Phakding: 2610m, to Namche, 3440m, elevation gain 800m
Today’s hike is supposed to be grueling. There is a fair amount of elevation gain, 800 m approximately, and this gain does not always suit everybody’s health. Here’s when the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness start to show. Even the Sherpas stop consuming alcohol ( okay, not entirely) around this altitude.
The hike starts easy, with a slight incline near Phakding, and then the trail follows the river Dudhkoshi. Now my memory fades and I cannot remember the exact names of places ( and I was too busy putting one foot after the other to take notes).
We crossed picture perfect villages along the way. The scenery was soothing, green and clean.
We stopped at a place called Monjo for lunch. From here on, meals are not really worth the description, so I will skip that part altogether. Lets just say that it was wholesome, and I was hungry most of the time after a hike. So I’d wipe my plate clean, eating with my hands like I always do when the food is like home-food.
After lunch, the trail followed the river closely, leading up to a lovely bridge where the Dudh-Kosi was joined by the Bhot-Kosi river ( called BhotKosi because it came from the land of the Bhotias, from Tibet ). Soon after, steep steps appeared. With many a break we reached Namche – along the way I became proud possessor of a stout walking stick. The walking stick merits mention because it is to hold emotional significance in the coming days!
Namche is a bustling town set up explicitly for tourists. There are lovely lodges set up all around the town, there are bakeries and cyber cafes and all kinds of creature comforts that you can dream up. Nestled on a mountain-side, a short walk up the mountain takes me to a lovely view point, and my first glimpse of Mt. Everest. There are towering mountains all around – I become familiar with them as the days go by and I walk deeper and higher into the heart of the mountains. Meanwhile, from Namche, it is still a distant but lovely view.
The lodge is pleasant. I’m warming up to the folks in my groups – having fun hiking with them, and spending time in the evenings at the lodge – chatting, singing and playing cards.