Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Phakding to Namche Bazzar

We had an early start to the day, woke at 06.30 with a cup of tea.  This was the standard practice, a nice hot cup of tea followed by a check from the Leader (Sukman) around 15 mins later.  He was looking for signs of any altitude issues, and to get us out of bed!

Today would be a much harder day and one I was fearing.  I had no idea how I would cope with the altitude and I knew that the climb into Namche Bazzar was a fairly tough steep climb of around 600m.  I know I struggle on steep hills so I had some trepidation. 

The path undulates (undulating is a word we would get used to!) along the valley passing through a few small villages.  The landscape is tree lined and pretty green.  In the background is the constant sound of the Dudh Khosi, a fast flowing river. 

There are a few short steep climbs, but its fairly gentle all the way to the larger village of Monjo and soon after the Sagarmatha National Park entrance.   This is one of a few point that trekking permits are required to be shown, this was all organised by our Sirdar, Chowng Sherpa, so we had a few minutes rest before we carried on.

We crossed another high suspension bridge before stopping in the village of Josale for lunch at the Nirvana Lodge.  Soon after we again crossed the river and dropped down towards the river’s edge and walked along the flood plain/boulders.  Up ahead we could see a high suspension bridge at the confluence of the Dudh Koshi and the Bhote Koshi.

A short sharp climb got us to the bridge, a very Indiana Jones moment!  I’m not the greatest with heights, but the bridges were ok, they moved about a little but weren’t too bad.   After the bridge came a 2 hour climb up to Namche Bazzar.  This was a steep tough climb for me, but to be honest it would have been a tough climb for me in the UK!

I was breathing very hard, but this was due to the actual climb not due to the altitude (for me I didn’t feel like I was working extra hard, I always sweat and breath hard going up!!).  After plenty of switchbacks, a few rests and no views of Everest (cloudy) we came round a corner and in to Namche Bazzar, an iconic town on the trail.

The town is sat in a bowl on the side of a hill, full of colour and a hive of activity.  There are plenty of shops, café’s and tea houses.   This is pretty much the last place to buy any last minute kit (some is knock off and some is real, so be wary).

Today was a hard day for me.  My fitness was questioned, but I knew it would be at this point.  In fact I had in my head that I would be doing well to make it this far!  So much so, it wasn’t until I’d made it here that I actually told people (facebook, twitter!) that I was in Nepal.

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