Just to dispel any thoughts that this is a relaxing vacation, allow me to give you today’s Trek Itinerary:
- 3:00 am: Wake up after a night of virtually no sleep due to the altitude.
- Put on practically every piece of layering you have.
- 3:30 am: Enjoy tea and biscuits (cookies) in the unheated and unlighted dining area without disturbing the 4 or 5 Sherpa guides who are sleeping there.
- 4:00 am: Begin an invigorating early morning hike to the top of Kala Patthar to work on aerobic fitness. This hike features a 3.75 mile out & back trail with a “slight” incline, a starting elevation of 16,950’, and the peak elevation at a “breathtaking” 18,500’!
- 6:30 to 7:00 am: Enjoy stunning views of Mt. Everest and other Himalayan peaks (due to the unpredictable weather… we can offer no guarantees)
- 7:00 am: Enjoy a gravity assisted descent back to our start point.
- 8:00 am: Breakfast (enjoy the same selections you’ve had all week, but remember to avoid all cheeses and meats!)
- 8:30 to 9:00 am: Rest, but remember to pack all your gear for the next event on the itinerary.
- 9:30 am: Enjoy a refreshing 8.25 mile hike, featuring winding inclines (both up and down) with lots of rocks and boulders to test your balance and footing.
- 4:00 pm: Arrive at your destination for the day, the rustic village of Periche, lying in the Khumbu River valley. Enjoy lovely views of yaks grazing outside your window as you recount the experiences of the past 12 hours.
Seriously, it was a long grueling day, especially with the ascent of the 18,500’ Kala Patthar. We began in the dark with sub-freezing temperatures and fog, with absolutely no guarantee of seeing anything when we got to the top. When we finally did reach the summit 2.5 hours later, it was overcast, but there were glimpses of the sun shining on Pumori through the cloud cover to give us hope that the mist would lift. Our patience paid off and we were rewarded with clear skies and a 360 degree view of the Himalayas. We were also witness to the sunrise as it peaked from behind Everest… an amazing sight and experience. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.