Hello again Everest followers. I'm still daydreaming about the Himalayas and hope you decide to take the trip of a lifetime and experience the magic of the region as well. If you read through Part 1 of my Everest trek or browsed through photos of Goyko Peak in Part 2 and you still need convincing, read on for the grand finale of photos from my journey to Everest Base Camp. Let's start with a reminder of where we left off. Pictured right is a view from Gokyo Peak at 5,360 m (17,585 ft). Reaching the top marked the second toughest day of the trek (more on the toughest day later), but the views were rewarding with three hours of trekking bringing us up above the clouds. More after the break....
Day 9: Machhermo
Woke up at 4am, bundled up my down jacket and began the slow crawl upwards, with my headlamp glowing in the night. It seemed never ending, but surprisingly the darkness helped because it wasn't until the sun came up that I could see how high I'd actually climbed in three hours. And WOW... the 360 degree views were well worth the pain.
Day 10: Phortse
The slow start to the day was very welcome after the previous day's exhausting climb. As you can see in the picture below, the trail was peaceful and the weather was warm enough for a nap, even in a T-shirt.
Day 11: Dingboche
From Phortse, we ascended above the tree line and Everest disappeared behind the other peaks. We stopped at a monastery that was said to have once housed a legendary yeti scalp!
Day 12: Lobuje
A tough day today. We passed cairns (piles of stones) left in memory of fallen Everest trekkers, a somber and sobering part of the trek.
Day 13: Gorak Shep
We reached what I thought was the meat and potatoes of this trip, Everest Base Camp (EBC) but to my surprise, EBC was just a sign overlooking the colorful tents about two hours away. To be fair, if I was planning to climb Everest, I wouldn't want a load of trekkers coming by, peeking in my tent all day, but I have to say, there were far more rewarding views than ones from "EBC" itself. On the other hand, maybe I was spoiled by this point... I don't mean to say it wasn't magnificent because it was all just splendid!
Day 14: Kala Patar-Pheriche
Now for the hardest day in the history of my hiking career. I remember this day clearly because I struggled mentally and physically, but after counting to five over and over and over in my head, I made it. I might have been the last person, but I did see an avalanche and I reached 5,545 m (18,192 ft). Yeah, and I cried, so what!
Day 15: Namche Bazaar
By this point, I'm not going to lie, we were tired. The views from the previous day were unbeatable, but it was time to eat something other than noodles and Snickers bars. We were ready to return to Namche Bazaar where there was a bakery and a bar! Apple pie, the best bangers and mash I've ever had, coffee and beer. Life was especially good this day.
Day 16: Phakding
After what felt like a leisurely walk after our Everest exertions, we arrived at our destination that evening—the cute little village of Phakding.
Day 17: Lukla
And finally, back to Lukla again where we had a great night celebrating with our guides, tipping our porters and resting before we boarded our little twin-otter plane back to Kathmandu the next morning. I made sure to get the front seat so I could see in the cockpit.
Day 18: Kathmandu
Our final day consisted of dinner at the Rum Doodle Cafe (great book, if you haven't read it) and sad goodbyes to our amazing guides and the rest of our trekking group. Thanks for reading. I hope I've convinced you to do the trek before your knees get too squeaky or you think you're too old. I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it, even at the snappy age of 30, but seeing a group of 50-somethings helped inspire me and push me along. That, and the fact that I was too stubborn to go all that way to not make it to my destination. 10 weeks of training, gym and spinning might have helped too!