March 6, 2017
Namaste Family & Friends:
Channeling a famous Beach Boys’ tune, I’m feeling the good vibrations about this trip. Everything seems to be functioning like clockwork, just as planned.
On March 5, I was up at 5:30 am to get ready for the airport transport and a 7:30 am flight. Kathmandu was blanketed by a soupy mixture of haze, smoke, smog and other pollutants. I was so glad to be mountain-bound where the air is clear, cold and refreshing. The flight departed around 8 am and arrived at Lukla airport at 8:45.
I was greeted at the airport by Tenzing Chhongi Sherpa, who was hired by Asian Trekking to manage the porters carrying my expedition bags to Gokyo and trek with me to Gokyo. Tenzing is 40 years old and lives in Khumjung, which is a village just above Namche Bazar. He is married and has 2 young children. Tenzing is short, bespectacled, a bit portly and very quiet. I really like him. He is not functioning as a guide, as I can pretty much negotiate the trekking trail blindfolded at this point. But, I’m glad to have him along, and I especially like the idea of employing Nepalese villagers, many of whom have so little.
I had a light breakfast at the Paradise Inn lodge in Lukla. The elderly owners recognized me and gave me a very special sendoff with gifts of a khatta scarf and a tiny red string to hang around my neck. The string signifies long life and was given to the proprietors by the Dalai Lama.
From Lukla, we trekked to Phakding, which which was an easy day since the elevation at Lukla is 9,380 feet and the elevation at Phakding is 8,562 feet.
We left Lukla at 9:30 am and arrived at Phakding at 11:45 am, just in time for lunch. In Phakding, I made the mistake of taking an afternoon nap, which resulted in a fitful night of sleep. That won’t happen again.
This morning, we departed from Phakding at 8 am, bound for the famous village of Namche Bazar. This was a more strenuous day since the elevation of Namche Bazar is 11,290 feet, meaning we gained 2,728 feet of altitude. We arrived in Namche Bazar at 12:30 pm. I was very happy with this elapsed time.
Tonight and tomorrow night I will be staying at the Camp de Base lodge in Namche Bazaar. On March 8, we will depart for Dole.
I feel really great. The trip has started well, and I am confident will finish well. The rest day tomorrow will be great for acclimatization.
Blessings to all of you.
God is good.