Sometimes writing immediately after an experience is the freshest way to tell the story, and other times, reflection portrays the experience best. Since I was too lazy and too exhausted at the end of each day to type out an entry on my 4s. I'm going to to go with the later concept and recap the entire 13 day trek now- on day 13. I'll try to nail the highlights...
Our Hands in Outreach Sponsor group began as ten, with about half of us sick with a flu/bronchial cold. One partner in each couple was infected... I was the lucky one and my college roommate (my partner on this trip) Andrea, quickly stepped up as Nurse Jones and distributed her load of drugs and natural remedies to the entire group. She also worked with what was available, such as a bowl of boiling water with some drops of eucalyptus and a towel over the head- lots of steam baths going on in the tea house dining rooms....
Unfortunately, recovery was slow going. Walking an average of 6 hrs daily in altitudes unheard of in the ocean state, does nothing to aid healing
YET DESPITE THE HACKING AND LACK OF ENERGY, our courageous and "roll with the punches " pack of Trekkers, trekked on and up- past stupas and slates of sanscript mantras, Tibetan prayer flags and vistas of high snow covered peaks. Khumbu is the territory of the Himalyans where the Sherpa people have resided for the past 500 years. Moving south and east from Tibet , they have creatively connected to the mountains and valleys of the Eastern Himalayans. Our guide, Karsang Sherpa, was born and raised in a small village about 30 min walk from Lukla. He became a porter at 14 and carried loads of up to 60kilo (approximately 120 lbs) on his tiny back up the mountains to the developing tourist tea houses and shops in order to make a living for his family.
There are children today still doing this- mules and yaks and men as well -as no cars and roads have reached this region.
Karsang is now a respected cultural and trekking guide and doing a tremendous amount for his People - including the building of a Sherpa museum in his village! He has been the highlight of our trip- a Buddhist who has shared his heart with us in many ways.... There wasn't one day or one tea house where we stayed where a relative didn't pop up and serve us Lemon ginger tea. His "brother's cousin" (so his cousin too?!) his sister, ( he has four ) his father's cousin's brother's daughter"... I could not keep the family tree straight and decided that he is just very connected - like the Sherpa Mafia- but Buddhist- so all good.
Nine made it as far as Namche Bazar, one man was sick and settled in at a tea house until the group returned a couple days later. Andrea and I went on for 9 additional days. EBC was our original goal, but after two nights on that path, we decided to abort that idea, as it was soooo cold and crowded with other Trekkers, that we turned to another direction that was quieter and warmer. We landed in Chhukhung- a wonderfully peaceful spot. The following day, we took a trek to 18,000 ft to Chhukhung Ri where a vista of 20 or more peaks presented themselves with their snow capped heads glowing Against the blue Himalayan sky.
So now I'm beyond the highlights and rambling on- and will leave the rest to a few iPhone photographs,(below) and others from my point and shoot I'll post later -(when I get home ) cuz really, my words cannot do this part of the world justice- and nor can my crappy camera. So maybe you should add SagarMatha to your bucket list- no summits, just follow the paths that twist through these grand mountains- and get Karsang to show you the way.
Some of the mountains around Chhukhung.
Me and Karsang- with our lemon ginger and yummy chocolate from home -
Chhukhung tea house - 46 guests and only 4 of us were WOMEN! Not sure why-