A Trek to the Footstep of Mount Everest
Everest instills adventure in your head just by the thought of the journey and what rewards you will reap. Not all have the courage or the opportunity to see it through to the end, but those who do can no doubt be considered the luckiest beings on earth. The trek to the lap of the highest mountain on earth, Everest (8848m), is a journey which will echo sweet memories to you throughout your life.
The journey begins with your exciting flight to Lukla. This is where the first breeze of the Himalayan air caresses you. You can see pleasant views of the snow covered mountains, the greenery of the hills, and the serene villages’ right outside your plane window. When you land at the Lukla airport, you realize it isn’t just “another landing”. The view from the front window whilst your plane lands on the tiny runway of Tenzing-Hillary Airport terrorizes and thrills you at the same time, giving you your first adrenaline rush of the trip. Soon after breakfast at a nearby lodge, you begin your trek and head towards the first major village of the trek, that is, Phakding. You head through pine and cedar forests in a dusty track studded with rocks along the Dudh Koshi River to reach Phakding.
The following day, you head towards Namche Bazaar ascending on mild as well as steep trails across suspension bridges and walking through narrow paths. Enroute to Namche Bazaar, you enter Sagarmatha National Park, and just before you reach Namche Bazaar, you arrive at the Hillary Bridge from which you have a dazzling view of Mount Everest (8848m), Lhotse (8414m), and Thamserku (6608m). The Sherpa hub shows you an unexpected side of the Himalayas as contrary to popular belief Namche is lined with shops and restaurants catering delicacies from all over the world. It is recommended that you spend one day for acclimatization. While you are at it, you can also go around Namche Bazaar, and if it’s a Saturday, you’ll be lucky to see the Saturday market where the locals bring the town to life.
After spending a day of acclimatization in Namche Bazaar, you head towards Tengboche. After the start of narrow trials, the trekking difficulty ramps up as you gain altitude. A mildly rough trek takes you to the Sherpa village of Tengboche. Here, you can visit the Tengboche Monastery, established in 1915 AD. The monastery is located within the Sagarmatha National Park premises and provides panoramic views of the most gorgeous mountains on earth, including Ama Dablam (6856m), Kangtega (6685m), Everest (8848m), and Taboche (6542m). If you reach Tengboche by 3 pm, you may be able to witness the Buddhist chanting ceremony conducted by resident monks at the monastery.
Walking mostly on leveled trail, you make your way upward through Imja Valley as you head out to Dingboche the next day. You notice the lush green forests of rhododendron and the glacial streams flowing below. However, this will be the last time you’ll be seeing greenery for a few days, as in the upcoming days, you’ll be ascending above the treeline where vegetation ends. It is recommended to acclimatize here and maybe take a trek to nearby Chukung Ri (5550m), where you can get outstanding mountain views, or even the range of Makalu. Now, with Lobuche as your next stop, the difficulty level of your trek has escalated further. The increase in altitude makes it harder to trek, so your body now requires you to take it slow. But as the trail gets tougher, the view gets better. You will be rewarded with stunning views as the snow-covered mountains that seem to be getting closer and bigger. As you ascend the ridge, you will find Chortens covered in prayer flags, which are the memorial shrines for the climbers who lost their lives during their attempt to summit the mighty Everest.
The day after your arrival in Lobuche is the highlight of this trek where you hike to the footstep of Mount Everest (8848m), Everest Base Camp. Trekking further to Gorakshep on a wide trail consisting of several ups and downs, you make your final climb to reach Everest Base Camp. However, you are now walking more than 5000 meters above sea level, so you must be very careful as your body will be under stress, and your knees will be working to their maximum. A traverse through ice and snow on a moraine trail along the Khumbu Glacier takes you to your ultimate destination, the Everest Base Camp. The surreal view seen from the base of the mighty Everest (8848m) is unlike anywhere else as various mountains almost embrace you from all sides, giving you chills and warmth at the same time. The peaks of the Mahalangur Himalayan Range smile at you for your accomplishment. The next morning, you can hike up to Kala Patthar, which is considered the best vantage point to witness the glory of Mount Everest (8848m). As the first rays of the sun touch the tip of the gorgeous Everest, marking the start of the dawn, you will be filled with mixed emotions, for the sheer beauty of the Himalayas make you overwhelmingly happy and the end of this amazing journey leave you with a longing for more.
As you trek back down to Lukla, you start to realize the magnitude of your triumph. You will have gifted yourself wonderful mountain images and memories to take home by virtue of your hard work and labor, trekking up the rugged mountain terrain. Filled with the wonders of nature in abundance, Everest Base Camp Trek is the true mix of beauty and grit.