Nepal Trek, Part II: Namche to Khunde
In our last, we had arrived in Namche (often called Namche Bazaar, but the locals have moved away from that name) and found our sunset blocked by the fog. Fortunately, when my son and I dragged ourselves out of bed at 5:30 to check the sunrise, we were better rewarded.
|Kongde Ri from the Everest viewpoint|
|The viewpoint above Namche is also the Tenzing Norgay memorial. His statue shows him holding up his ice axe with the flag attached. The summit of Everest is just visible over the ridge of Nuptse and Lhotse.|
|Returning to the hotel, with Kongde out in full glory.|
|The Moonlight Lodge, Namche. Being only a long day's walk from the airport (11 miles, which we did in 2 days), it was nicer and better supplied than most of the lodges we stayed at.|
With schools centralized in the larger towns, many of the children have to board during the school term. The Namche boarding house was right below our hotel, and as we prepared to leave the children were getting ready for school.
|They wore smart uniforms, and housemothers are helping braid the hair of the younger girls.|
All students are taught English from a young age, it being the lingua franca of Nepal, as it were. We met several fairly young children who spoke English very well. The Namche school, and several others in the Khumbu (the Everest region), was founded by Sir Edmond Hillary.
|Students clearly had numbers (as did we, come to think of it. I was #4, my son #5, and our bags and meals were handled by number). I counted about 70 toothbrushes on the rack, making it clear why numbers were important.|
Leaving town, we headed pretty much straight on up the ridge, passing a chorten (a sort of a shrine) on the ridge.
Nearly to the top, we stopped to learn more about Sagharmatha Next, which is working to create more sustainable tourism in the Khumbu. The buildings being constructed on the hill above Namche will house art studios and artists, local and international, who will work to create art from the waste stream. In addition, the organization is working with the Park on a waste management plan, and will be rolling out "Carry Me Back," a new initiative to enlist trekkers and guides to help carry the waste back to Lukla for removal.
A short way farther up, and we were atop the ridge with view of Everest (the left-most peak), and Yaks to be dodged. They are adorable, but can be cranky, and those horns are nasty!
However fierce yaks may be, a joyous sight for us was seeing our yaks arrive with our luggage.
|Yaks arrive at the Khunde Guest House|
|Our room. We provided the 0-degree sleeping bags that made these rooms habitable.|
|The view from the room was pretty okay, and I could check on the sunrise without getting out of my sleeping bag--always nice when the overnight temps in the room drop below freezing.|
|Approaching the viewpoint, just past the chortens and prayer flags.|
At the viewpoint, with the fog moving in, we experienced the amazing Brocken Spectre, which can be seen only when you are above a cloud with the sun behind you (typically from a mountaintop). It's hard to see here, but inside the rainbow halo is my shadow. It looks large because the shadow is actually on the clouds/mist just below me, not on the ground far below.
The fog moved the rest of the way in as we climbed a bit more to the Hillary Memorial, three chortens dedicated to Sir Edmond Hillary, his wife Louisa, and daughter Belinda. The latter two died in a plane crash during the construction of a hospital in the area, sponsored by the family.
|Hillary memorial with Thamserku in the background.|
|From the lodge. It's nice when all the light and color you could want are visible through the windows.|
Next: farther into the Khumbu as we head for Ama Dablam base camp.
For now, happy holidays of all sorts to you, and I'll see you next week, when I've recovered from my own holiday celebrations.
Watch this space--the blog will be moving to our new home after the new year! That one's not quite ready, so I'm not sharing the URL yet, but just putting you on notice!