Friday, December 9, 2011

Nepal Trek Day Two: Phakding - Namche Bazaar

Over the next three weeks, I'm taking a trip down memory lane with a look back at our trip to Nepal last December. For all of the entries about our trek, click here.

The theme of day two was "Up and More Up." As Bharat promised, today involved a lot of steep uphill hiking. Given our early bedtime the previous night, our day started early around 5a. After a 7:30a breakfast of black tea and an apple pancake, we hit the trail.

{early morning village view}

{everywhere you look there's a beautiful scene to behold}

{entryway into Sagarmatha National Park}

{D and I upon entering the park}

We stopped for lunch in Jorsale at 10:45a, surprisingly, though it was only three hours after we had hit the trail, both D and I were starving. I supplemented by traditional platter of dal baht with a slice of apple pie. (I just couldn't resist!) 

Jorsale was the last "village" before the final slog up, up, and up to Namche. Not long after hitting the trail after lunch, we came upon an extremely high suspension bridge. After letting a yak train cross, it was our turn. There was a bit of a steep unprotected step down from the bridge on the other side, and I was glad that Bharat was there to offer a steadying hand. 

{majorly high suspension bridge; I was not a fan}

After a particularly long period of switchbacks of the hillside, we came upon our first view of Mt. Everest. Another bonus of this stopping point was the two villagers selling fresh oranges to eat. The sweet and juicy orange was a refreshing snack after such a long haul uphill.

{Me with the first view of Mt. Everest behind me}

{Me right before that picture was taken}

The trek uphill didn't seem to phase Bharat or Dilip much.

{Bharat and Dilip; just a walk in the park}

Given that there are no roads in this area, the only way to transport items is by carrying them. Needed items are flown to Lukla, and then porters carry them (such as building materials, food, cases of beer, etc.) the rest of the way. After seeing what these porters were carrying, I no longer felt I could complain about the perceived heavy weight of my relatively small daypack.

{all of a sudden our packs feel less heavy after watching these porters pass through}

We arrived in Namche around 2p. The village, which was particularly scenic, was a welcome sight to behold. Unfortunately, we still had about a million (or so it seemed) stairs to climb to make our way through the village up to our lodge for the night.

{Bharat pointing out sights in Namche to D}

As we entered Namche, we passed by a large encampment of Tibetan traders, who had made their way from Tibet to Namche to sell (cheap Chinese) goods to the locals and those passing through town. They stay until their goods are sold before making the ten-day trek back to Tibet.

{a Tibetan yak; Tibetan traders trek into Namche to sell goods in the 
marketplace before making their way back home}

Eventually we arrived at our lodge, and after after reaching our room and dropping my pack, I immediately stripped off several layers and collapsed onto my bed. 

{the entryway to our digs in Namche}

{mountain view from our lodge room window}

After a short nap, D and I headed to the lodge's dining room to relax with a cup of tea and get in some reading. D and I also played a few rounds of Scrabble to entertain ourselves before dinner.

{lodge dining room}

{Tashi (which means "lucky"), the lodge dog, and resident crumb picker-upper}

Tonight's dinner consisted of a cheese sandwich (which was delicious) and more black tea. After dinner we hung out for a little while more with our fellow lodgemates before calling it a night. After an exhausting day of hiking, I was definitely looking forward to hitting the hay. I was also looking forward to not having to pack up all our stuff, as we would be staying in Namche again the following night as we acclimatized to the elevation. 

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