Travel blog #4 Everest base camp trek Pt.1 Lukla – Namche

The flight to Lukla is a boneshaking tummy tipping and ear popping – the stewardess’ only job seems to be closing the door and handing out cotton wool for our ears – flight over orange foothills

There are 8 passengers and we are full, 30mins of stomach wobbling propellor rattling bouncing over beautiful scenery and we land on the worlds most dangerous airport runway. Cut into the mountain side, too short really to stop on time, no terminal and the bags and passed through a wire fence

We are greeted warmly by our guide Kalden Sherpa and porter Kancha

Their smiles and the bright sunshine are worth the flight

We eat dhal Bhat (first of many) the supposed trekkers staple fuel food.

Indeed along the way and in Kathmandu the shops sell t-shirts and headbands with the slogan ‘dhal bhat power – 24hr’ – we’re going to need it with a 14 day trek ahead of us

But it’s warm and we’ve only a three hour trek today so we get going and we enjoy taking to kalden about the Sherpa region and his trekking experience. Both he and Kancha have been on the trails for over 10years, both around 29years old and Kalden has reached Everest base camp 4 before which prompts my gushing and questions and looking at photos.

I am down to shorts and t-shirt in the dusty path as we reach our first stop and bed for the night at Phakding

Soon it’s bloody freezing and as it out of the main season there is no hot water and the main stove in the communal room not lit. The place is friendly and the veg curry superb but we are reeling a little after a few days in a nice western hotel in Kathmandu and a sunny stroll that we are cold and abit out of sorts

At 5am I am out of my sleeping bag being sick

At 7am we meet kalden for breakfast and my head feels like it will explode with headache

My legs are weak and nose and other orifices are streaming

I am worried and Kalden takes pulse rate and breathing rate and puts me on diamox for altitude sickness – already! I am gutted and feel like I’ve ruined the trip and am a big jesse

The day ahead was one of the hardest days of my life

9hours walking stopping only to vomit, drink rehydration tabs and put clothes on and off.

The shivers get me. I don’t talk to Helen or the porter or kalden and at least 10 times decide to quit the trek

We cross swinging Indiana Jones rope bridge over the foaming white and turquoise Dudh Kosi (milk river)

Pass Yak farmers with 20 strong herds clanging up the dusty stony endless thigh burning chest tightening steps to Namche bazaar

Stand aside for porters carrying 100kg loads of wood and materials and bottles of water and allsorts. Anything that comes up here is carried there are no wheeled vehicles at all

I am sick in the dust. We stop for a good 15 mins and debate the pros and cons of turning back. Kalden is conscientious and experienced and monitors me and advises

Helen a is a total rock and hero

It is a long slow plod with a thick head and itchy skin and bad tummy

We decide to carry on and at the top of the next turn a little girl sells oranges and in the distance – Mount Everest. A small black triangle with a teapot cloud spout

Again I can’t stop the tears

We keep going and I do make it. And it is worth it.

Namche, the Sherpa capital sits in a natural amphitheatre in the mountain surrounded by towering peaks on all sides, Kusum Khangkaru, Thamserku, Khumbu Ulu and Ama Dablam

It’s beautiful, the white stupa marks our entry which I stagger clockwise around

The rest of the mazy rabbit warren optical illusion streets will have to wait ,I am beat and in bed shivering but sweating at 630pm

Out of ten:

Dhat Bhat – 8

Veg curry – 9

Temperature – 3

Scenery – 9.8

Everest factor – 11

Hours walked – 3 + 9

Friendliness of locals – 10

Dust – 9

Yaks Factor – high

Sherpa phrases learnt – 2

Trekking beard – 4

Dogs barking at midnight – loud