For the last couple of days, that’s exactly what we have been doing. The Dudh Kosi, or “Milk River”, surges south through the Khumbu Valley, the vibrant blue water a stark contrast with the surrounding cliffs and mountains. On Friday we took a helicopter from Kathmandu into Lukla, the starting point of most Himalayan expeditions. The first day we trekked through a dense collection of villages to a town called Monju, where we slept the first night. Today we advanced to the “Khumbu capital” Namche Bazaar, perhaps the most densely populated village in the Himalaya. It was a big jump in altitude, at almost 12,000 feet. For the past couple of days I have been working to find my groove in expedition life. From deciding what sort of tea I like best (traditional milk tea) to discovering the importance of being “chill”, there is lots to learn. A few pro tips: “potato chips are actually french fries, cinnamon bears are a prime trail snack, and walking on the lefthand side of prayer stones is vital to your karma. I am slowly learning the subtleties of our team members, such as Adam’s constant chatter, Syd’s perpetual disorganization, and the importance of not interacting with Ty before he has had coffee. It’s a great group, with a strong bond, and I can already tell this trip is going to be a blast.
The landscape here is everything I imagined and more, with gargantuan peaks surging from the horizon at every turn, colorful villages dotting the hillside, and an occasional peek at Everest. There seems to be an opportunity to climb at every turn, and the draw to the mountains that courses through my veins is more prevalent than ever. Tomorrow we rest, and then head on deeper into the valley. I can’t wait.
P.S. You can now track our journey at https://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=1dqf8emdqpVoSGeW4yJv1rV11TTvKh1xM and the password is Everest2016 – Enjoy!