The trail to Everest Base Camp – day 1
So many trips, so many stories, so many photos. Many of them will never be told, never be shared. Which is a shame, because I’m a storyteller. I live to share my stories and to create enthusiasm for the beautiful places I am seeing each time while exploring the world. Although I’ve written numerous posts about Nepal already, I feel like there’s so many stories left to be told. What it was really like to hike up to 5.364 meters above sea level and what it was like to spend 15 days hiking through some of the most amazing landscapes you will ever encounter on this planet.
I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m starting a travel series about our trek to Everest Base Camp and will tell you how it was, from day to day. With words, but mostly with pictures. Each Monday from now on, you will find a new day on EBC on we12travel. Our photos. My story. Enjoy!
The trail to Everest Base Camp – day 1
I always feel a bit weird when starting a new multi-day trek, especially when it’s a famous one. It’s a strange kind of sensation, arriving at the place from where you are going to continue by foot for many days to come. I experienced this feeling for the first time when starting the Inca Trail, our first ever big trek. I experienced it when starting The Overland Track, our most recent big hike. I also experienced it on day 1 of our trek to Everest Base Camp.
It’s a gloomy morning when we arrive at Kathmandu Airport. Our flight to Lukla is canceled but soon enough we are told we can take a chopper instead, for a small surcharge. As we wait on the platform, I take a glance at the crashed Turkish Airlines airbus. We arrived with TK too, just a few days earlier, a flight we booked one day before that particular crash. A couple of hours later we are up in the air, on our way to Lukla, also known as the gateway to Mt. Everest and to have the most dangerous airport in the world. The ride is scary and as we arrive, we meet out guide, Jangbu Sherpa. We are taken to a guesthouse for lunch, or second breakfast. Here, we pass our luggage onto our porter and grab a bite. A small headache quickly kicks in, we flew up to nearly 3.000 meters above sea level so it’s not very surprising my body is having difficulties adjusting.
After lunch we start our hike. It’s said to be about 3 hours to the town of Phakding, so it’ll be quite a short day. As we leave the guesthouse and access the narrow streets of Lukla, I’m amazed by the colors, the people, all the shops and the yaks walking through the streets with their ever tinkling bells. Little kids stare at us and although they must see a ton of tourists passing by each day, I’m the one feeling like a tourist attraction, instead of the other way around. Breathing is harder up here, with every step up I’m out of breath and the oxygen in the air is thin. Soon we leave behind Lukla and continue our way through a dense forest, passing by a small town every now and then. I cross the first swing bridge of many to come and Jangbu introduces us to Tibetan prayer wheels and tells us we must always pass by a temple or stupa on the left.
We pass hikers that are on their way back to Lukla and as most of today’s hike is downhill for us, they are out of breath as their way is up. I can’t help but wonder if they were successful in their mission to reach Everest Base Camp. Some hikers look like they are broken, others look fit and satisfied. What will my expression be in two weeks? Jangbu makes sure that we take it easy. ‘Slowly, slowly!’ is something we will often hear during the upcoming weeks. I know we have to take it slowly so our bodies can adjust to high altitude hiking but it’s difficult. My body is eager to hike and my mind wants to push me out of my comfort zone already.
Just a little over two hours after our departure from Lukla, we arrive in Phaking. We settle into the guesthouse and have the rest of the afternoon ‘off’. We decide to head down to the river for some photos and wander around town a bit. It’s getting cool and eventually we head back to the guesthouse to prepare for dinner. I’m amazed so many people are checking their mobile phones, didn’t we come here to get away from it all? As it later turns out, we can buy wifi nearly everywhere, as long as you pay up for it. While preparing for the EBC trek, I read a lot about fried Mars for dessert. As a huge Mars (or Milkyway in the US) fan, I’m sure this is going to be my favorite dessert during this trek. It’s tasty yet greasy and as it turns out, this will end up being my only fried Mars of the whole journey. Not long after dinner, we decide to go to bed. It’s been a long and exciting day. Tomorrow we have quite a big distance and altitude gain to cover so we should get a good night’s sleep. Although I generally tend to lay awake for hours when starting a new adventure, I fall asleep almost straight away, dreaming about the days to come…
Want to read more stories about Nepal? You may like these blogs as well:
– Nepal: a head filled with emotions
– Everest Base Camp Trek: the movie!
– Our favorite places to eat in Kathmandu
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Thanks for sharing!
Great post, my wife and I are going to hike to Mount Everest Base Camp later this year so we will be following your stories for sure.
Cool, have fun on your trip and good luck reaching EBC!
That’s a great experience! I have this month Tibet on my blog and it brought my memories from these amazing mountains 🙂 I’m curios your pictures and impressions so already waiting for next days! 🙂
Ahhh wow, will check out your site, would love to to go Tibet now that I was so close!
What an amazing experience! I don’t know if I could handle that bridge you walked over, or the heights in general though! Also interesting that even in remote corners of the world everybody is still enamored with phones and social media! Amazing photos as well- you did a great job!
Oh this was a very easy one, the ones after were much scarier 🙂 they are decent though and even herds of yaks cross them safely!
I can’t even imagine what that feeling must be like, to start out on a trail like that for several days. I’ve never done anything like it. If there’s anywhere in the world I’d want to do it, it would be there with those incredible mountains in the background.
It’s amazing to be away from everything for a while!
Wow, the Everest Base camp is amazing and you are an amazing storyteller. Keep up the stories on Nepal, I hardly ever see anything posted about it. ; )
I admire your bravery – the most dangerous airport in the world would have been enough to deter me! Good thing you went for the hike though, your photos are sick!!
I can’t believe a three hour hike was just the start! Can’t wait to see what comes next!
Thanks Francesca! More posts will be online soon!
Lukla may be the most dangerous airport to fly into but you gotta admit the views are incredible! I’ve always been intrigued by Everest, it would be such an achievement to get to the top but knowing how much of a wimp I am I’d be moaning by day two haha! I think I could manage basecamp though and it looks like you guys got a great meal at the end of it so I’m in. I’d love to try this one day, going to Nepal would be a bonus too 🙂
Yeah, the views were amazing indeed! The basecamp was quite an adventure (and a struggle at times) but looking back on it, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life so far!
I admire the gumption but wouldn’t do it. A different kind of pilgrimage calls me – Mt. Kailash.
Good luck Elaine!
Whoa. This is amazing. Going to everest is definitely something that’s high on my bucket list and I hope to do this in the near future. Looks like a real kind of thrilling adventure 😉
I hope you will get to do it one day, it’s an amazing adventure!
Your pictures are gorgeus and you are an amazing storyteller.
I had heard that Apple pie is the most common dessert on this trail?
Thanks Nisha! Yeah, it is, but I never had it because I got sick on day 4 (more on that next week on the blog) … but Martijn had it and said it was good!
Alpine ramble treks
such an amazing post, Thanks for posting. very helpful.