April 03, 2020
Written by Trek Leader, Syaz Abas
As I looked at my burnt face in the mirror while brushing my teeth in a semi-dark toilet room lit by my headtorch, I broke into a full smile. And why so, one would wonder? In April 2019, I went on a journey to Everest Base Camp, my second trip there. I was with seven other women who wanted to enjoy and experience trekking in the Himalayas. Coming back the second time felt so familiar, it felt like I was coming home. Nope, I kid you not. I have always loved being in Nepal and being able to come back is something I cannot express with words. Their culture, food, humbleness of the people and everything else was just beautiful.
On the first day, we rested at Hotel Moonlight in Kathmandu. We were told that flights to Lukla had been cancelled due to thick fog and mists. Visibility was severely down. All of us prayed hard for clear weather on our departure day.
While in Kathmandu, we went sight-seeing to see a few famous places. One memorable part was visiting 'Maiti Nepal'. Maiti Nepal is a not-for-profit organization in Nepal, dedicated to help the victims of sex trafficking. Currently, it operates a rehabilitation home in Kathmandu, as well as transit homes at the Indo-Nepal border towns, preventive homes in the countryside and an academy in Kathmandu. We were fortunate to meet the powerful founder, Madam Anuradha Koirala.
The next day, we got very good news from our Chief Guide. He had received news from Lukla, that the weather had cleared. We managed to get onboard our flight after half and hour of waiting. This flight which is 30 minutes long, never fails to keep me on the edge of my seat. Lukla airport is known as “The most dangerous airport in the world”. Your backpack must not exceed a certain amount as this plane only allow 16 pax. One tip that I can offer is, if you are seated on the left side of the plane, you can see the range of Himalayas mountains which is worth taking loads of pictures for keepsakes, long after you have returned back to your country.
We finally landed in Lukla airport (phew) and met our guides and porters who were to carry our duffel bags for many days up to the teahouses. We exchanged pleasantries and prepared for our journey. We hiked from Lukla to Phakding, enjoyed dinner, washed up and then called it a day!
Next morning, we hiked up to Namche Bazaar. Namche Bazaar is a place that everyone from all over the world looks forward to visiting, including myself. There is a lot of entertainment as well as being a trekkers haven for hiking gear. They have almost everything – you name it, from original to imitation gear, bakeries, cafes, bars, ATMs, pharmacy and the list goes on and on. We were here for two days to acclimatise before proceeding higher. We loved Namche Bazaar and wouldn’t miss it for the world! After leaving NB, we headed to our next teahouse destination – Tengboche.
The days walking blended into one another. You get to know each very well, lots of card playing, drinking ginger tea, eating garlic soup, missing loved ones, sending and receiving messages on the satellite phone, encouraging, motivating and looking out for one another. We made stronger bonds and became more focused on our goal, to reach Base Camp.
After Tengboche, we hiked to Dingboche. We spend two days acclimatizing and hiking in Dingboche, where it snowed. This made me so happy, as I have never experience snow fall before.
The following day, we left Lobuche for Gorakshep. This section of the hike was hard for some, it is a true test of your fitness, endurance and mental capabilities as well as your sanity. After so many days of hiking, the fatigue starts to kick in and you question whether you are you able to achieve your goal.
We pushed on and walked on until we finally reached Everest Base Camp. It was beyond words! Everybody was thrilled even though it was very very cold. It was a trek of a lifetime for all of us. We did it. Yay! After taking a lot of photos, we turned back to Gorakshep where we spend the night, before descending again to Namche Bazaar and then to Lukla where we took a helicopter down to Kathmandu.
We had a final day in Kathmandu to enjoy, realx and let our acheivement soak in, before flying back home.
So, the question that you all must be wondering... Why I am smiling while brushing my teeth? Because at that very moment, I really felt at home and this is what I want in life. True contentment.
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