As promised in the guide book, it was a long day. We got an 8:30 start from Phakding to make sure we had good daylight for the 7 mile, 1204m journey. All told, including lunch, it took us 6 hours and 40 minutes.
In the morning we made good time, gaining Jorsale (our lunch stop and the last town before Namche) in about 2 hours. The walk to Jorsale itself was both scenic and relatively easy, save some steep sections in the trail. After lunch, we made our way towards “the climb”, a section of steep trail leading to Namche. This started with a steep trail up to a suspended bridge hanging about 100 feet over the river adorned with prayer flags.
It took us a while to make our way up to Namche. The trail was steep and relatively crowded, and we took breaks often to try and catch our breath and keep from working up too much of a sweat. Even after we reached the “top” and were at the outskirts of Namche, we still weren’t done with the climb. We made our way up another 100 or so vertical feel and checked into the police post. While waiting, I asked our guide which hotel we were staying at. He said it was the Moonlight Hotel and pointed it out on the map. We groaned when we realized it was all the way up the hill, literally the last hotel before leaving town on the uphill side. After another 20 minutes of climbing stairs through town, we were finally sitting in our room, tired after the long climb and ready for a warm tea and something to eat.
The hotel itself is actually quite nice, a large step up from the teahouse in Phakding. We found that the owner, Natang Sherpa, lived in Seattle and worked in the area so we had a lot to talk about. He noticed our trekking book and told us that the author had cited him in the forward and sure enough, there he was. It was nice to feel like we had someone trusted, knowledgeable, and well spoken that we could talk to.
Tomorrow, Dorje will be taking us to Khumjung where we hope to have some great views of a full set of peaks including Everest, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, and others I can’t remember the names of. Then we’ll continue on to Khunde and back to Namche. Tomorrow night we’ll determine if we’re feeling well enough to trek to Dole or if we want another rest day.
Generally today we’ve both felt strong, with only minor headaches in the morning. Anne had a headache most of the day, I was able to part with mine when we started walking this morning. No real signs of altitude yet other than moving slightly slower than normal.
As well, we hope to be blessed with good weather during our trip. Dorje was absent this afternoon for a while. Apparently he went to get the blessing of a local lama for a good trip. As part of that blessing, he was given some food to share with us. It was all pretty cool, we just wish we could have been there to participate in the blessing!
Stats for the day:
Total Time: 6:40