Ride Overland With Kanchan & Nick

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February 1, 2012

Everest Base Camp Trek…and hell freezes…Part 3

Trekking from Pheriche to Lobouche presented us with lots of ice and forced us to cross two high passes.  Nick was feeling better but we wanted to protect his knee so we took it at our pace.  Any water along the way, stream, waterfall, river, a trickle, was just frozen in place causing me a lot of anxiety!   I think I had to conquer many phobias of mine…rocky heights, suspension bridges over raging rivers, walking over ice with water running beneath, and being surrounded by humongous things (peaks).  Even though it was a flat trek for a while, it was hell.  The ice made the trek scary!  But in the distance we saw a neon green backpack coming towards us.  It was a lone American girl, that had done the entire trek on her own…no porter…no fellow trekkers.  She didn’t seem the trekking kind, but she was the most nicest person we had met so far.  She encouraged us to press on and that it was totally worth it, I think she was God sent at this point.  After meeting her I felt the urge to press on.

After passing the Thukla tea stall, I thought I had gotten the worse news of my life, we had to go over some really big mountains to get to Lobouche!  The first pass we encountered was Thukla Pass which felt never ending but it was that much sweeter getting to the top!  I really don’t know how we made it up!  The second pass was Lobouche Pass which wasn’t as high.  I think the craziest thing on this day was the frozen waterfall.  The waterfall was frozen in mid-air but we had to cross it somehow!  There were rocks littered on either side and a few in the middle of the ice.  Nick made his way across but it was just too scary for me.  The guide had to come and take me across the rocks after I stalled for too long trying to wrap my head around the entire idea of walking on a waterfall.  I think Nick was nervous for me too that may be his wifey might go sliding down the waterfall because he kept telling the guide to go slowly.  We got across and I thought to myself…shit…we’re going to have to go across this on our way back!!!  Soon after we got to Lobouche and hunkered down for the night.  Again, sleep would not come easy.  We would keep waking up, not so much due to cold but possibly altitude.  We would gasp for breath and a little bit of anxiety would take over for the first half of the night.  The second half we’d eventually get 2-3 hours of sleep.   But since we were in Lobouche, that meant we were headed for EBC the next day!

We got up the next morning ready to get out and get started towards Gorak Shep.  From Gorak Shep you can go to Kala Pathar and EBC.  During the summer people camp out at EBC etc but since it was off-season, we’d go back to the lodge to sleep.  It was a relatively flat trail to Gorak Shep but tiring nonetheless.   We started to see the awesome sea of glaciers in the valley.  The glaciers looked like mini blue peaks peeking out of the valley.   We got to Gorak Shep by 11am and decided to drop our bags, eat something and head to EBC.  We were a little double minded because we were tired and didn’t know what to expect.  We also didn’t want to head back from EBC in the dark.  The decision was tough because we were already unbelievably tired! Around 12ish we left for EBC.  What a crazy climb!  We went mostly uphill at first, realized it was going to be a bit tough going back down because the rocks were very loose and it was a narrow path.  The views of the glaciers and peaks were great but I really couldn’t get over the path.  It seemed like it was a huge mountain of dirt and rock that was leveled on the top so we could walk across.  In the distance we saw an avalanche of snow coming down a mountain.  It was a crazy sight but were happy to be on the opposite side of that mess.

As we got closer we realized the actual base camp were ice glaciers covered loosely with black dirt and rock.  There were a couple of extremely dicey points.  I mean if you think about it glaciers constantly change.  Don’t know when a little piece could melt or fall!  EBC is marked by a huge boulder that says ‘Everest Base Camp’ on it with prayer flags strung about and small remnants of treks that people had made.  Along the tough trek, I wasn’t sure if I’d feel excited to get to EBC, but it was an overwhelming feeling!  As Nick and I took a picture holding our hands above the EBC boulder, tears came to my eyes as we had done this tough trek together.  In the future we can tell our kids we’ve been there and seen Everest with our eyes and how we encouraged each other and made it together. It was tough physically and mentally to get to the camp and we were thoroughly proud of ourselves and each other!  This was an achievement for us especially since we had never contemplated trekking before!

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