Today we trek to one of the famous names in the Himalayas, Namche Bazaar. Whilst a modest 11km distance, the trek takes us from 2,600m to 3,440m (11,250ft) but as we traverse the valleys the total ascent for the day turns out to be a tiring 935m (3,067ft).
Shortly after we leave Phakding, down the Dudh Koshi valley, we are dwarfed by Thamserku an impressive 6,608m peak which apparently is rarely climbed as it is too difficult. We follow the line of the valley, up and down, alongside and crossing the fast paced Duhd Koshi river. The terrain is straight out of Rivendell and we feel like Hobbits on an unexpected journey not quite knowing what dangers we might encounter around the corner. The stops for morning break and lunch were both spectacular, deep in the valley with the ever present mountain backdrop. At lunch we watched the yak trains crossing the bridge we had just used.
The five river crossings today were all using suspension bridges with the longest and highest saved for last. Whilst the bridges look scary and do bounce somewhat they do feel remarkably safe. We haven’t yet encountered a yak train coming the other way on a bridge but decided if we do to simply turn around and go back!
The afternoon was one long 3 hour steep upward stretch from the river up and across the high suspension bridge and on to Namche. It was a relief to arrive in Namche where we had been promised a hot shower at our lodgings The Friendship Lodge. Sadly the water varied from arctic cold from the cold tap to very cold from the hot tap but tomorrow we understand the water will, in true friendship fashion, be back to hot.
Tomorrow is a rest and acclimatision day so only a three hour trek in the morning to a viewpoint from where we can see Mt. Everest.
Picture credits throughout the blog to Craig Burke, Michael Testori and Barry Yetton with thanks.