Today, we hiked from Phakding to Namche Bazaar and I think we’d all agree that this was the real start to our trek. According to my GPS, we trekked 18.79 kilometers in a very modest 7 hours and 10 minutes (including an hour break for lunch). We went from 2581m to 3428m. I’m not sure the statistics matter, but the most important thing is that we crossed a bridge at the same time as a line of Jyopyo was coming across. Actually, the most important thing is that Anders was almost run over by one of these Jyopyos, it was great.
We saw some pretty spectacular peaks today, including a set of frozen waterfalls that really made it seem like we’re getting up into a different climate. We tracked our altitude while we were hiking up the switchbacks, and we took a celebratory chocolate break when we got to 3000m. I’m not sure how many feet this is, but I think it’s pretty high. We’ll have to do it again at 4000m and 5000m.
A few minutes after that, we saw a guy parachuting down to Namche Bazaar. We found out that the guy was a Sherpa in the military, and this was just a practice jump for his attempt a month or two from now to base-jump and parachute from the Everest Peak. All the Sherpas stopped to watch it and we did as well.
We got to Namche to find a much bigger and more developed village than we expected, it’s really nice here. There are shops, bookstores, bars, and restaurants. We’re staying at Khumbu Lodge which feels like one of those places that everyone who has been here has stayed or visited. When we got here, we saw our first real Yaks. They are a lot bigger than the cattle and Jyopyo we’ve seen so far. Also, we won’t be running into any more mules on the trail, they don’t go higher than Namche.
Tomorrow we’re going to see some things in and around Namche to get acclimated to the altitude. I almost forgot: the forest has started to shift from a pine forest to a fir/spruce forest because of the altitude. We also saw some plum, pear, and peach trees growing in people’s yards. Supposedly, the fruits are smaller than the normal fruits but the blossoms are surprisingly on the trees already. It was neat to see some dwarf citrus juniper too, the people burn it like incense.