The day awaited us. I could feel my bones rise, sparks fire between the neurons in my brain, the hairs on my arms surge, my feet twitching – anticipating the moment they would get to slide into my hiking boots. I was beyond excited. I thought to myself, okay, what all should I wear? It feels quite cold, but today is supposed to be THE toughest part of the hike. So, on went my sports bra, a breathable T-shirt, khaki hiking shorts, my North Face rain jacket, wool socks and my North Face Boots. I swept my hair back, brushed my teeth, and quickly packed my bag, Rob’s bag and Saroj’s bag (for it was our extra stuff he was carrying). Once we were all packed up, we headed down stairs, just before 7:00 am. A full breakfast of oatmeal, tea and more tea, warmed us right up. So, with warm bellies, the four of us set off for Namche. Rakesh, our plugged in and knowledgeable guide from Good Karma Trekking, had warned us a bit ahead of time that Day 2 would be the toughest day. Namche Bazar sits at an elevation of 3,450m or 4,413 feet, which on average should take around 6 hours to get to from Phakding. Pretty much as soon as you walk out of the village of Phakding, you begin a slow ascent. Step by step, as the air got lighter, less dense- so did I. I FELT ALIVE. SO AWARE. SO CONNECTED. My blood pumping through my body, hearing the light thud of my heart, the rushing sounds of the Dudh Kosi River, feeling the cold sweat on my forehead and almost touching the songs of neighboring birds. LIFE WAS ALL AROUND US. WE were part of it. It was an incredible feeling. At around 11, we stopped to take a break and have some lunch. This was our second time to order off of an ‘off-season’ menu, which basically means that almost everything on the menu is not available. In actuality, you can get dumplings, dal baht or soup. We went for Dal Baht. And honestly trekkers, just go with Dal Baht almost every time you eat. You are guaranteed to be filled with enough nutrition to sustain you for the hours of climbing ahead, you most certainly will not get sick from it, and well, it tastes really good! Oh another thing, make sure you packed some kind of water aid. We packed TANG. It can change your normal Puni Pani (water) into something new, and tasty, for any other kind of refreshment on the mountain besides water and tea is expensive! Don’t forget it. You will want something to change the monotony of water on your taste buds. Now, where was I?
After lunch, we got right back on the trail. We were quick on time, so Rakesh said we did not need to leave right away, but we were eager! So, we did anyways. From Phakding to Lukla, you cross the majority of the cable bridges that suspend high between mountain passes. Feeling our muscles beneath us, we climbed an incredibly long, mostly straight lined ascent. And as we entered through the holy passageway to Namche, slightly out of breath, we smiled from our heart to our lips.