Well….it’s all over. I am back at Susquehanna still on an adrenaline rush wanting to tell my parents and friends all about my travels. It’s colder here, but the shower is so much warmer and nicer. Sam welcomed me back and we talked. I can’t believe I just did all that. I re-read my journal and still can’t believe it. I look at my pictures and just dream of Nepal and all the people I met while I was there. Now is time to plan for the next adventure!
Standing on Base Camp look at the Khumbu Ice Fall. If you look at the top of the picture you see a white “cloud” which is actually snow blowing off of Mt. Everest.
We visited the orphanage one last time to make a donation of food and money. I was able to talk with Sunyil (who is wearing the red jacket in the picture below) again…I’m going to really miss these kids and this country. They keep asking when I will be back and I said some day, it probably won’t be for a few years, but someday. I plan on keeping this promise.
We had a traditional Nepali dinner of rice and curry that we ate with our hands (delicious).
We are now on our way to the airport to make the long 21hr flight back to Philadelphia…here we go.
It was great Nepal, until we will meet again!
After a long wait in the Lukla airport we finally caught our plan to leave. The flight, known to be one of the most dangerous in the world, was completely safe and provided me with a great view of the mountains and allowed me to say a figurative, “I will see you again” to the mountains and the people I met there.
Flying into Kathmandu, you really see the pollution. As we flew, in I could see a long thick line of brown above the city…it’s nothing like the mountains. I may be sad now, but I know that one day I will find myself looking up at the enormous peaks that reach into the sky and falling asleep to the sound of yak bells jingling. It is time for a much needed warm shower and a nap in a real bed.
Without Tenzing and Hillary, Nepal would still only be a blip of the average person’s radar.
A Sherpa burning wood, a forest fire, or a yeti having lunch?
At this point I used my buff to cover my mouth to try and taste any remnants of the fresh mountain air.
I was lucky enough to sit right below the wing which has a bubble window where I could look straight down to the ground.
New Year’s Day in Lukla
The infamous Lukla airport. The end of the strip is a vertical drop straight down.
Well…we have made it to Lukla…the final destination of our trip. I am reluctant to be here but the small town is a great way to leave the mountains. There is a Starbucksand a “Yakdondalds”. I visited a bar and had a few drinks with the guys while playing pool with Dr. Richard and Terry Brennan (a great way to remember some great travels).
Tomorrow we fly back to Kathmandu and prepare to head home.
New Year’s Eve! We celebrated with cake and cheering that “we made it”. Technically it’s not New Years at home yet. Tt will be by the time we reach Lukla though!
It is hard to imagine that 10 days ago I was in this very spot…so much has changed in those few days. In 10 days I have learned 12 Nepalese words, hiked nearly 50miles, stood at the Base Camp of Mt. Everest, photo bombed a wild Yak, and learned more about myself then I could ever imagine. Plus, I have a head start on the typical New Years resolution “Go to the gym.” We’ll see if I can keep this active lifestyle up. I’m looking forwarded to a warm shower, but I know I am going to miss the sounds of the Himalayas and its beautiful landscape…tomorrow we arrive in Lukla and the journey home begins.
Today we had the rare opportunity to visit the Tengboche Monastary just after the High Llama passed away. We were able to go inside the temple as monks were performing a ceremony like a funeral. A truly remarkable experience, you could feel a sort of magic in the room from the chanting and candles burning.
We also had to take our shoes off and I realized how poorly my feet smelled.
We have arrived in Gorak Shep (16,600ft) and the final village of our trek. After we eat lunch, we will make the hike to Base Camp.
Tired and worn out…I made it back from Base Camp! The hike was long and very tiring. We walked on top of the Khumbu Glacier where I saw small glacial lakes with caves and some fascinating ice formations. Base Camp itself is on the glacier so the marker moves. I laid a rock at the marker with the name of my family, my cousin Marr who passed away, and also a tribute to my OA friends. I can now say I left my mark at Base Camp! I also picked a rock up that I brought back with me
Base camp is a huge area. The only thing that marks it is a pile of rocks covered in prayer flags.
Army, one of our Sherpa guides. always wore the brightest smile and was constantly looking out for our group.
My mark on EBC. I wrote a tribute to my cousin Mark who passed away, it says “For he who flew the highest.” On the otherwise, I wrote “He who serves his fellows…” which is an honor to the Boy Scouts of America.
Today we continued hiking, but I chose to take another side trip down to Cholo Lake, a glacial lake that in few years could possibly break and washing down the valley. We had an extremely fun time messing around with ice chunks and rocks. A great day! However, the walk to our next destination started with about 1,000ft climb straight out of the valley. My legs are still aching.
On the way, Dr. Richard pointed out how on the other trail (the one we will take on the way back) there are memorial stones for those who died on Mt. Everest.
We also saw a group of wild Yak grazing where we took a picture.
Our trail was a small path along the mountain side, beautiful and exciting!
We also visited the Italian Pyramid and learned about the scientific research being done in the region on climate change. It is also connected to a base at K2 in Pakistan.
Tomorrow we go to Base Camp!
The Italian Research Center
Chola Lake – this piece of ice was about 20f from the water and about 2in thick
It was a long 6hr Trek to Pheriche walking through every kind of terrain known to man while experiencing every season on the way. The sights were again beautiful, and they gave me the strength to keep going. I’m not feeling ill, but my strength and will are being tested, but I know I can do it. No one here is stopping me from continuing on. It’s just me and the mountains.
On the brighter note, it’s Christmas! And even though I am missing a 24hr marathon of A Christmas Story with my family, I have tried to recite the entire movie while hiking…only about 35% successful. Right now there are 5 Sherpa trying to fix a wood stove that was emitting smoke that smelled of burning Yak Dung (they burn Yak Dung since wood is so scarce and has to be carried into the mountains).
Best Christmas ever! Our guides grabbed a juniper bush from outside and decorated it as a Christmas Tree, made us a Christmas dinner, had fake snow, Santa hats, and gave us a gift of chocolate, cough drops, and something I can’t name (a great memory and great guys).
Today I also managed to do a side trip up a mountain to help me acclimate. Only Dr. Richard, Matt Beren , and I made it to the top which provided an excellent view of Ama Dablam’s Base Camp.
Tomorrow we work our way into a higher altitude and closer to base camp.
Our juniper bush Christmas tree
Ama Dablam Ice Fall
Today I played cards with our lead guide Chering.
We traversed a trail that was on the side of a mountain – awesome!
We talked with a guy (Sherpa) who has summited Everest 3 times, his first time at the age of 19. He has also climbed the more technical Ama Dablam. Chring’s uncle who we were unable to meet has summited Everest 21 times, almost the record for the most times summiting.
It was a peaceful night where I listened to the sound of the yak bells and ventured out in the middle of the night to look up and see mountains silhouetted by thousands of stars. I felt as if I were standing on the moon looking out into space.
We are nearly 1/3 of our way to Base Camp and I couldn’t be more excited. It will be great knowing I did something that none of my friends could even dream of.
Dr. Richard gave us all chocolate and prayer flags for our Christmas Eve present!