The Expedition – Day 2

Apr 10, 2009

Day 2
City – Namche Bazaar
Elevation – 3,440m (11,350ft)
Trekking Time – 6.5 hours

After an early evening the night before, we are awaken by the sun beaming through the window at 6:00am. We have breakfast and then get ourselves ready for our climb. Sensing that the weight of her bag might become a problem at some point, Zita and I switch backpacks and then I stuff everything heavy from mine into hers leaving just clothing in my bag for her to carry, while I beef up the load for myself. The extra weight is felt instantly, but I will ok with it, I think. We cross over a few more suspension bridges that are held together more firmly than some I see back home. Guess they’re going to need something strong enough to hold up when 50 buffaloes are crossing the bridge all at once carrying tanks of kerosene.

The trail then begins to steer us uphill and then back down. Up and down we went along side rivers and valleys for an hour until we arrived at the town of Monjo (2,900m). Here we stopped for a tea break, as it is the last available stop for drinks before our destination for the day. Loading up on water, we continue up the road where we approach the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park, which is the whole area that we are going through. Here we show our trekking permits and check in to the park for their records, and by we I mean our guide registered our names and permit numbers with the park office.

From here we begin our big climb of the day, and it went slowly. 3 hours of constant uphill hiking, step after step. It is as if we were going up a set of endless stairs for 3 straight hours. Some portions were steeper than others, with most of it being the steep variety. It was not an enjoyable hike at all. And having not been as physically active as I have liked recently, my leg muscles begin to stiffen up after 2 hours of relentless stairmasters. It also doesn’t help having the extra weight on my back either. My calves on the left leg and hamstrings on the right leg start to cramp up, so I pull off to the side to try and loosen them up. Once they feel capable of more punishment, I continued upwards only to have the cramps return 10 mins later. I managed to crawl my way up to a viewing point where everyone else is resting at and admiring the mountains. But as the others are gazing in awe at the first available sight of Mount Everest, I’m suffering in pain in both legs and attempting to stretch and to loosen the tension up.

We spend 15 minutes at the view point resting and relaxing before we hit the home stretch of our workout. I continued onwards using my camera stick as a walking stick, to lighten the load off of my legs. This seemed to work out nicely, as my legs were able to power me through without any more problems, plus i could film our trek with the camera attached to the top of the stick.

Another hour uphill brought us to the town of Namche Bazaar (3,440m). This is the largest town in this region, serving all tourist that take on any of the treks as they all go through Namche. Situated on a steep part of the mountain, rows of houses are align in the formation of steps along the slope. And being a large center for tourist, there are all the facilities, hotels, restaurants, banks, bars, pool halls, bakery, even internet services that works once in a while. Electricity is also available most of the time here along with hot showers which you can buy, I didn’t.

Because this was a popular stop for nearly all tourist, there were some questions over what kind of accommodations would be available, but our guide arranged one for us before hand so we were setup with thick blankets. Relaxing with a small pot of tea, we discuss how we might have underestimated the difficulty of this trek and how this will be something we will be proud about accomplishing when it is complete. I had a soup and a vegetable fried rice for dinner, and then I began reading a book called “Pedaling to Hawaii” for inspiration for our trip. It’s about 2 guys from the UK who plan on becoming the first people to go around the world using only human power, so they bike from England to Spain, pedal a boat to Miami, bike and roller blade to San Francisco, then pedal the boat to Hawaii. They are still in the middle of their adventure.

With alcohol being a problem at higher altitudes, we stash away our whiskey, but are able to fall asleep fairly easily after a long and grueling day.

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