16 July 2013

Everest Base Camp Trek - Day 3: Trek to Kyanjuma

To read all posts on my Everest Base Camp trek, click here for the complete series.

Everest Base Camp Trek in the Himalayas
The views on the trail. Photo by Gina Sales, 2013

Day 3: May 31, 2013

My guide Madan once told me that he has had some clients in the past who, after Day 2, had decided to turn back and not push through with the rest of the trek.

Well, I didn't want to be like those people. I had my heart set on reaching Everest Base Camp even if I had to brave a thousand crazy jokepes following me everywhere.

Philippine flag in Namche Bazaar teahouse along Everest Base Camp trail
Yay, go, Bryan, my fellow Filipino trekker! Wish I brought my own flag! 
Although I wasn't in the mood to trudge in the rain once more after that nightmarish second day, I was glad that my headache and slight fever were gone when I woke up the next morning. In the dining hall of the teahouse in Namche Bazaar, I was pleased as punch to encounter a Philippine flag on the wall as I was having breakfast.  It was to be the first and last Philippine flag I saw all throughout my trek--and I completely regretted not bringing one. I didn't know that EBC trekkers all over the world would be so hard core about bringing flags and decorating the walls of teahouses. I promised myself that the next time I visit the Himalayas, I would carry one, and place it in one of the teahouses as proof that I've made it to Everest Base Camp and back.

But on that third day, I was just so happy to see my country's own flag. The Nepalis I encountered on the trail would always remark that there aren't a lot of Filipino trekkers in the Himalayan region. Even Madan and Dhan Kumar said that I am their first Filipino trekking client. Ergo, I had become a novelty to these Nepali people I've met--and I would always get a load of questions from them about myself and my country.

Before leaving Namche Bazaar, we stopped by a store so I could stock up on key items such as hand sanitizer, bottled water, toilet paper, ziplocs, multivitamins, playing cards, and chocolate bars. (Yes, chocolate bars are a great source of energy on the trek.  Snickers, Mars, and Bounty are sold everywhere on the trail and will help pull you through a hard day's trek. Everest is simply the best justification for devouring all that chocolate.)

Madan was raising his eyebrows as I did some panic-buying like it was wartime or something; I suppose he was wondering how I was going to cram all those inside my already-full day pack. (I ended up stuffing some items into his backpack, haha.) But really, the best place to stock up is in Namche, since goods become scarcer and pricier as one goes up.

leaving Namche Bazaar
The stone staircases leading out of Namche Bazaar are rough and steep. My teahouse is located at the bottom!
The road leading out of Namche Bazaar is steep and a bit cruel. I was irked to see this cane-wielding Sherpa woman (who looked about 80 years old) pass me on the way up. Jesus. I felt I was the 80-year-old one. And in just about 10 minutes since we left Namche, I had already completely burnt off all that I had eaten that morning.

Normally, trekkers stay at Namche Bazaar for an extra day to acclimatize.  But we were heading that day to Kyanjuma, which stood at an elevation of 3,500 meters (11,482 feet)--almost the same as Namche. But to get to Kyanjuma, I would have to do a series of ups and downs for a few hours. Thus, I would still be getting the 'benefits' of a proper acclimatization: a day's walk to keep me fit and adjusted, as well as being able to sleep at the same altitude level for another night.

The trek to Kyanjuma took 4 and a half hours that day. It was a gradual, sloping walk with absolutely marvelous views of Thamserku, Kwangde, and the surrounding hills. There was one mountain that particularly impressed me; I pointed to it and asked Madan what its name was.  He looked to where I was pointing and shot me this incredulous look as if to say, you must be kidding. After being rendered speechless for a few seconds, he then said matter-of-factly, "That is not a mountain.  That is just a hill."

Face palm. I kept forgetting that the hills in these parts would already be considered mountains in the Philippines.

Kyanjuma on the way to Everest Base Camp
The village of Kyanjuma. Elevation: 3,500 meters (11,482 feet).
Reached our teahouse in Kyanjuma past 1:00 pm. It was cloudy during the trail, but at least we weren't trekking in the rain. Throughout this EBC experience, I had learnt to be grateful for any good things--small or big--that came my way. We stayed in this homey teahouse called Ama Dablam where the motherly owner prepared some really delicious vegetable momos and pasta with tomato sauce and yak cheese.

The entire afternoon and evening were spent playing cards with the boys. Seriously, there is nothing else to do after a day's trek except read, write notes, eat, play cards, stay warm by the fire, and sleep.  That basically sums up life on the trail.  Madan refreshed my memory on the card game 'Crazy 8' and then he also taught me 'Mr. President' and this super silly game called 'Hello King, Hello Queen, Hello Jack' which had the three of us laughing hysterically all the way into the night. It would end up being our favorite game during the trek.

Still no electricity that day.  My iPhone's battery had died already that afternoon and I was running low on camera batt. We played cards with our headlamps on until we realized that it was time to go to bed--at 8:00 pm.  Even though it was so cold in my room, I slept comfortably that night, snuggled under thick blankets with my camera close to my chest to prolong its battery life through body heat.

* * *

If you want the same Everest Base Camp trek experience I had, visit Himalayan Planet Adventures and go for the 16-day Everest Base Camp trek package.


Post a Comment