EVEREST BASE CAMP DIARIES - DAY 4
Everest Base Camp Trek, Day 4 - Rest day at Namche.
Quote of the day: Pavane: "Make sure all your bladders are full!"
My alarm starts it ringing at 5:40 AM like always. I wake up to this indescribable view right in front of my sleepy eyes. They snap wide open and I yell to Pavane to get a good shot!
It's a rest day today - a misnomer we learn soon enough. We have a 6:00 AM wakeup call and the plan is to stretch those painful calves and head towards the viewpoint - with a promise of wonderful views of the entire mountain range including Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. "It's only a 25 minute trek" promises Khudam Bir and we step out of our Namche Hotel only to be confronted by those wretched flight of stone steps again! Hearts sink, and there's little murmurs of feeble protests. But Khudam Bir was having none of it. "Acclimatize!" he says authoritatively, in a tone that brooks no argument. The Supertrekkers make a plan to head up a hill for a three hour trek, the Stragglers decide to head for the view point - for a short and hopefully sweet walk.
We trudge up those darn steps and head onto a path that runs through a forest of blue pine trees. Suddenly Pavane stops us all in our tracks. She points to a fat looking blue pheasant happily pecking away in the forest. "Monal" she whispers. "It's very very rare. I've never seen it in the wild like this." The cameras pop out and everyone tip toes around to catch the best profile. The path leads up to a clear field and there it is...Everest! Our first glimpse of the mountain we've just dreamt of for years. There's Lhotse and Lhotse-Sar and the beauteous Ama Dablam and together they line up like sentinels in the skies! The Stragglers sit on a bench to take in the view, with all the trekking and walking we'd been doing the past three days we'd forgotten to just stop and stare.
Lunch is the wholesome dal bhat with veggies and a glass noodle and mushroom concoction which was awesome! We spend the rest of the day roaming through Namche Bazaar, shopping for last minute stuff. Some of us spend the day at Hermann's Bakery just above our hotel with free wi-fi, that's how I'm getting this blog out:-), Nadeem heads off to bed and some of us head for an Ayurvedic foot massage!
Dinner was high on carbs and protein - hot cream of garlic soup, chilli chicken, deep friend veggie spring rolls and French fries! Tomorrow is a long trudge similar to yesterday, Khudam Bir briefs us. It's going to be a tough day. "Make sure all your bladders are full" quips Pavane. Everyone laughs. We're going to hear a lot more of that in the days to come I'm sure.
Tips for first time trekkers to the Khumbu region:
1. Make sure your gloves are wind proof. Fleece and woollen gloves alone won't cut it. Namche has a Mountain Hardwear and a Sherpa store - your last resort if you've left Khatmandu under-equipped.