In which we get more oxygen, more heat, and our appetites back
20.11.2012 - 23.11.2012
I realised I didn't post about the way down from Everest base camp, pretty remiss considering they were some of the best days trekking we had. At the top of Kala Patthar theres only 50% of the oxygen at sea level, apparently if you dropped someone straight into that altitude they would fall into a coma within half an hour and die soon after. Cheery thought. But our amazing bodies acclimatise within 9 days to allow us to reach the top safely. The great part is, as soon as you start going down into more oxygen rich air, you get a boost of energy and warmth. Just what we needed.
It took us four days to descend, first to a beautiful rural valley called Pheriche (see pic in Kala Patthar post), then to Kanjuma, Phakding and finally to Lukla. The day from Pheriche was probably the best, and also happened to be dads birthday.
We were headed to Tengboche for lunch, which is a village with a very significant monastery.
All of the Everest expeditions stop here for a blessing before climbing the mountain. It is in an incredible setting, with views of Everest, Nhuptse and Ama Dablam.
After lunch it was a 'Nepali flat' (read very up and down) trail to Kanjuma. We'd stayed in the same lodge on the way up but we were both so ill we could hardly remember it! We made up for it this time though with an impromptu birthday party including an apple pie (inscribed with happy birthday) and copious amounts of local rice beer which is called Chang. It looks like milk and tastes like still fermenting ale. Yum yum. Having been instructed by our guide to be both vegetarian and teetotal on the way up, we went all out and had a can of San Miguel too. Possibly the best tasting beer I have ever had (please excuse how rough we look in this photo... ten days without a shower at this point, be glad you can't smell us too)!
The next few days were much the same, beautiful valleys and mountain passes we finally had the energy to enjoy! One of the most amazing things was looking down into steep valleys, sometimes a km straight down, and seeing flocks of birds, and on occasion helicopters, flying beneath us. Not a view you get very often.
At the end of thirteen days we were really sad to see our Sherpa guides go, they presented us all with kata scarves as a present, and out came the Chang again.
All in all, an incredible, once in a lifetime experience (seriously, I would never go through that again!) We've come back having lost over half a stone each, so have decided to head west to Pokhara for some warmth and good food.