Sam: This is it.
Frodo: This is what?
Sam: If take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been.
Frodo: Come on Sam. Remember what Bilbo used to say, "It's a dangerous business Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 2

Day 2 Phakding to Namche 
Hours of walking: 6
Elevation gain: 810m, 2640m to 3450m

This was a big day because we would enter Sagarmatha National Park, the park that Everest lies in, and end the day in Namche, a large village that is trekking central for the Khumbu region. 

It was also a long day with six hours of walking, not including breaks. Our late arrival into Lukla and subsequently two hour walk to Phakding made today's trek 6 hours. We originally wanted to walk three or even four hours that first day and the remainder on Day 2. It is a total of eight hours from Lukla to Namche and we were splitting it 2/6. The latter three hours were particularly hard because the trail is basically straight up until Namche. 

The walk to Namche was iconic. I crossed several suspension bridges with fluttering prayer flags. Below us the river was a blue-green that I had never seen before. I remembered the advice I had read on blogs when I passed yak and mule trains: yield and stand on the higher mountain side of the trail to avoid accidentally being pushed off the side. I got my photo taken at the entrance of Sagarmatha National Park. It was one of the shots I had seen in every blog I read about EBC. I felt like I had joined the club.  

But another low came just as trek mate and I were on the steep ascend a couple hours outside Namche. First it started to rain, then sleet and finally fat snow flakes fell! I didn't expect snowfall on Day 2. This was supposed to be the warm part still. I couldn't see any mountains. We were walking in an alpine forest on a closed in trail. The snow and landscape reminded me of Michigan. It didn't feel like I was going to see Everest or Lhotse or Nuptse or Ama Dablam or any of the Himalayan peaks. Breathless and tired, I felt like I had come all this way to Nepal to do what I could have done anywhere in Michigan. trek mate and I couldn't stop exclaiming how surprised we were at the cold so early in the trek and at so low an elevation. I felt a sense of dread because I thought it would only get colder going higher. 

I climbed into my sleeping bag with a Nalgene of hot water and hoped the next day in Namche would be warmer and clearer.  

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