I think it’s fair to say that my mind is slowly checking out. That’s what happens when a trip I’ve been thinking about for years is right around the corner!
It’s the last minute dash to make sure I have everything I need. My vaccinations are up-to-date, and I’ve even added the fancy and expensive rabies vaccine to my list. I’m still deciding on what luggage to bring, how much fleece will be needed for those frigidly cold Himalayan nights, and what comfort snacks I’ll throw in my day pack. I’m sure the dal bhat (lentil soup with rice) will be tasty throughout the trek, but after many days and the inevitable bouts of altitude sickness and diarrhea, a protein bar or Real Fruit gummies will taste like a king’s dinner.
Before I know it, I’ll be boarding Westjet to Vancouver, and then China Southern Airlines to Guangzhou, and then Kathmandu, Nepal. Total travel time? 24 hours and 25 minutes, assuming everything is on time. And it all better be on time shakes fist!
And then what?
Waiting for me will be a representative from Nepal Eco Adventure, the company through which we decided to book our tour. I’ve been corresponding with Chhatra Karki, the founder of the company, for a few months, and he’s taken care of the logistics. There’s no doubt that I’ll be jet lagged, tired, and have that airplane smell and feel, so it’ll be awesome to head to the hotel where I’ll meet up with Sanjay and Dan. They will arrive earlier in the day and probably party it up before I even get there. Typical.
The next day, we begin an itinerary that seems pretty common among many of the trekking companies:
Day 2: A day of sightseeing around Kathmandu Valley- Pasupatinath (a Hindu temple), Buddhanath, the Monkey Temple, and Kathmandu Durbar Square. We’ll also have time to get any last minute items for the trek.
Day 3: An early morning 30 minute flight to Lukla (2804 m), which has the most dangerous airport in the world. Exciting! We then trek 3 hours to Phakding (2610 m) through the Dudhkosi valley. Apparently there’s a suspension bridge to cross. This excites me.
Day 4: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3440 m). En route, we’ll see many prayer flags along a series of suspension bridges.
Day 5: Rest day, weee! More like an acclimatization day, which I know I’ll need. We’ll visit the village of Khunde, the Khumjung Everest view hotel (in which I imagine drinking tea and looking at Mount Everest… how lovely). Also, there’s the world highest bakery. I can’t wait to try a Nepalese baked good or pastry.
Day 6: Trek to Tengboche (3790 m). I’m really hoping for good weather on this day. Supposedly there’s one of the most amazing views in the world: a crazy panoramic view of a bunch of Himalayan peaks, including Everest, Nuptse, and Lhotse.
Day 7: Trek to Dingboche (4350 m). I’m sure I’ll get all these names over time…
Day 8: Another acclimatization day. We’ll visit Chhukung valley before heading back to Dingboche.
Day 9: Trek to Lobuche (4950 m). I anticipate being punched in the face by the altitude at this point. Luckily, there’s a doctor stationed here who’s supported by the Himalayan Rescue Association. We’ll be chatting I’m sure.
Day 10: Trek to Gorakshep (5160 m), the world’s highest settlement, and then hike to Everest Base Camp (5361 m). This will be the happiest of all Boxing Days! I can’t do the math right now, but I think it might even be Christmas somewhere in the world. Merry Christmas to me! At base camp, we’ll get to see the Khumbu glacier and Khumbu Ice Fall. I’ve only read about them… and now I’ll have a chance to see them.
Day 11: Climb to Kalapathar (5400 m) for awesome photo ops of Everest, then back to Gorakshep. Then trek to Pheriche (4280 m).
Day 12: Back to Namche Bazaar to party it up! (The itinerary says “party night”…)
Day 13: A 7 hour trek back to Lukla.
Day 14: Take an early morning flight to Kathmandu, where I have a few more days to really soak up my surroundings, experience Kathmandu, and reflect on the accomplishment.
Writing that all down just made me realize how excited I am that this is happening. But it’s one thing to jot it down (which helped me read up on what I’m getting into since I’m bad with researching things beforehand). It’s another thing to experience the journey first hand and really be present throughout the trek. I’m quite excited about that. Omg. :)