Following the previous article about the start of my adventure; to travel to Everest Basecamp, I awoke on the third day to find myself reasonably tired after sleeping badly after attempting to sleep in my sleeping bag (way too hot), in addition to the very loud Asian group in the next room. Narrowly separated by thin plywood with gaping holes where the walls and ceiling met. I quickly dressed, brushed my teeth and had a wet-wipe wash before packing my things and joining the group downstairs where we ate breakfast as well as drank our fare share in coffee before heading out on the next leg of our journey.
Today was detailed to be one of the longest and arduous stages of the trek, ascending approximately 780m in altitude over a 7-hour period to Snowland Lodge located in Namche Bazaar (3440 metres above sea level). The town of Namche Bazaar is the largest town in the region and serves as the last opportunity for adventurers to purchase or repair any equipment, as well as withdrawing any cold hard cash before venturing further towards the striking, and imposing Himalayan Mountains.
Once our bellies were full, our bags on, and our minds ready to undertake what we understood to be a hard day ahead, we left the comfort of Shangrila Lodge in Phakding (2440m). The path took us through a lush green alpine forest as we loosely followed a meandering river. Crossing several times by way of narrow suspension bridges and encountering obstacles in the form of other trekkers, porters, Sherpas, as well as the occasional Yak-train or small heard of goats along the way.
After crossing the final suspension bridge – which hung at vertigo-inducing height – we were subjected to an incline almost more suited to scrambling up as opposed to walking. With the pace slow and steady with bouncing of our steps, three hours later we finally reached Namche Bazaar, albeit sporadically; varying fitness levels within the group meant we all walked with differing paces. However, this wasn’t the end of our woes – Namche Bazaar itself, is built into the hillside; making the walk through the village to our Lodge after 7 hours of hard-walking an exhausting task. After what felt like an age (and probably was only 10 minutes), the throbbing in my feet and shakiness in my legs ceased as we finally reached the Snowland Lodge and I collapsed into the wooden bench – drinking a coffee as a last-ditch attempt to keep my eyelids open.
The Coffee-buzz lasted only long enough to get myself through a cold shower, dinner, and a hilarious game of Uno – which our guides turned out to be cunning and merciless at after teaching them how to play – before heading to bed at the late hour of 8-8:30PM.