Better late then never!

By | April 6, 2011

Whoops… sorry about the delay in blogs, this trekking business has been taking a lot out of me. I am not exactly sure where I left off, so I’ll fill you in from our visit to Bhakatpur.
Bhaktapur is an ancient kingdom located about 40minutes away from Kathmandu. We toured the entire city in about 3 hours including an educational lesson on Thanka art. I purchased one last year during the class, so there was no need to buy another one as I still have yet to properly hang the one I have at home. At the end of our city tour, we visited a few tourist shops to purchase some authentic, hand crafted souvenirs. While Chelsea and I visited this one shop, she was interested in buying a very popular game in the country known as ‘Tigers and Lambs’. “No hunny, I don’t think we need to buy one of those” I say to Chelsea, the owner of the shop interjects with “Hunny, that’s a wonderful name”. Heh. After some bartering (which I love, and am quite good at) over the price of the game, we decided to purchase it and headed for the bus. During our departure from the store front, the owner asked for my name so I introduced myself, and he replied “Thank you Keith and Hunny”.
The following day we woke at 4am to be ready for the 4:45am bus departure for the airport. The airport had far fewer people than the year before, which was quite pleasant. We boarded the first Yeti Air flight of the day, and we were on our way.
Arriving in Lukla(2840m) at around 10am, we made a short walk down a cobble stone path to Funuru’s tea house and cyber cafe. A quick round of breakfast while Pasang Nuru (our JokJok [low altitude Yaks] driver) gathered our packs to be loaded for the days trip to Gha(2592m)t. After breakfast we made the 2 hour leisurely stroll to to the International Khumbu Cafe, owned by our Sherpa guide Kami. The tea house is owned by Kami and his wife Pasang Yangjee, and their 3 gorgeous daughters. With a wonderful home cooked meal prepared by the lady of the house full in our stomachs, the entire group was fast asleep by 9pm.
Day two of the trek started with an early breakfast as we made our way up the Khumbu valley towards the town of Jorsale(2740m) where we stayed at the Nirvana Lodge. One of the better looking tea houses in the valley so far, clean bedrooms and a clean bathroom… what more can you ask for? By 8pm the group started to fade off so we headed for bed. Except for the rats that sounded like the size of a house cat scurrying around the ceiling from about 12midnight to 3am, I had a pretty good sleep.
Day three was our first big altitude gain of the trip. We made our way from Jorsale(2740m) to Namche Bazar(3440m) in about 2hours and 15minutes. This was pretty much a straight uphill climb with only 1 real break on the way. The highlight of the day was our first glimpse at Mt Everest(8848m). Our rest stop, halfway through the days trek, was a plateau specifically designed for pictures of the big hill, and the rejuvenating sense of why we were here energized everyone for the remaining hour and 15minutes of the hike.
Day four of the trip was our first rest day, and no one was complaining about that. We had breakfast at 8, and set out on a little hike up a small hill to check out the Solukhumbu Museum. Upon arriving on the top of the hill we had an epic view of Everest(8848m), Lhotse(8516m), and Ama Dablam(6814m). The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and life was good. The jet stream was pulling a train of snow and moisture off the top of Everest that made it look like the cape of a super hero. Simply amazing. We entered the Museum to learn about the life and culture of the Sherpa people. Over 400 years ago the Sherpa people came to the Khumbu valley to escape political unrest in Tibet, and they were given the Tibetan name Sher-pa, meaning east-people. The rest of the day was spent touring the town of Namche Bazar and buying some authentic ‘Sherpa Adventure Gear’ clothing. As I am writing this blog I am sitting in the dining room of the Khumbu Lodge in Namche chatting with Lindsay Doig and Pappa (Eoin) White while Mamma (Colleen) White and Ngima Yangjee play a modified game of go-fish.
Tomorrow we set off for Chumjung to stay at the Ama Dablam View Lodge with Tashi and her husband Lhapka (pronounced Hak-ba).