Here continues the tale of brave Amber, who climbed to Everest Base Camp. If you missed the first installment, check out part one of her Everest Base Camp hike.
Day 4: Namche Bazaar
As a way to ease us into to our newfound mountain lifestyle, day four was a day of acclimatization and the only day out of 19 that we stayed in the same teahouse two nights in a row. We even got to sleep until 8am (a real treat), but we still embarked on a tough hike overlooking the tiny village of Namche Bazaar. The day hike was rewarding because it offered us our first views of the beautiful Everest Range. The triangle peak just to the right of the clouds behind the first range is the tip of Mt. Everest (you see, the one I'm pointing at). After a great photo op, a coffee break complete with amazing 360 ° views and the realization that we weren't dreaming, we marched on to the Sherpa Museum in town which was full of interesting articles and artifacts showcasing those that made it or attempted to make it to the top of Mt. Everest. The old-fashioned leather gear used by Sherpas and climbers was certainly not as water resistant and weightless as Gortex. Props to everyone who did it before waterproof breathable gear.
Day 5: Mongla
After a glimpse of Everest the previous day we were hypnotized and ready to be closer to Qomolangma. We departed the Friendship Lodge and walked four hours deeper into the mountains, climbing to Khumjung (3,970 m or 13,025 ft) in time for lunch (I had an amazing potato and cheese spring roll). We meandered through the birch forest and soon were above the tree line. Our porters almost always beat us to our destination, despite their heavy loads. They were usually sitting around commiserating and one young boy nicknamed "Crazy Man", was often flirting with the local girls. I found them sitting on the ground shredding potatoes behind the lodge in Mongla. We couldn't understand each other, but we sat in the yard together for a while and enjoyed the sunshine.
Day 6: Dole
What goes up must come down. This day started with a 300 m (984 ft) decent to the Dudh Kosi River at Phortse Bridge and ended with an incline to Dole. At 4,038 m (13,248 ft) in the Himalayas Altitude Sickness is common and we were advised to drink 3-4L of water a day (our CamelBak's came in handy). We also took the altitude medication, Diamox, which can be found in pharmacies in Kathmandu. I don't recommend a full dose, I was a bit loopy the first day because I took too much!
Day 7: Machhermo
The air felt thinner and we moved slower. A three hour hike on the treeless path led us to Machhermo where a local teenage girl was washing her hair outside our lodge. After a hot shower and some pasta, we were content to stare at the mountains for the rest of the day.
Day 8: Gokyo
Just amazing! I had no idea such emerald green water existed! The three and a half hour trek on this day was steep but well worth the pain. Three lakes make up the Goyko region and hundreds of man-made cairns dot the landscape beside them. A goddess is believed to live in the third lake, therefore people do not bath, swim or wash in it. The deep blue sky, pristine green lakes and stunning snow-capped mountains made for the most beautiful natural scenery I've ever witnessed.
If you get the chance, Tibet or through Nepal. You won't regret it. Stayed tuned for round three and more pictures of Mount Everest.