24
Feb

Football Training

By: muttler

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25/01/2018 – Kenjuma (3570m) to Chumoa (2750m)

Not a lot to report for this day. It was a fairly easy day, with both regard to terrain and hiking time. The snowing was no more and we were back to nice blue skies, with just the dusting of white on the trees and trail reminding us of the previous day.

 

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back in namche

 

We left the puppy house and started making our way down. The snow had iced up a little making some of the steps a little precarious, but nothing too difficult. It was a different kind of morning than usual, with just a 2 hour walk until our first stop, which was back in Namche Bazaar. Hard to believe we were back.

 

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It was actually a lazy 3 hours or so of chilling out there and relaxing. Most of us just relaxed back at the cafe we did on the way up, enjoying some decent coffee. We were actually pretty keen to keep going, but the length of the hike back meant we had to break it up in this way, and it was better to relax in a warm cafe with coffee and wi-fi than get to our guest house at about lunch time with little to do. I got back about the town, but like the way up it was very quiet and not much open, so really it was just time to rest (and caffeinate) up. The streets were amazingly icy too meany getting about was more dangerous than it was worth!

 

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After some lunch we headed off on a fairly easy few hours. Down to the river and along the banks until we reached Chumoa, our home for the night. As luck would have it we had a makeshift football pitch next to us, and the whole crew was up for a game. So 5 a side it was, with team Australia and Ireland facing off against Pasang, Mingma and the porters. A couple of the local kids also jumped in when they could which was ace. Even though we weren’t that high up (now under 3000m) you could tell you were running at altitude. 10 paces and you were gasping for breath! After a bit of time we got used to it, and we played for an hour, every now and then having to retrieve the ball from the riverside. So much fun.

Other than that, it was dinner and a lot more cards before bed.

24
Feb

Hanging Out In Namche

By: muttler

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17/01/2018 – Acclimatisation in Namche Bazaar (3440m)

Today was our first acclimatisation day. When heading upward, while you can gain many hundreds of meters (or more), you are not meant to sleep more than a few hundred higher than the previous night, especially as you go 3000+m. The added benefit of acclimatisation days is simply spending more time getting your body used to the altitude, so today was a day of hanging out in Namche Bazaar, with a nice hike in the morning to get our bodies feeling good.

 

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So a later brekky meant heading out the door at about 8:30am to get used to the altitude. Plan was to hike to Syangboche, a point above Namche at 3860m, where nice clear views of Everest and more would await. Up we began to hike, a quite challenging 2hr trek of fairly steep stairs. As we got up the views got even more spectacular and we were greeted by the odd yak or two just hanging about. The views of Everest were nice and crystal clear, but it was Ama Dablam that really shone, it’s two peaks presenting spectacularly.

 

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the gang

 

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everest!

 

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ama dablam

 

We eventually reached a tea house at Syangboche, with a small peak nearby that afforded amazing 360 degree views. Soaking those views in we settled in for a (now typical) lemong, ginger and honey drink before heading down. 2 hours up, 40 minutes down 🙂

The rest of the day was for free time in Namche. Like mentioned yesterday, the town was quite quiet, but I had the opportunity to pick up a handful of small souvenirs (an EBC beanie, map, patch and some prayer flags), as well as (most importantly) load up on some chocolate for the coming week. Most of us then hung out at a coffee shop, having some decent coffee and hot chocolate while watching a doco of the Sherpas that help get people to the summit of Everest. I had seen quite similar docos before but their commitment never fails to amaze me.

With a long day tomorrow, it was another low key evening of dinner, cards and sleep.

 

24
Feb

How Bazaar

By: muttler

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16/01/2018 – Phakding (2660m) to Namche Bazaar (3440m)

Our first big day of hiking awaited today. Even though 7+ hours was ahead of us it was still a relatively relaxed start to the day. A 7am wake up, leisurely breakfast, and then out the door a bit after 8am. The destination was Namche Bazaar, sitting at about 3440m. It was also the location of our first acclimatisation day so it was a fairly gentle way to get the trekking underway.

 

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Like yesterday, the path was half “Nepali Flat”, but also we were going to encounter our first real upward trajectory. Over the course of the day we crossed a number of amazing suspension bridges. As someone who loves heights it was awesome! Happily all our group was good with heights too meaning no coaxing or blindfolds were required.

 

officially into the national park

officially into the national park

 

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Most days consisted of a few hours of hiking and then a rest stop at a tea house to enjoy a cup of tea, or in my case usually a lemon, ginger and honey tea to ward off any colds that may think they were going to strike. Today at about 10:30am we settled in for a cuppa, meeting our first fellow travellers coming the opposite way. Given it was low season for hiking, we were not really encountering many others, only a handful per day. Certainly at odds with the stories of crowded trails.

 

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From there it was a couple more hours of hiking then lunch. A big plate full of potato later and it was the first real challenge of the trip. Up. And up. And up. It kicked off in earnest at the most amazing suspension bridge, 100m above the river, the colourful prayer flags adorning and flapping in the wind. From there we kept heading up, constant steps and paths leading the way. To be honest I was feeling pretty good. Sure you welcome a breather, but for the most part I was hiking strongly. I was getting the feeling that the training was going to pay off.

 

EVEREST!

EVEREST!

 

Then at one point it happened. There she was… Mount Everest, crystal clear. It was both surreal and overwhelming. A nondescript peak in the distance was the tallest one in the world. Given there are a number of other peaks over 8000m, and that you can’t necessarily see it all the time, it just blended in to the landscape. But now it was etched into the memory and would always cause some goose bumps when we spied it on our travels.

 

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namche bazaar

 

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the view from my room window

 

From there it was not much further to Namche Bazaar. Namche is the largest village we encounter on our hiking. In the peak of hiking season, say April and May, there can be a couple of thousand people here. But for us, we were probably only one of 2 or 3 sets of travellers in the whole village. That meant that while a number of shops were open, selling their beanies and maps and prayer flags (and importantly chocolate), many were shut meaning it was a bit a ghost town. It didn’t worry us too much, as on arrival we were keen to just start to relax a bit after our day.

Some Dahl Bhat replenished the energy banks and after some relaxing in the common area it was off to bed.