in prayer flags flapping purposefully in the wind. This place already has that mysterious, wonderful, heavenly quality that is only magnified by the fact that we will be reaching Everest Base Camp in 7 short days.
Without question, today’s highlight was catching out first glimpse of Everest itself soaring 8,800 meters (over 29,000 feet) over sea level. Today’s trek also gave us the opportunity to get acquainted with everyone’s trekking personalities. Vlad (KGB) keeps the group moving. “Okay, so we go now?” Jazz captures every moment with her camera. Emma (Boo) has a certain whimsical quality that follows her everywhere. Wendy (Hots) is a fighter and powers through. Together, we are an awesome team that will absolutely get to Base Camp.
We arrived to Namche Bazaar just after 5pm, a full 8.5 hours after we set off. It has been a day to say the least, and the whole group are exhausted. It was a quick dinner, a quick stretch, and off to bed for everyone. Tomorrow we have a solid 5-hour acclimatization walk! Before I sign off, a quick shout out to StavMan is in order. Acclimatizing to altitude has been particular difficult for him but he put his head down and pushed through today, far exceeding even his own expectations. He is already a legend and it is only day 2.