We crossed off one of my last BIG dream adventures last month, hiking on Everest.
I have been daydreaming of Everest for twenty years. My friend, Eleanor, inspired me to summit Kilimanjaro a few years ago and Everest seemed like a natural next adventure. A trek to Base Camp was the thrill of the lifetime.
Every day I found myself thinking "I can't believe I'm here." I often stopped on the trail to take in the view, the beauty of the ecosystem, so SO thankful for the experience.
The journey begins
Luck was on our side, with no flights to Lukla for the previous five days, the weather was clear and we were on the first flight of the day. We met one fellow on our flight, a solo trekker from Scotland, who had been waiting for three days to fly. He didn't make any plans, choosing a leisurely backpack tour in the Himalaya's (to EBC). We thought of him often as we quickly learned that Tea Houses give Guides first access to rooms, which thankfully our tour company secured months ago.
Local tradition and culture
While Nepal is 85% Muslim, life of the trail is Buddhist. More specifically it is Sherpa. Many refer to Sherpa as an occupation, when they mean Porter. Sherpa is an ethic group of people who live in the mountains of Nepal and Tibet. The Sherpa people are Buddhist, and believe in hidden treasures and valleys. There are four clans, who revere certain mountain peaks and their protective deities.
Hikers cannot avoid Buddhism on the mountain - Prayer Flags, Stupa's, Prayer Wheels, and an occasional Monestary.
Overwhelmed by beauty
I felt the mountain, heard the roar of mother nature, and saw some of the most breathtaking views while in Nepal. The glacier water was rushing, turquoise in color, and SO loud. This is not a quite place.
In the photo below you will find Tibet on the left - the enormous rock in the river marks the country's border. We will cross the upper bridge, staying in Nepal, before starting a 3000 foot climb to Namche where we will earn our first rest day.
Who stops mid crossing, on a bouncy foot bridge, 100 feet above a rushing river? I had to document this moment, and knew some were counting on me to document grand moments along the way. The river on the right is coming from Tibet, merging with the Dudh Kosi River.
A collection of favorite trail moments
I took hundreds of photos and video snippets, below are a few that capture our time on the trail.
- Top row: the views are spectacular. Prayer flags promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom.
- Middle row: A view from a two hour valley walk. A traditional Sherpa Home
- Bottom row: A Stupa (mound-like structure containing relics that is used as a place of meditation). Porters and transport on the trails
Are you an Everest enthusiast? Our trek was not technical or too challenging but it was exhausting in a way you can't prepare for: monsoon season left several trails covered in boulders, we got little sleep at night (snoring in the next room, cold temperatures, and feeling trapped in a mummy bag), and the food was a struggle for us.
Now that I have walked on the mountain, and stood at base camp, I find myself daydreaming of the final push to the summit, to stand on top of the world. Thankfully I can satisfy this dream virtually with Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards, who share daily updates as they climb each spring. I have fond memories of tracking them while in London to run the 2016 marathon, via snapchat, and this last spring on Instagram. I am beyond excited with anticipation for the 2018 teams.
I joke that our next adventure will be looking at the northern lights, maybe in Canada or Iceland? Day hiking and looking up, staying at a lodge with heat and power. What's on your bucket list? That one experience you are patiently waiting to accomplish?