TIA, Kathmandu, Nepal
A long day of waiting around was deemed for us. Nature covered a blanket of fog across Kathmandu and Lukla airports, ensuring we got to know each other a little better, before we ventured out into the mountains.
The feeling of joy jolted us, as we heard the first announcement of a plane ready to take off for Lukla. We were worried all yesterday about whether we would actually be able to travel and if we had to get a very expensive helicopter ride there instead. But luckily, we finally made it out of the airport’s departure lounge – what an amazing feeling to finally be starting our journey.
Lukla, Chaurikharka, Eastern Region, Nepal
On the first day, the morning was sweeped away by the fog’s delight in keeping the mountains a mystery until we ventured further into the hidden footpaths. We experienced a light graze of snow and the wonder for it that I thought I lost, started coming back when Jodie saw the beauty of its simplicity covering our hair. It made me think about how grateful I am for experiencing that quintessence moment.
2,860m to 2,610m
Phakding, Eastern Region, Nepal
One of the hardest treks we did throughout the whole trip. We literally went up 900m in altitude, that’s a lot of stairs I will tell you. But at that juncture, we saw such beauty that eclipsed the physical strain on bodies – the trees, the colours that came off the river and the pray flags that dyed the pathways with charm.
2,610m to 3,440m
Namche, Eastern Region, Nepal
The air was crisp as the sun cut through the mountains and into our tea house. Our goal was to go up 400m, so that we could acclimatise our bodies to the high altitudes, and after a couple of hours we would walk down back to the original altitude we slept in (3,440m). Each step feeling like ten, at certain moments, however we carried each other forward, knowing the task wasn’t going to be easy but the spirit of the group allowed us to see bound our bodies and face that wall. We also got to see so many Yaks today – it was fun feeding them. This was the first day where we got to see the great Mount Everest – it stood humble amongst the other mountains and reminded me of that humility we should all strive for.
3,440m to 3,800m to 3,440m
An easy morning of flat planes and pathways that brought a smile to my face. Finally, less up than what we were used to. The sun was much needed as it powered us through the trail. We saw some beautiful Stupas – one in particle had some wonderful designs of Snow Lions that captured my attention.
As we headed up and up and up, we finally reached our lunch point – met with smiles and laughter from all the group. The clouds came rushing in during the afternoon and we were met with a draft of cold spells that lingered throughout. Jodie got to try some some proper glacier ice that wasn’t as tasty as she would of liked. Someone noticed two Nepalese pheasants lingering the trees above that were awash with colour and awe. The fog greeted us again as we came to our final destination in Phortse.
3,440m to 3,810m
Phortse, Khumjung, Eastern Region, Nepal
During our stay, we were also happy to see some writings from Dalai Lama and had much fun discussing these – what they meant to our lives and what is currently happening in the world.
The true meaning of life
We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.
– 14th Dalai Lama
The paradox of our age
We have bigger houses but smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; We gave more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more expert, but more problems; more medicines, but less healthiness; We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour. We built more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; We have become long on quantity, but short on quality. These are times of fast foods but slow digestion; Tall man but short character; Steep profits but shallow relationships, a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room.
– XIV Dalai Lama
Never Give Up
No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country is spent developing the mind instead of the heart
Develop the heart
Not just to your friends but to everyone
Work for peace in your heart and in the world
Work for Peace
And I say it again
Never give up
No matter what is happening
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up
– XIV Dalai Lama
As night fell and we rested from our long journey up through the Himalayas we decided to celebrate the great art of Secret Santa – buying presents from a name chosen from a hat.
As dawn broke the heavens opened up and the sunshine twisted around the mountains while we chased the heat the further we went up.
A murder of crows ghostly circled the mountains above as we finally met flat land and ventured into the small but very high village of Dingboche.
I enjoyed seeing the sunset cast down into the horizon and fill the village with a coldness that allowed us to connect more with each other.
3,810m to 4,440m
Dingboche, Eastern Region, Nepal
One of my favourite days as we ventured out up 400m to acclimatise ourselves again to being at 4,800m. But the fun didn’t stop there – we were grated with a beautiful Yak at the top – I enjoyed spending more time with Jodie, playing around on the ice, watching the water crash into the rocks – three of us (Steffen, Jodie and myself) ended sleeping in the dinning room with the only stove heater, to try to keep warm.
4,410m to 4,800m to 4,410m
We set off early morning to be grated by a herd of Yaks chasing each other down the path. As the small climb up the mountainside opened up to some of the most magnificent views across the Himalayas I saw so far. The red dots of the porters can be seen from a far as they pushed ahead to get to Lobuche while the lack of air can be seen stretching across the landscape.
When we reached our lunchtime point we were glad to rest and enjoy the sunshine. They had some interesting means of heating water up using mirrors.
Kyle and Nixo have been friends for a very long time and visited many places together and I hope I captured this at that perfect moment.
4,410m to 4,900
Lobuche, Khumjung, Eastern Region, Nepal
This was the day – it was finally going to happen. We were going to reach the cool height of 5,364m – the crazy height of Everest Base Camp. Just hours away from reaching that final goal post. What an exciting feeling rushing through my body. With each step we always managed to keep ourselves laughing and taking photos of the silly things we’d do. Jodie – her new means of drinking water. Steffen – action man. Cinzia – her Italian Vogue modelling shot. Myself – conqueror pose in front of Everest.
Here we are! After nearly 8 days of trekking we made it. At that point, it was so surreal because the base camp just appeared and it hit me – the achievement – the hard work – the sometimes waking up at night and not breathing properly – the laughter – the love – the array of emotions. It was such a majestic experience it filled me whole.
We decided it would be a great idea to drink some Everest beer at Everest Base camp.
As we trekked back to our teahouse – the sun was always there to keep us warm and remind us of how much I really like heat.
One of my favourite moments after Everest and after meeting such lovely people – silence – pure unadulterated silence. There was nothing there, no wind, no animals, no sound – such a surreal moment for a city boy like me.
4,900m to 5,364m to 5,140m
Gorak Shep, Khumjung, Eastern Region, Nepal
A long but wonderful walk down – we felt superhuman with each 100m we went in altitude, this walk felt really easy and fun. Jodie and I never lost our playfulness and eventually found ourselves left behind (about an hour behind everyone), but we didn’t care, we saw so much beauty and things to experience around us.
As we reached our teahouse the sun hide behind the Himalayas and a range of beautiful colours shot through.
5,140m to 4,080m
Everest Base Camp Trekking Rte, Khumjung 56000, Nepal
We were two days away from Lukla and each walk felt easier as we went further down in altitude – the crisp sunshine kept us warm, we became naturally separated from the group, which allowed the conversations between Jodie and myself to flow further into a special bond. We ascended into the beauty that is Tengboche monastery – I’ve never experienced such amazing artwork and colour in a single space.
4,080m to 3,440m
Namche, Eastern Region, Nepal
This had to be one of the most difficult days of the trek. It took us about 12 hours to get from Namche to Lukla – we didn’t want to leave poor Rachelle (who had a bad knee) behind but strangle enough she was the one that over took us during the end of our trek. Jodie and I only had ourselves to keep the level of humour going while we struggled through the last stretch of this amazing journey. At one point, we where convinced that Lukla didn’t exist and it was a figment of our imagination, but we will eventually turn it into a movie called “UP” – where these trekkers never leave Namche and are constantly going up and around in circles without ever reaching Lukla.
3,440m to 2,840m