A year ago today I reached Everest Base Camp.
We were 9 days deep into the Himalayas. Hiking on average about 6 hours a day. And on April 11th, 2017 I was 17,598ft in the sky, at the base of the largest mountain in the world. I celebrated with my wonderful group of trekking partners and our two guides I met from Himalayan Wonders. We all had made it. How, you ask? A strong combination of desire, jokes, and knowing what to pack.
Now onto the trek! Easy Peasy Nepali-easy!
I was leaving Seattle to meet up with Don in Thailand when I purchased my plane ticket to Nepal. I wasn't even 100% sure what my purpose was for going there at the time. I knew nothing about the city of Kathmandu, how to get around, basically completely lost and even unsure about going. Don had told me to look into a trekking tour and mentioned Everest Base Camp, and I think I laughed out loud. I can't do that. (Or so I thought.)
I found Himalayan Wonders with a quick google search and was encouraged into booking my trek. A few weeks later I met my group of lovely travelers, and two of the best guides on the mountain.
Among them I met two ladies Allie + Constanza, who were both traveling alone, like me! (See... it's not crazy!) Allie is a successful Australian Actress and BEAUTIFUL plus-sized model, while Constanza is a Swedish rock-star who didn't even use Diamox, and works for a recruiting company. We all got super close on the trek :)
The trek begins with the flight to Lukla, home to the scariest airport in the world! The runway is about the length of 5 school buses. We shoved cotton balls into our ears to drown out the noise of the small aircraft, and I was lucky enough to score front row, which was basically right behind the pilot.
Once we arrived in Lukla, it was time to start our trek. The first two days we spent acclimatizing, slowly making our way up through the mountains. (9,184ft to 8,698ft)
Day Three (11,283ft) we finally make it to the famous Namche Bazar! This place is a shopping hub filled with all kinds of trekking and mountaineering clothing and equipment– take my advice and buy locally from these lovely people. The quality is much better than the stuff you find at the fake outfitter stores in Kathmandu. We spent a full day here to acclimatize and saw our first view of Everest here!
See that huge glacial ice field? At the bottom of that is Everst Base Camp! Did I mention I got to see it from the sky? I GOT TO TAKE MY FIRST HELICOPTER RIDE IN THE HIMALAYAS! Two incredible women from our group had a spare seat in a helicopter tour they paid for, and I won a coin toss and got to join them! Taking off from a helicopter felt so surreal, and I even stole a selfie with my Pilot :) Isn't he the cutest?!
Oh boy – Day 5 was a tough one. Somehow we got lucky with the beautiful weather the entire trek, but it was here that our group began to feel the effects of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). What I remember about Dingbochure (14,435) was that we watched the movie Everest, drank delicious hot chocolate, and I met a group of lads that we're summiting! (How crazy it felt to be in a cafe with all these things combined!)
Day 8 was an emotional day for me. I was thinking a lot about my motivation behind being in these mountains, my dad. As we walked through the memorial steps dedicated to the climbers and trekkers who lost their lives to Everest over the years, I couldn't help thinking about how many mountains my dad climbed, and how thankful I was to still have him alive. He had always dreamed of going to Nepal to summit Everest, and just being in the heart of it all made me so sad that there were families without their loved ones, taken by Mother Nature herself.
Everest Base Camp (5365m, 17600 ft) was quite the experience... but it was the next morning when I got up at 4am to summit Kala Patthar that really made this trip worthwhile. It is now to date the HARDEST, most challenging and equally rewarding thing I have done in my life and I am so grateful for the kind, lovely, people I have met on this trek and the things I have learned about myself along the way. I really hope to come back someday and explore Pohkara.
Have you ever been to the Himalayas?
PS. You'll find I categorized this post as both a Solo Adventure + With Friends – because I want to make it clear it's totally doable with either! <3 Thanks in advanced for reading, I hope it sparks a travel bug in you to book a fight. somewhere... muahaha. If it does, be sure to leave me a comment at the bottom!
Your top priority should be staying HYDRATED.
Pharmacy Must Haves. I actually had a pretty gnarly cold the first two days I landed in Kathmandu. So I stocked up at the pharmacy with essentials. I would honestly do this even if you aren't sick. Having an Acetophanin+Ibuprofen combo was a LIFESAVER on the trek, and I think it was one of the reasons I didn't feel any altitude side effects.
Bring Diamox (even if you decide not to take it), as this helps with altitude sickness. It also makes your toes and fingers tingle, which is the weirdest freaking thing in the world when you are in heavy hiking boots. Also invest in some q-tips and tissues, but please make sure you pack out anything you bring with you! My nose ALWAYS runs when I am trekking in the cold, and those were perfect to have tucked into my hip belts of my backpack.
Sancho is a handy little remedy that I used to put on my gums, because my wisdom teeth just DECIDED they were going to start coming in. I also put it on the corners my nose which helped me breath easy and clear my sinuses.