What a difference a day makes
· Goraksep-Kala Patthar and EBC
· 7 hours walking
· Tea house-Yeti Lodge
We rose even earlier than usual to ensure we had reached the peak of Kala Patthar by sunrise. Our prayers had worked and the sky was looking much clearer. We couldn't believe what we saw when the sun began to rise. I think because of the cloud cover before we all really appreciated the views and the beauty of the mountains was astounding. On the way up I suddenly felt very ill. I thought I would have to descend so sent James up to get some photos from the top. After a rest and a short descent I felt better and knew if I didn't have another go at reaching the summit I would regret it forever. After a short time toing and froing I ignored Rewati's irritating comments that the views were just as good from where we are I went on without him plodding very slowly at my own pace. James had seen my bright pink Kathmandu specials trousers and came down to meet me. The views were extraordinary with a 360 degree vantage point looking out across a valley, the Khumbu glacier and finally we could see the pyramid shaped peak of Everest itself.
There have been times on our travels that I am overcome with emotion and this was definitely one of those times. The scenery was so spectacular I got a little teary! I sometimes feel a lot of guilt when we are away and having such amazing experiences. I feel guilty that not everyone has such great opportunities as us, and not everyone has supportive families and friends that we can count on if we get into any trouble. I feel guilty for even being alive to have the chance to see what the world has to offer. I know that travelling isn't everyone's cup of tea and I can see why it doesn't appeal but when you are staring Everest and surrounding mountains in the face after 8 days of walking it makes the missing home, Delhi belly and skanky hostels worth it. I am so grateful that I am able to travel and sharing the experience with James (and family when they can) is something so special. I just wish Grandy and Sam could have enjoyed some of the journey with us as well.
We had breakfast at Goraksep and after a heated discussion with a pain in the ass Rewati James and I decided to stay an extra night to get another chance to climb Kala Patthar when the weather forecast was promising even more sunshine. James and I decided to go back to EBC to try to get some decent photos so 2 hours later we were back at the base enjoying the views and admiring what we hadn't seen yesterday. There was even a couple of minutes where the clouds at the top of the mountains cleared and we could see Everest summit.
In the evening we met Sloav (Dutch) and Andrew (Kiwi-from UK originally) who were hardcore climbers. Sloav had climbed almost every high mountain in the world, even K2 where he sadly lost some of his fellow climbers. Andrew and Sloav had met climbing in Peru a few years earlier and he was a lovely guy, so sweet and was really easy to talk to.
· Goraksep-Piereche (via Kala Patthar)
· 7 hours walking
· 12km (plus uphill to KP)
· Tea house- Pumari lodge
James and I completed Kala Patthar in a record time of 1 ¼ hours. The weather was clear and the snow that made it tricky yesterday on the walk up and nearly all melted but it was a lot colder than the day before (Maurice and Teresa would've hated it-they love the heat!). There was such a strong wind that if you stopped moving for a second you would freeze and probably fall over from a strong gust! We didn't hang around at the top but listened to a few choice songs to forever hold the memory of the view in our heads and then ran back down, we literally ran we were so cold and I was hungry-no change there!
The walk to Pieriche was long but easy with mainly flats and some downhill. Rewati still seemed off with us and James's knee was a little sore from the constant downhill. But we were in high spirits so ignored Rewati and enjoyed the glorious views and the sun on our backs. I kept the iPod playing for a few hours and as there wasn't anyone else around I was able to dance my way down using my pole as a microphone/guitar/trombone! I was on such a high, we had been to EBC (twice) and we were enjoying a well-deserved change in the weather.
Rewati came good at the end of the day when he secured us with a great room at the teahouse with our own bathroom and a window looking out to the valley. The food here was great but we did miss the presence of our recently acquainted trekking comrades!
· 7 hours walking
· Tea house- Valley View
Today was very tiring with a range of flat, steep and downhill over 21km meant we were all 'pooped' by the time we arrived in the lovely village of Khumjung. The good news was the sun was shining all day and we got to enjoy the sights we had missed on the way up. James enjoyed the teahouse yesterday the best but the family in Khumjung was so sweet. They had three young children who were adorable and the whole town was very peaceful and not touristy as most trekkers continue onto Namache, only a few hours walk away. They also had the best chips ever! It is an area that grows the best potatoes and consequently the chips were delightful. The owner of the tea house, who wasn't in, is a Sherpa and has climbed Everest, among other mountains. In his picture at the summit he is smiling away while the rest of the group have full goggles and oxygen!
Rewati (back to his lovely self today) took us to another monastery but this time we didn't see any monks but (not sure of its scientific merit) we were shown the head of a YETI! I was disappointed that we hadn't seen a snow leopard, but a Yeti is way better.
· Khumjung-Namache Bazaar
· 2 ½ hours walking
· Tea house- The Nest (again)
· Gas shower
The walk to Namache was a nice relaxing stroll compared to the last few days and with the sun still shining we saw the twelve mountain view point we had missed only a few days ago. The walk through Khumjung town was so peaceful and we visited the school that had been built by lots of trekkers from around the world.
We stopped for a drink at the posh Everest view hotel where there was a large group of 'f**king rich men'! They had stopped off after their helicopter from Kathmandu had taken them around Everest and then stopped at the poshest hotel in the Himalayas for a drink and photos. A couple who had been trekking spoke to them and they were asking them; 'but where do you sleep in the mountains?' they had no idea how the rest of the world lives. Their one day excursion cost almost as much as we have budgeted for a year travelling! We took lots of photos at the hotel and various view points along the way and are so pleased as we have now seen (almost) all the views that we missed before.
In the evening the tea house was getting very busy with the back log of trekkers finally arriving in Lukla and making their own journey to EBC. We saw Maurice and Teresa's guide on his way back up, after dropping them off to Lukla just that day! Rewati taught us two Nepalese card games which were simple but fun and then we got to bed early as usual as we had a long day to come.
· Namache Bazaar-Lukla
· 7 hours walking
· Tea house- The Nest @ Lukla
Our last leg of the journey was a long one but it didn't seem as tiring as our 21km walk to Khumjung. We saw our last glimpse of Everest just outside of Namache and then we were off. We stopped at Phatding, the Royal Sherpa guest house for lunch and James made an adorable friend with the little girl there. Along the way we saw a lot of goats being led up the mountain. Rewati told us it was for the Deepavali festival and the goats were going to be sacrificed in two days-Dead Goats Walking! There was an awful lot of people heading up the mountain, I think the back log of flights was finally catching up with trek. We were pleased that, despite the bad weather at the start, we had chosen the dates we had as it just seemed so crowded now. The people coming up all seemed grumpy (maybe because their flights had been delayed) and we kept saying 'Hello' and 'Namaste' with normally a grunt in response. One guy did smile and quietly said hello and my initial thought was, he must be American. He had a baseball cap on, was quite tall and strong and friendly. I took a few more steps and heard an excited James say 'Emily, take a picture'. He was talking to the American guy so I presumed he knew him from Camp America. It turns out he was, in fact very much an English man. James said to him 'I bet she doesn't know who you are', at this point I realised he must be famous and he had a bit of a cauliflower ear so I guessed 'you're a rugby player?' I took the picture and he shook hands with James. As we walked away his huge entourage told us not to sell the picture and I finally found out who it was… Lewis Moody! A name I recognised and knew who he was but just didn't really know what he looks like (clearly!).
James was excited by his famous meet and then we were pleased to see another familiar face waiting for us at the Tea house in Lukla, Kim. We sat and talked for the afternoon and evening and discovered we had been put in the cheapo rooms! Kim had his own bathroom, with a shower! We made a fuss to Rewati and he just smiled, we didn't mind too much, two showers in two weeks is surely acceptable. Kim, who was with a more upmarket company, always had fruit with his meal and on his last day he got fresh apple and then ruined it with salt?! I told him he was weird after I questioned everyone at the Tea house and he was the only person to do this! We said a sad goodbye to Kim as he had an early flight in the morning, I am sure we will pay him a visit when we go to America.
· 40 minutes flying
· Hostel- Khangasar Guest house
The flight back was nerve wracking to begin with but was another pleasant journey back to a more breathable altitude. We saw Maurice and Teresa at Roadhouse and caught up with them for a bit before devouring some delicious pizza!
We are having trouble adjusting to a normal time schedule, no more 6am starts and 8pm bedtimes. The main problem has been the amount of food we were eating. On the trek we ate three times a day with at least two courses per meal. This has been hard to cut down and the fact that we have to pay for our meals now rather than relying on Rewati. The trek was a great experience with some fantastic people to talk to along the way. I haven't been able to include all the details or all about the great people into the blog but hopefully you've got the gist. The views will stay with us forever and hopefully everyone can enjoy some of our pictures without the walking. An amazing, unforgettable two weeks.