Continuing our Journey from Everest Base Camp Trek.
Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal | Part 4
Day 10: Gorekshep – Kala Pathar Trek – Debuche
To start our early morning sunrise trek to Kala Pathar, time was 4 am. In excitement I was ready by 3:30 am to leave for Kala Pathar. Due to tiredness, I was almost on verge of cancelling the trek. As soon as I saw sky full of stars glittering from my room window, I was sure to head outside for night photography. 4 people who agreed to come for Kala Pathar from our group, in the morning 3 people denied. Leaving me heading out alone with my guide to see the sunrise on Himalayas.
We started our walk towards the mountain in the black sky with nothing but a torch and camera in my hand. It was really cold in the morning and only way to keep myself warm was to keep on walking. As I started my trek upwards, the sun started to rise. Along with sun, there was huge cloud which I saw behind the mountain, started coming towards us. The entire mountain range was glittering pink in the morning sun rays. I was stopping myself more than intended cuz the view was just mesmerising. With my cold hands, I started taking pictures. The cloud which I saw behind the mountain was gaging it’s speed and started covering the bottom of the village, slowly moving upwards. Kala Pathar is where one gets to see majestic Everest mountain.
In the last bit of Everest Base Camp Trek, we couldn’t see Everest as it lies behind other mountains and Kala Pathar is the only way to see the mountain close. I reached the mid point of Kala Pathar in hour’s time and the cloud which I saw in the evening, covered the whole Gorekshep village and start of Kala Pathar. My guide shared that heading on top will be of no use as cloud will hide the mountain view. Since reason to go up was view and clouds were hiding it, I started walking down towards our tea house for a hot breakfast and couple of amazing pictures! When I returned, everyone from my group was awake and at the breakfast table. After seeing pictures on my camera, everyone regretted not coming for Kala Pathar.
We finished our breakfast and packed our stuff for another long trek of the day. The only upside of today’s trek was that it was going downwards! Our original plan was to stay in Perichay, but we decided to go extra mile and stay in Debuche. The journey we covered in 5 days upwards, we decided to covered in 1 day downwards. The beginning of the trek was good as we were mainly going downwards. Suddenly weather decided to change its mood and it started drizzling. Since the morning was sunny, we kept our poncho and rain jacket in luggage carried by porters. We were drenched in rain till we reach Parichay, shivering in wet clothes.
As soon as we reached our lunch stop in Parichay and we removed all our jackets and socks to let it dry and started eating hot food. As we were eating lunch, the rain stopped and it was sunny. With sign of relief, we kept jackets in the sun and did bit of sun bathing, before starting second part of the trek. It was late evening when we reached Debuche. Tired and exhausted, we sat directly in the dining room for food and rest. It was one of the most tiring day, especially for me as I did extra trek upward in the morning.
Day 11: Debuche – Namche Bazaar
The second day of downward trek was exciting as today was the lightest day compare to what we experienced in last 5-6 days. It was also the shortest trek from 3 day of downward trek. The idea for today’s day was to reach Namche Bazaar early evening and take a long awaited bath we all wanted to do. As we walked from Debuche to Namche Bazaar, weather was more clear and sunny. We remember last time we were in Namche Bazaar, it was super cloudy that we couldn’t see the mountain range surrounding the town. This time, we could see clearly thanks to sunny weather.
In the evening, we did nothing but relive our one in a lifetime experience of EBC and giving rest of our body of exhaustion we went through last 3 days.
Day 12: Namche Bazaar – Lukla
In the mountain, good and light days are not forever. This was third day of downward trek and the second longest day. The journey from Namche Bazaar to Lukla was more challenging as it just not involved going downwards, it involved going up and then down and then up again. It was last day of the trek and it felt nostalgic as we were passing through same village, same restaurant for lunch and snacks which we stopped on day 1 and 2.
The road was looking less exciting as we were reaching towards the end of our journey. Also the reason of summit and EBC was also closer to ending, we saw less and less people heading towards the mountains and more people heading towards Lukla. Many of the passerby were summiteers with their Sherpa. The look on their face was like an open book about their summit to Everest.
As we were reaching closer to Lukla, the news came that due to cloudy weather, there was no plane flying in or out of Lukla. More than 300 trekkers stranded in Lukla for the return journey to Kathmandu. Since our tour operator has advised us about such scenarios, we had kept 2 days extra in our itinerary. We reached Lukla by the evening and started doing research on status of plane or helicopter flying out of Lukla.
Day 13: Lukla – Phablo – Kathmandu
As soon as we woke up, we were focused was on the weather forecast and the flight schedule. To our dismay, it was still cloudy and non of the plane were flying in or out of Lukla. However, the cloudy were not thick for Helicopters and there were many which were flying in and out. Only problem with taking Heli is that it was super expensive for one way journey to Kathmandu and second the waiting line was too long.
We spoke to our tour operator and decided on a offbeat route to come back to Kathmandu. We took a short 15 min helicopter ride to a place called Phablo and from there road journey to Kathmandu. Our tour operator advised against road journey as it is almost 8-10 hour long and roads are not developed. As per him we should wait for another day in Lukla for weather to improve. Since 2 people in our group had flight back to India next day, we had to go with unconventional route.
Heli ride from Lukla to Phablo was scenic, flying from one mountain to another with nothing but greenery below. We reached Phablo and our car 8 seater Jeep was ready. We picked up few packet food from closeby store and started our journey back to Kathmandu. The initial part of the road was good, moving from one mountain to another. The route was as usual scenic and we passed through various villages of Nepal.
The scary part of journey came when it was night time. Firstly we couldn’t find any decent restaurant for dinner. We ended up eating whatever package food available and fruits in the village. Then comes the road which is reality not really a road. It was completely raw road with lot of bumps and potholes. We went through the patch for almost 4-5 hours in the middle of dread night praying for safe journey till we reach Kathmandu. Finally, we reached hotel at 1:00.
Day 14: Kathmandu
The day is Kathmandu was the most relaxing day of the whole journey. We released all our stress and hardship, changed into fancy clothes but foot ware still of trek (as we didn’t carry additional footwear to save luggage space). We kept buffer of 2 days in between and scheduled flight a day after. It is most important to keep atleast 2 days to avoid any last minute changes.
We hired a car for this day to do sightseeing of Nepal. We started our day by visiting the most famous and holiest place of Kathmandu, Pashupatinath Temple. A temple of Lord Shiv was one of the crowded temple and we quickly finished our Darshan in the midst of the crowd. We did some nice photoshoot in the temple premises which worked as nice backdrop for some portrait photography.
Later we also visited Boudhanath Stupa, One if the largest Stupa in Kathmandu. It was huge stupa and around it you can see many shops for shopping. Finally our day ended with doing some shopping and nice dinner organised by our tour operator offering perfect end to memories of mountain, a bucket list experience!
The whole Everest Base Camp Trek was a experience I will cherish for a lifetime. It was my bucket list thing to do and I successfully managed to do it without any health problems before, on trek or after. Rather, it felt more fresh and skin looked more brighter and better (even though it was less oxygen, it was pure without any pollution).