Hiking the Himalayas: The Very Easy Day to The First Very Painful Day

Our plan in the beginning was to do a 14 to 21 day trek in the Himalayas. The highest point would be about 18000 feet. We did not last as many days at we planned. This though, is another story. Today I will tell you what we DID do.

Day 1: The Very Easy Day. We flew from Kathmandu to a small town called Lukla. Lukla is a town about 8000 feet above sea level. There are no roads to Lukla. To get there, you must fly or walk. We flew and arrived there around noon. From Lukla, we walked for about 3 hours to get to our first destination. Let me explain the trekking in this area. It is called “tea house trekking”, which means you don’t have to camp or carry your own food. Yes, I know this is like luxury hiking. I have never had it so good. Normally we have to carry our own food and a camp stove and a tent. For this trek, there are lodges (tea houses) every couple of hours (most of the time). We got to the first tea house in a couple of hours and settled into our (cold) room. It was rainy and cool but not too bad.

A porter, taking a much needed break
Day 2: The Uphill All the Way Day. We started off early and hiked along the river for a couple of hours. The river was beautiful, very grey blue and frothy. We walked along the valley alongside the river. The weather was great and we had our first glimpse of a pointy snow covered peak. Then it got difficult. The trail went uphill for about three hours and the elevation increased by about 3000 feet to 11,000 feet. And it was straight uphill. If you have never hiked at elevation, which is anything above about 10,000 feet, you should know that it is very difficult. The oxygen levels decrease, which make you fatigue very easily, get out of breath very easily and sometimes even worse -- headaches, dizziness and nausea. I was definitely fatigued.

Prayer flags on the moutain
Day 3: The Rest Day. We spent the day today resting (this is necessary so you don’t get altitude sickness) and hanging out at the Bazaar at a particularly big town. They have a Saturday market where they sell pots and pans, spices, flour and a lot of trash cans of all different colors. We went to the pharmacy and got some aspirin just in case we experienced headaches (you can get pretty much any drug over the counter in Nepal). We drank a lot of tea. We bought snacks. It was a good day.

Namche Bazaar - Saturday Market
Day 4: The First Very Painful Day. Today it was pretty much straight up the ENTIRE way. The hills were tough, and the altitude was starting to get to me. I huffed and puffed my way up the hill. A couple of highlights of the day: (1) We ate the best fried noodles we had eaten so far. Basically these are chow mein, but they are a definite staple while trekking. Those and “dal bhat”, which is lentils, rice and potatoes. This is the main meal of the sherpas. (2) Our first really good view of the mountains. It is so weird; there is fog all around you and you are hiking and all of a sudden the fog clears and the snow covered mountains have you surrounded! It is crazy. You never even realized they were there. And they are HUGE and white and pointy! It’s great. The place we stayed the night had no blankets. Luckily we have sleeping bags, but it is starting to get pretty chilly (there is no indoor heating either). Also, they had no electricity. Needless to say we went to bed around 8 o’clock. This was the first day my head really started to hurt (from altitude). We slept at about 13,000 feet.

Mr Lovely + Prayer Flags + Mount Kongde
So that's the first four days. More to come soon!

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