A steep walk in the hills

The morning sky promises a beautiful day and before too long the sun is making it quite hot for walking.
We’ve started out at 7:45 from the tea house and are making steady progress. So steady that we arrive at our lunch spot at 10:30. Technically a bit early for lunch, but with no more tea houses between here and Namche, there is little choice, but to tuck into some food.

After an hour we get going again and not long after the hard work starts. First there is a steep climb up to the swing bridge that crosses the Dudh Kosi, and then there is the endless climb up to Namche itself. The switchbacks don’t seem to stop and the steps are steep, but persevering and resting at regular intervals, we get to the top of the hill and from there we can walk more easily into Namche itself.

Namche still looks as beautiful as ever and is also showing signs of new constructions. Our tea house, The Nest, is not far from entering into Namche and it is great to arrive and sit down for a cup of tea.

Stage 2 done.

T minus five

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
A film (!) capture from 2005 of the awesome view from Gokyo Ri

Five days, that is, before I get on a big jet plane to fly to Kathmandu. I can’t help but hear that Bob Seger song in my head:

“I think I’m going to Katmandu
That’s really, really where I’m going to
If I ever get out of here
That’s what I’m gonna do…”

Today was spent on organising myself and getting packed. Of course being the OCD-type, I’ve been organised for about six weeks now, but there is always more to do. Lenses to clean, batteries to charge, decision on whether to take this or that jacket after all, do I really need that lens too, what to wear on the days in Kathmandu before and after the trek, stowing the clip-on koalas and pencils for the children I will be meeting.

I”m excited and apprehensive at the same time. Excited to be going back after 10 years. Apprehensive at what I will find after the earthquake, the floods, globalisation. Someone told me the other day that Nepal has a vibrant startup scene. I don’t know why that surprised me, but I’m looking forward to seeing that. Then there is the question mark of how I will cope with altitude this time around and how my body and knees will hold up generally being 10 years older. Only one way to find out: go and do it (and keep the ibuprofen and the Diamox near).

And then there is photography to be done. Creativity is calling and I hope that yesterday’s visit to the Hokusai exhibition can serve as an inspiration. Maybe I should aim for 12 views of Everest, 10 waterfalls and 8 suspension bridges to bring back from the trek. And that’s just the landscape stuff. Then there are the people and the religions. Never short on objectives or challenges. How to cram it all into three weeks is the biggest challenge of them all.

It would appear that most teahouses are now connected to wifi. All things working well, I will post live updates from the trek. To be continued…