Day 3 – 5 Namche to Khumjung
I woke in Namche in the teahouse just as the sky was starting to lighten. My chest was feeling a lot better but I could tell that I wasn’t myself. Today was a rest day, something I had never needed or wanted to do while on a multi-day hike. These rest days were somewhat forced upon us by our Sherpa. They knew when we need to rest, when they could push us and when we had reached our limit. If they told us we had to stop we stopped, they were always watching us for early signs of altitude sickness and making sure everyone was coping. With an 11-year-old on the trip, it was pretty slow paced but I was grateful for a day for my body to continue healing.
We made our way to the Everest lookout just as the sun was rising. I couldn’t believe I was about to see the tallest mountain in the world. At the change of light we reached the lookout. There she was, the mighty Everest. Standing at 8,848m it was an amazing sight. Did I mention this is the tallest mountain in the world!I watched the sun creep its way up the side of the mountains, as it got higher the cloud started to form, quickly filling the valley.
I watched the sun creep its way up the side of the mountains, as it got higher the cloud started to form, quickly filling the valley.
On my way down I stopped to play with some of the dogs. The dogs are so cute and friendly and always want to play. The majority of them are looked after by the entire village, like community dogs rather than belonging to one family. It was so nice to see them well looked after and loved rather than being left to starve and suffer as we see far too often.
Back at the teahouse it was a cheese omelette for breakfast then off into Namche village to explore. Namche is the largest town in the valley, surrounding villages commute here to buy supplies and food. I found a beautiful little jewellery store, with necklaces and bracelets embedded with turquoise and precious stones. Turquoise is a favourite of all the special women in my life, my mum, my partner and my sister! When I left the jeweller my wallet was a lot lighter than when I went in.
We stopped for coffee at a small cafe that was selling french coffee! Lisa asked for a single shot flat white. I was thinking to my self, “This is going to be interesting”. The kind man brought over a flat white with the shot of coffee on the side haha. We then made our way back to the teahouse. It smelt amazing as I entered, I knew it was meat and very shortly there was a man chowing into an entire chicken. That was it, I was having meat! I went to order chicken but my Sherpa guide saw what was going on and changed my order to vegetable momos… more momos. I made friends with some tourists staying in the teahouse. They watched some of my footage that I shot on my new Hero6 GoPro and they absolutely loved it! I set up their cameras so they could get the best shots and taught them a few of my tricks
We were treated to a magnificent sunset, the kind that makes you wish everyone you loved was there to share its beauty. I got all my painting things out and painted for a bit before heading off for an early night and a big sleep, to prepare to hit the ground running in the morning.
I have never had a desire to stand on the top of the world, in fact, it felt like a bit of a selfish challenge. But since being in Nepal I had been having an internal battle about wanting to climb Everest and the amazing surrounding peaks. It wasn’t that I wanted to stand up there to say I had been to the top. I wanted to stand up there to follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest kiwi explorers of all time and show the world anything is possible. I wanted to head into the mountains to climb. But this is not what this trip was about, this trip was about helping others who are less fortunate. In Nepal, Sir Edmund Hillary is recognised for the work he did for the people, rather than conquering Everest in 1953. Rob and Lisa were always reiterating to Jack and Emily that we were not here for ourselves, we are here for others. I had to remind myself of this when I started dreaming of adventuring further into the mountains.
Today we were heading to Kunde hospital, to deliver supplies they were in desperate need of. This hospital relies solely on donations to be able to provide basic medical care. The walk was steep from the start as we started to slog our way up and over the hill to the hospital in Khumjung. I found a sweet photo spot so I stayed behind to try to get some good shots. As the fog began to roll in I took that as an indicator that I needed to keep going. I was running to catch up as I realised I had been taking photos for quite a while! I was hurrying to catch up to the group and in my haste, I took a wrong turn, matters were then made worse when I asked for directions and got sent the wrong way again. I arrived at the Everest view hotel just in time for a ginger tea with the group. We had almost made it to Khumjung, all we had to do was head down the other side of the mountain. Jack and I zoomed off ahead to find our porters to help them carry the medical supplies. We decided to try to carry them the porter way, on our heads. I don’t know if it is technique or practice or an anatomical difference but boy did Jack and I struggle to carry them on our heads!
The staff at the hospital were all beyond grateful to receive the supplies we had, it felt so good to be able to provide something useful to the people. On the way back I visited the school that Sir Ed had built, it was a surreal experience to be in a place that I had heard so much about, with so much New Zealand history.
Our next day was supposed to be a big one, we would be dropping down into a valley then walking back up out of it on the trail from Kunde to Tengboche.
Our goal was to reach Pangbouche, here we would distribute the 400kgs of donated clothes. We had already been told that people had been waking in for days from surrounding villages to meet us there in the hope of receiving some of the clothing…