Today we left Phakding for Namche Bazaar. We expected to take about six to seven hours for the days trek. The actual trek took about five and one half hours. The elevation gain for the day was 2,700 feet. The first half of the hike was along the Dudhkoshi River. The trail crossed the river five times on suspension bridges, before starting the steep climb up to Namche Bazaar. The mountains were very similar to those along the John Muir Trail in California - very rocky with snow and ice on the upper peaks. A friend of mine that I hiked the John Muir Trail with had thought about coming on this trek. He has missed a great trip. The tiny villages along the trail add so much to the hike. We passed many rhododendrons blooming and much of the hike was through pine forests.
At the fifth bridge we had our first view of Everest in the distance. Kame and Mingma placed prayer flags on the bridge. After we crossed the bridge the trail continued up hill all the way to Namche Bazaar. We passed several Himalayan Thar (wild and protected mountain goats). Our final elevation for the day is 11,300 feet. Tomorrow is a rest day, which will help us continue to acclimatize for the higher elevations to come.