EBC

My Trip to Everest Base Camp

Took the Qatar flight from Houston to Doha to Kathmandu. Prakash met me at the airport and welcomed with a scarf and smile. He had not been able to get me in the same hotel as the group for the first night. So, at 2:00 o’ clock I stayed at a completely new hotel all on my own. It was pretty safe and I rested. In the morning after breakfast I went for a stroll and found the hotel where the others were staying and met the group. Bhumpi (Kavita) and Sudhakar bhai had just reached the hotel and Shant bhai and Ishu were sick. Got my luggage and after settling in a bit went into the market to look around with Bhumpi. Had lunch with Shant bhai and Ishu. They were pretty sick and had masks on. Fever and cold. More shopping and made small packs of everyones snacks combined to take each day in our backpacks. Had dinner at Big Buddha place and had Punjabi food. Everyone tired today. Met Khushant in the market who was going to leave early tomorrow. Slept early

The next day was sightseeing day. Saw monkey temple, Parshuram temple and Darbar. Was nice. The guide at Darbar took some nice pictures. Came home and packed with Prakash’s help. He was pretty good about advice of what to take and what to leave behind. Shared stuff with all.

EBC

Day 1: After a relaxed yummy Indian breakfast with yoghurt and tea at the hotel, left for the helicopter ride to lukla. After delayed flight, Met Prakash and team there. There were going to be four porters and Anil Mogra our guide and Sam who was an accomplice of Prakash with us. Total 12 of us. After a snack we started. It was tiring but not too bad. Bought the tickets to the park at the entrance. The water followed usto the accommodation. Loved the views and mountains. What a pleasure. The moving bridges were always a thrill between two mountains and above the water. We had sumptuous lunch of dal bhat shak and ginger lemon honey tea. Thoroughly enjoyed it. It was evening by the time we passed phakding and stayed little bit further at a place right on the road overlooking the falls. It was cold but had attached bathroom with running water. Do not remember if we took shower but most probably not as no hot water.

Day 2: After a good breakfast, headed to Namche Bazaar. The hike started beautifully. It was the best part of the whole trip. Lovely views and not so hard walking initially. It was a tough day of hike after lunch. At many point(s), after the lunch, it was like ‘no more’ please. Prakash took over my bagpack but it was still hard. Sat down at every possible place. But people recommended not to sit too often but take rest standing. As sitting just pushes you back. But we made it and Namche bazaar was beautiful. Khushank and party were thinking of going back as Amishas fathers hand was hurting and Amisha not feeling well. Their team was one day set back because they did not make the flight from ramchap the day they were supposed to and they were bundling more hike time. Tried to convince them to come with us but they had made up their mind. My head was hurting too. My blood pressure had reached 120 and oxygen was also 70-80. Was advised to drink lots of water at night and in the morning. Sitting down in the evening with everyone in the dining area was a fun time. Played cards and chatted next to the hot stove. Tomorrow was acclimatization day. Met some kids who knew Pawandeep of Indian idol. They were from the same village. We talked to them but day after found them to have different eyes towards Bhumpi so cautioned Prakash and Anil to have them stay away from us.

Day 3: After morning breakfast went up to see the most famous view of the mountains at some museum and to the Everest View Restaurant. The view from the restaurant is supposed to be good but we were hindered by clouds. It was tiring. Came back after 3. Were hungry. The others in the group went to the town to move around but I did not have the strength. Or wanted to rest. Did stretching before dinner. Drinking water helps. Earlier in the morning, met Khushank and party. They are leaving tomorrow by helicopter.

Day 4 : Today hike was also supposed to be hard after lunch and it was. We reached Tengboche. Prakash had to take my backpack again today in the later part of the day. There is a monastery next to our hotel. We went there after lunch. The views from hotel and monastery was very good. We went inside the monastery and were blessed by the monks. They tied a string around our neck which we kept till we were in US. All along the mountains, we always feel a presence of spirit and physical presence of monastery and temples and bells and flags. You always go around a shrine from the left side is a rule we follow. Our hotel owner at this place has been to the summit multiple times. Last two days there were lots of people travelling with us. I tried to take shower but there was only burning hot water in the shower so came out without.

Day 5: We went to Dingboche. It was nice walking through trees initially but then at some point it was a bit hard with lots of mud flying around. We had our faces covered. I believe Bhumpi got a sore throat here which never left her until we came down. My situation was good because of the water though blood pressure is always above 110 and oxygen around 80. But felt much better. I think the will to do it was so big that I kept going. I think this was the last room with bathroom attached. I believe our bathroom had carpet. There was a girl at this place who supposedly had taken a shower and was not in good shape. She had washed her hair. She was strong and fine though afterwards though.

Day 6 : This day was acclimatization day. I do not remember exactly what we did but I think we went up a hill about 5000 meters and came back. We could see yaks sleeping in the fields out of our window. Close by. The walk back through the village was very nice. The villagers kept everything clean and neat. In the afternoon after lunch Prakash took us to a bakery. Could not believe how many things this bakery had. It could have been a bakery in US. She had oat milk, almond milk… you name it and you could find there. The pastries and desserts were yum. The Everest movie was running and travelers were all comfortable watching it while enjoying their desserts and hot drinks. It was a fabulous place. After the movie we played UNO there. It was a fun time.

Day 7: Off to Lobuche. Slowly slowly the green trees are going away and we are above the treetop. They said it got harder to breathe but I never felt like that too different. It did get hard climbing. It is so much fun though just walking and walking seeing the views, taking pictures, snacking when resting, and aching to rest. Passing travelers and never getting tired of asking them how it is up there. Is it worth it? I have seen parched lips and dark red skin because of which  always have chap stick with me and put cream on my face every morning. Reached Lobuche. No bathrooms in the room now. The dining room was very crowded. There was a boy who reminded me so much of James, Ruchirs friend that I had to ask him his name. He was waiting there because he was sick and taking rest and taking medicine to get him going. Sudhakar bhai started the medicine too over here the next day after talking to a girl doctor from a group of doctors who were camping. She had come to get a piece of the feeling about how it is over here. She was a high altitude doctor. Do not remember what they are called. She was very sweet. For Sudhakar bhai, two points in front and two points on the back were hurting and the doctor said it was perfectly fine to take the d… medicine even latein the game. So he did. Shant bhai also has trouble breathing. The other day Bhumpi had gone to their room to give something and she was saying he was wheezing. He is strong though. Every morning and evening we buy a big bottle of hot water and some bottles of cold water and fill up our bottles. The hot water stays warm in our thermos at night and we use it to brush inn the morning. We try to keep them among the sleeping bag to keep it from freezing. We started using the sleeping bags and bundling ourselves in it sometimes with the warmers there. We have our mittens on and our beanie caps. Mostly me and Bhumpi have gone to the bathroom together once even at 3:00 in the morning. There is no flush and there are tubs of freezing water from where we use the water to flush. I have a supply of bathroom tissues in my pocket always. Last five days we did not even change the first layer.

Day 8 : Lobuche to Gorakhshep. Going was getting harder. After the first few hours, after the memorials, the hill was pretty tough and I saw the horses. It was so tempting. And I gave in and said I want to do the horse ride for next few hours. It cost me 200 dollars and it was pretty scary. First the horse did not like it and no helmet and no fixed road. Repented a few times. But seeing people on the road who were dead tired made me feel good. There was an Australian couple from India and she congratulated me on my decision. By the way, was surprising to see quite a few Indians on the way. I guess all Indians have the bug I have. But I made it on the horse. Gorakshep was something. The mountains and ice was right there. We went through the Khumbu valley which was pretty good looking. After lunch, went to Kala Pathar, only half way as guides said even from top you see the same thing. It was tiring but very beautiful. On our way back it started snowing. Sam had gone to the top and was snowed out by the time he came back. We had popcorn in the evening and it was the best snack in our entire trip.

9th Day : To EBC….. Yes, final push. Saw couple of avalanches further up. It was all so beautiful. Saw frozen lakes and caves till we made it to the base camp. There were lots of camps. Though I somehow think you could not think straight. Wish I had gone exploring a little bit there (after coming back I have seen the episodes of earthquake on 2015 and the very place we were in saw humongous avalanches and people have dies here) We took good pictures and were ready to head back. I had decided on a horse all the way to labuche. The horse took me to Gorakhshep where we had lunch. Met an Indian guy from Ahmedabad, about 65-70 years old who goes to all  kindsof hikes. He was here just with one guide and him. He was having a spring roll which I had too for lunch. It was nice. The food we have had all the time has been good. Except a few times for breakfast when I could not eat my porridge, had no complaints. They serve hashbrown with veggies which is really alu paratha. We found that out later but after that had a feast. They also made me just fried veggies in the morning a couple of times. Throughout the journey our accountant was Bhumpi and everything we spent were paid through her. She did a good job. Said bye bye to Gorakshep and went to Labuche in the afternoon. Me and my pony. The rider took me through a route where there was absolutely no one on the road. If he had taken me somewhere, I would not have known where to go. It was a scary half an hour before we were joined by people. But thinking about it now made me realize how peaceful it was. Missing my time there. Just us and mountains. I think I paid about 450 for the horse ride. Snoozed while waiting for others. During all these, I was perfectly fine, no hurting of any part of the body. Just tired. The horse ride also was fine. I am glad I did it. It was an adventure of its own. We had decided to take a helicopter ride tomorrow after a hike to Pheriche. It worked for us because instead of taking the flight from lukla to ramachap and car ride to Kathmandu, the helicopter would supposedly take us from pheriche to Kathmandu. It cost us 700 dollars each. It felt so worth it that time.

10th day : It snowed whole night so our hike was beautiful the whole way to Pheriche. This was my most memorable hike. We were done and going back today. Yes, showers and no more climbing. It was long. Had lovely lunch. Was so glad to see toilets with flush here. Our helicopter arrived and we bid farewell to the porters and Anil. We would meet Prakash and Sam at Kathmandu. We had given about 250 dollars each to the potters and some more to Anil and Prakash. We ended up giving some to Sam too for his help. Me and Bhumpi gave extra 100 to Anil who had so patiently been behind us always and helped us move on with his patience and his music. We are going to miss him. What a nice presence he had. Our helicopter took us to Lukla. We thought we were going to Kathmandu. There was lots of confusion at the airport. How the helicopters work is during day time they help everyone who is in themountain get to Lukla and after end of the day the pilot goes to Kathmandu when he took us. At Lukla airport we met a couple from Dubai who had come to just go to Tengbuche monastery with their daughter. There was another finance lady from New York who left her group mid way coming back like us as she had enough. She said she did not have to show anyone anything and just decided to go back on her own. We reached Kathmandu at last and ohhh… it was so good to be back. The showers were the best. We went to the Buddha place for Punjabi food. Everyone in the group is crazy about Paneer. Not me.

The rest of the time was spent shopping and going to Pokhara but could not see the mountains from there because of the fog. The Nepalese were celebrating their New Year. Prakash gave us a treat on the last day. And then it was time to head back. Till we do this again. So glad I could get this off my Bucket List.

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