Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Day 2 Namche
In this Everest Base Camp and Kalla Patthar Day 2 post I talk about what you are likely to encounter on your second day of trekking to Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar. If you did not read Day 1, you can find it on the other side of this link. Or you can skip ahead to day 3 here. This post describes the journey from Phakding to Namche. I hope you like pictures, because this post has a lot of them. If you are on Pinterest feel free to pin as many as you want. You can purchase this trekking package here. Kick back, relax, and get out your pins.
Day 2: Phakding to Namche
I started the day with a bowl of tsampa porridge. It’s a delicious mixture of corn flower and oats. The corn used in this very tasty concoction was silage corn, better suited for ruminant animals, but it was still good. After a few minutes of banter with the hotel owner, an elderly woman who is sharp as a whip and equally friendly and engaging, we set off to Namche Bazaar.
We set off at a brisk pace enjoying the early morning views of Thamserku and bits of Kusum Kangkaru. After 2 hours of an extremely joyous hike we arrived in Monjo, the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park. The entrance comes just after a resurrected hallway filled with depictions of spiritual stories and lavish artwork. The ticket counter is on the left-hand side. After showing the receipt of the entrance fee and paying for an entrance permit (3,390 NPR), we were granted entrance to the park.
About a half hour later we entered Jorsalle. Jorsalle is the last village before Namche to have lunch. I ate the garlic soup. It is exactly what it sounds like, delicious. A bunch of sliced garlic and a flavored broth cube served in about 3 cups of hot water. My guide ordered fried rice with egg. It is pretty much a stir fry with a sliced egg patty on top. It looked good and the proportion filled the plate.
After Lunch, the Long Walk to Namche
After indulging in lunch, we set out for Namche. We continued to follow the Dudh Koshi river north. The path led us along hill sides and around stupas and pagodas, mani walls and prayer wheels. We passed through beautiful forests and mountain villages. As we continued the views of Kusum Khangkaru faded while Thamserku became more pronounced, but still mostly hidden by pine, rhododendron and birch forests. Kongde begins to dominate the skyline, like a present waiting to be opened.
Following the Dudh Koshi river we eventually reached the tributary of the Bhote Koshi river. Just above the tributary is the Namche bridge. From here the hike got a little difficult. As we began the ascent to Namche, eventually climbing over 2,724 ft to 11,286 ft. We dodged yak trains and battled with fatigue. I must admit, I’m not in the best shape, but I’m also not in the wort shape. This section of the trek was tough. If you want to read about how to prepare for the trek, you can access the post here.
The combination of the reduced oxygen content of the air and the physical exertion required to reach Namche is quite taxing. The mantra of the trek became “go slowly” And the greeting between trekkers became “your almost there.” It was said in an attempt to encourage each other to persevere. I received a lot of encouragement along the way from people who thought I looked like I could use it. Thank you to them, because I needed it. Here is a trekking etiquette guide.
Before reaching Namche, we came to a rest area where a little girl and an older woman were selling oranges. The girl asked me if I wanted to buy an orange. I answered in Nepali and the conversation proceeded as follows:
Girl: “Would you like to buy an orange?”
Me: “How much for a kilo?”
Girl: giggles, “no kilo. One only.”
Me: “well, how much for 1 orange?”
Me: “How much for 2 oranges?”
Me: “How much for 3 oranges?”
Girl: nervously looks around to see if anyone else is hearing my absurdity, then smiles and giggles out a reply “$3!”
Me: not wanting to take the joke any further and in a reluctant tone “ok, I’ll take 2 oranges. How much is that again?”
I buy the oranges then sit down to enjoy them. Just as I was finishing the first orange a Spanish couple comes by.
Girl: in English “Would you like to buy an orange?”
Man: “No thanks”
Me: “They are really sweet and refreshing!”
Man: goes to the girl and examines the oranges. “how much for 1 orange?”
Man: “How much for 2 oranges”
Girl: eyes open wide turns to her friend and says, “he is asking the same questions!”
Everyone starts laughing except for the Spanish couple
Man: “I will take 1 orange.”
As I was getting up to put on my pack, my guide pointed out that I could see Everest from the rest area. we walked a few feet to a thin patch of forest and looked north. Through the trees we could see Lhotse, Everest, and Nuptse. It wasn’t a spectacular view, those come later in the trek, but it was nice. There it was, the most famous mountain in the world. It is like seeing a celebrity you like. I took a couple of pictures then we set off.
Upon reaching Namche bazaar I was exhausted, sweaty, smelly, tired, and happy. I would have to rank this type of happiness lower on my top ten list of reasons to be happy, but at least it made the top ten list. Coming into Namche, the first things I saw were tea houses. I didn’t think much of Namche until I entered the heart of the village. At the bottom center of the village is a giant pagoda and a fountain that shoots water 15 feet into the air. It reminded me of a Yellowstone geyser.
The fountain is actually the end of an elaborate aqueduct. The duct directs the water to spin prayer wheels. There is a set of about 6 (sorry I didn’t count), 6-foot-tall prayer wheels. The whole system was very impressive, but I remember being a little disappointed by the contrast of the project to the community. It was still beautiful, non-the less.
We walked for an additional 10 minutes through the bazaar. Namche reminded me of the Maze Runner. After each turn I looked back and it was like the buildings shifted. It was an odd sensation. We reached the guest house without getting lost or attacked by giant spiders or whatever kind of animal was in the maze. There are cows and yaks in Namche so I guess the analogy still holds true. Near the top of Namche, we came to Sherpa Village Hotel.
Namche Bazaar hotel
I was amazed by how similar Sherpa Village Hotel was to Namaste Lodge Restaurant and Bar. It turns out that nearly every single guest house is exactly the same. You can have some variation in size but the styles are all the same. Sherpa Village is probably a little bit nicer than Namaste Lodge, being that the walls are not vinyl in Sherpa Village. The rooms were the same comfortable double beds, thin walls, window, no power outlets, toilets down the hall, and the sink outside the bathroom.
The thin walls are something that takes getting used to. I could hear EVERYTHING my neighbor was doing. Woman had some wicked farts. It was kind of funny except when I was trying to sleep. And speaking of sleep, the dogs in Namche bark a lot at night time. It is like they save all of their barks specifically for the weary traveler trying to catch a few zees. If you are sensitive to noise while you sleep, invest in a good pair of ear plugs.
Some of the food served at the Sherpa Village Hotel is a bit bland. The french fries are good, however they need seasoning. The sauces I found, on and off the trek, were all watered down imitations. Yes, even the ketchup was watered down. It reminded me of tomato flavored sugar water. Though I’m being a bit over dramatic with my sauce exaggerations, they remain unappetizing. Be prepared for meals where the only spice that tastes good is hunger.
The food and climate
Dal Bhat is one good meal that is prepared well most of the time. It also happens to be one of the only meals where you can have free refills. The one thing I liked about the meals on the trek was the down time afterward. Everyone would sit around a yak dung fed stove and chat. It reminded me of home. I was particularly happy when I could understand gossip being spoken about the other trekkers by the guides. FYI the guides talk a lot about each other’s clients.
The nights in Namche are warm and do not require a sleeping bag. The blanket provided by most guest houses was sufficient to stay comfortable throughout the night. The beds can be a little stained or maybe dirty, but they smelled clean. I always used a sleeping bag for this reason. If you use a pillow, I do not, I recommend bringing your own or bringing your own pillow case. The pillows are hard and do not have covers on them.
If you forget to bring your pillow case or need any supply’s, Namche is the last large, urban style place where you can find these obscure luxury items (I’m actually not sure about the pillow case but you can buy socks. Those are kind of like pillow cases but more like feet sleeves). Be prepared to be overcharged for your feet sleeves. One pair of mixed fabric socks will sell for upwards of $12-$15. If the sales people are aggressive you can always start speaking an imaginary language and walk away. I use “na-n-a na-na boo boo?” a lot.