How lovely it was to wake up feeling all well! And as part of our daily morning routine during our trek to the Everest Base Camp (EBC), we packed our stuff, freshened up, and had our breakfast. I once again do not recall what I ate that morning but I did learn one thing. Just like in Annapurna, locals believe that mountains are sacred and must be treated with the utmost respect. One way of showing this is to cease eating meat. Therefore, there’s a certain elevation or village up to which meat is allowed. In EBC’s case, it is in Namche Bazaar. I felt bad that I had my last taste of meat in Phakding, which was three days ago. I would have to wait for six more days to taste chicken. Nevertheless, I didn’t let it ruin my bright day. It was so nice to meet you, Day 4!
From Namche Bazaar, we would pass by five villages before we reach our destination, Deboche. We would be gaining less than 300 meters only but the whole hike would take eight or more hours. And so we started walking. The first hours of the day had gradual ascents and descents. The joy we were having from the easy trails became even better with the mountain views and the Coloradoesque scenery which was just everywhere. It was so refreshing!
Most of the time, the trails let us have a glimpse of the prominent Mounts Nuptse, Lhotse, and Everest. But they played hide and seek with us the whole time. Sometimes they were covered with clouds, sometimes they were just there as if staring at us. Was this some kind of a sign of not-so-good weather ahead of us?
In one part of the trails, we saw trekkers ahead of us flocking from where they were. We wondered what was causing the traffic. When we reached that part, we saw an old man seating with a box beside him labeled Donation. So, he’s the one causing the traffic. He was uttering something, which we couldn’t make sense of. The only word we understood was donate. We had to read the big signage indicating that the donations collected from the box are being used in the rehabilitation and maintenance of the trails leading to EBC since the local government doesn’t provide funds to do so. Thanks to the collective effort of the locals led by the man collecting the donations, Pasang Lama Sherpa, the trails are well-maintained and taken care of.
We passed by several stupas, some of them dedicated to fallen mountaineers who lost their lives trying to climb Sagarmatha. Actually, there’s nothing really significant in this part of the trek. I might be getting used to the majestic views, I thought.
Then came 2:00 in the afternoon when the trails were just going up, up, and nowhere but up. The temperature suddenly dropped, the fog started to envelop the surroundings, and we felt little raindrops falling over our heads. Here we go again. I was longing to see a different kind of view and here it was. Be careful what you wish for, tsk. I realized from the last three days that whenever I feel cold, I also start to feel ill. This time, I’m not letting any of this sickness win over me so I put my rain jacket and gloves on.
After a few more steps, exhaustion kicked in next. Every step was a burden that I wouldn’t want to carry. I stopped walking but Bikal said that we were almost near Tengboche, the last village before our end destination that is Deboche. I forced my tired body to continue hiking despite the bad weather. Every turn in the trail seemed like an eternity. Another 30 minutes passed and Rowjie, who I couldn’t see because of his distance from where I was, yelled, “Palalabs, matutuwa ka pagdating mo dito.”
I excitedly continued to walk and surprise, a small arch indicating that we were now entering the popular Tengboche village welcomed me. It gave such a relief knowing that that meant our next hour would be an easy descent to Deboche, which is a hundred meters further down Tengboche.
From the arch, we had to walk for a few more minutes before we reached the entrance to the monastery. It was still raining, the temperature has become colder, and regardless of the measures I took to prevent becoming sick, I now was feeling indisposed. While waiting for the others who were at the tail of our hike, some of us were already debating on whether we would still enter the monastery or not. But when Bikal said that this is one of the most important monasteries in Nepal, we headed straight inside and decided to just wait there for the others.
While inside the complex and with other trekkers, who, based on their clothes, were spending their night in this village, the doors leading to the main prayer room were still closed. We waited and waited but the doors never opened. Apparently, the monks only allow visitors inside during certain hours. We didn’t have the luxury of time to wait as we still need to move on to the next village. So, upon the arrival of the other members of the group, we left and opted to just visit the monastery on our way back from the base camp. I am sorry that I have no photos to show you because the only thing I have in mind at that time was to get going, to reach Deboche alive.
True enough, the trails leading to Deboche were all downwards but it didn’t make me any better. I was feeling very ill—headache, weak, cold, and a lot more! I couldn’t appreciate the beauty of the trails that are comparable to the Kingdom of Mirkwood in The Lord of the Rings. Mossy, healthy trees, refreshing shade. Nearly an hour passed and we were now seeing teahouses.
When we reached the teahouse, we just dropped our bags, ordered what we would have for dinner, and went to our rooms to change clothes. Because of the weather condition, it was colder than ever plus the fact that our lodge is just beside a creek. As usual, my day ended with only a cup of hot soup and plenty of unwell feelings.
Excited about how D5 would turn out.
ROUTE: Namche Bazaar to Deboche
HIKE TIME: 8.5 hours
CHALLENGES: Bad weather, long walk
VILLAGES: Namche Bazaar (3440M), Sanasa, Kyanjuma, Lausa, Phungi Thanga, Tengboche (3867M), Deboche (3734M)
TEAHOUSES: The Nest at Namche (breakfast), Ama Dablam Garden (dinner)
EBC Day 2: Phakding to Namche Bazaar
EBC Day 3: Acclimatization in Namche Bazaar
EBC Day 4: Namche Bazaar to Deboche
EBC Day 5: Deboche to Dingboche
EBC Day 6: Acclimatization in Dingboche
EBC Day 7: Dingboche to Lobuche
EBC Day 8: Lobuche to EBC to Gorakshep
EBC Day 9: Gorakshep to Lobuche
EBC Day 10: Lobuche to Pheriche
EBC Day 11: Pheriche to Tengboche
EBC Day 12: Tengboche to Namche Bazaar
EBC Day 13: Namche Bazaar to Phakding
EBC Day 14: Phakding to Lukla