Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Day 3
Acclimation Hike and Exploration of Namche
In my last bolg post you read about the top 10 things to do in Namche on your acclimation day. In this blog post I take you on an acclimation day in and around Namche. If you are interested in how I got to Namche, you can read about Day 1 and Day 2 by following the links. Pinterest users are invited and welcome to pin these pictures to their boards. Facebook kinda sucks. If you use Facebook please don’t post this article on your FB page. Hold on to your butts because you are about to loose your stuffing!
Day 3: Namche acclimation hike to Everest View Point
Day 3 is one of the most important days of the trek. It sets the pace for the rest of the journey and identifies how your body will respond to high altitudes. You can check out my post on training for high altitude to get a jump start on Namche. Be warned though, acclimation day is a little difficult. Not only was I tired and sore from the hike the day before but I was also trying to make new blood cells and an improved cardiovascular system.
We left the hotel at 8:00 and began the slow hike to 13,000 feet. From the hotel it is only an additional 1,700 feet but it is an uphill climb. Proceeding forward isn’t exciting and truthfully relatively boring except for the view of the holy mountain Khumbi Yul Lha, but if you turn around, wow, you have amazing views of Kongde Ri, and Namche. While I was hiking a military helicopter was practicing landing at the base east of Namche. It provided for some rather cool photos.
There is an abandoned airport at the top of the hill above Namche. Planes no longer land on it but, it is still used by helicopters and it was getting its use today. Above the airport is another hotel that you must circumnavigate counter clockwise to rejoin the trail. Once you round the back of the hotel, watch out! The sky opens up and exposes the Himalayas with unadulterated pride. My jaw dropped, as it tends to when things of this grandeur are exposed to me.
The view was so amazing, it stopped me in my tracks. In one vantage point, you can see Mt. Kusum, Thamserku, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse, and Tabuche. We continued to walk along the ridge and I saw a relatively fast paced Danphe or Himalayan Monal run into the bushes. My guide looked at the bird with an odd sort of contempt and puzzled for a few minutes as to why I would chase it into the bushes to take its picture. I couldn’t get a good shot, but I did get this landscape with a yak in it.
We reached Everest View Point Japanese Hotel a short distance later. It has absolutely stunning views of the mountains. Everest Viewpoint Hotel’s website is a bit misleading though. The view definitely does not look like how it is pictured. In actuality, the mountains do not appear to be that close. In fact, they appear quite a bit further away. They are still amazing non-the less. After 10 min of taking photos and enjoying life, we decided to go to Kumjung village.
Kumjung is a relatively peaceful village nestled in a valley between mountains. The landscape is primarily dominated by potato and millet farms with houses and a rather aesthetic monastery scattered throughout the area. We stopped for lunch before going to the monastery. The prayer wheels around the building are a bit much, I got dizzy spinning all of them. I didn’t go inside because I felt dirty from walking. My guide later told me that there is not much to see in there and it’s not worth the money.
From the monastery we walked through the village. Zig zagging between houses, we followed the path to the south west side of the village. We passed a school and found a soccer ball on the side of the path. Without hesitation my guide challenges me to a game. I of course have to accept, and we proceeded to have a Nepali showdown. It was him, David Beckham, against me, the great Ronaldinho!
We square off taking postures on the side of the trail, preparing for great feats of stamina, endurance, and cunning. Beckham has the ball. He feints right then feints right again but going portside. I’m ready though and block him with an agility attack similar to a cartwheel. He is distracted by my foot covers and I snatch the ball. I bring it around my back like I’m salsa dancing and bank it off the wall to pass it to myself while I juke Beckham in the foreground. GOAL!!! And the yaks go wild.
I actually lost the game due to failure to participate. I instead opted to keep trekking back to Namche. From Tengboche we hiked up a flight of stairs and over, and around a small hill. We then passed through a slightly splendid rhododendron grove and came to the top of the mountain overlooking Namche. The views were great from the starboard side (for anyone still following my nautical humor) of the mountain. The sky was a bit hazy though.
We descended on to Namche like awkwardly shaped boulders, rolling fast then slow and fast again. The trail was loaded with yak and cow hybrids that we had to be careful of. The hybrids can become aggressive. My guide said the yaks are worse. The cows are pretty docile. As I gradually entered Namche, I felt terrific. I still felt tired, but it was like the distress of the altitude was gone and my body adjusted to prolonged fatigue.
I felt like Owen Wilson singing Beck’s song Wow. But not because I’m Owen Wilson or because I’m singing Wow, but because it is being pulled from me, how the wind takes the prayers from a prayer flag to heaven. I felt good when I reached the hotel. By the time we made it back to the hotel, more guests had shown up. Most were in the same condition I was in when I first arrived. It also felt good to share my experience with them and encourage them to keep going.