Two days ago we left the political unrest in Kathmandu (which I hear has now turned violent) behind and had an early 45 minute flight to Lukla. Flying in a 17 passenger plane, me gripping the seat in front of me for dear life, we flew right in between two mountain faces to land on the shortest airstrip.
After catching my breath and when I began to feel my legs again, we began a relatively easy 4 hour hike to Pakding. Everywhere we looked there was the most amazing scenery of mountain ranges and valleys. In Pakding, there was an optional hike which I decided to join. There were only 7 of us (mostly experienced hikers, marathon runners, and then me, the only female) who ascended a big climb up to the monastery. This is when I surprised myself immensely… somehow, I am able to keep up with some of the most fit hikers (!) and feel great after, too. Mom says its my determination rather than training – I have to say, I think it’s a bit of both.
Yesterday we left Pakding and embarked on our supposedly most difficult climb to Namche Bazar (most difficult because it is the most elevation gain in the shortest period of time). It took us nearly 7 hours. Again I surprised myself, finding myself always at the front of the group. Some people were of course struggling up the steep climb with little oxygen which I was expecting for myself. However, I don’t want to get too ahead of myself as there is much higher altitude we will be going to. It is so interesting to see how my body is reacting to the change in elevation. My resting heart rate this morning was 76 although normally only at 60 beats per minute – so it seems my heart is doing all the extra work to get the oxygen through my system. I also was running up some short stairs and had to pause to catch my breath.
For the past couple of days we were hoping to catch glimpses of Everest mountain but the weather has other plans for us with all the cloud cover. This morning, though, I woke up to the most beautiful mountain views I’ve ever seen outside my window. As we embarked on our acclimatization hike this morning, we came across some indescribable views (I don’t think the pictures will do it justice!). We saw the 4th highest peak in the world (Lhotse) and were straining to see Everest but it didn’t peak out of the clouds as we had hoped … it seems we will have to wait another day for this.