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Nepal – Bupsa to Namche – 9th/11th March

  • Day 6 Bupsa to Chaurikarka with a high point of 2900m

By now we were averaging long days to cover the miles on the trek. We really wanted to make it to Namche on our 9th day of trekking and so pushing through to Chaurikarka seemed like a good idea. Our bill at the lodge in Bupsa came to 1780 rupees and the host didn’t charge us for our rooms. He was also really kind in giving each of us white prayer scarfs to wish us a safe journey up to Gokyo Ri. We all decided we would leave them up there once we’d made it to the peak of our trek.

The highest point of the day came at Khari-La (2900m) and all the while we could spot our route as tea houses would crop up along the way. We also passed mani-walls and lot’s of prayer flags. We weren’t too far from the Lukla to Namche trekkers highway and so we were holding onto every moment we had on the paths before we met the busy pathways ahead.

In Puiyan we enjoyed an excellent lunch at one of the lesser known lodges, here we had what we jointly voted was the best ra-ra noodle soups to date plus we couldn’t help but lap up the fried eggs! Even Helen who isn’t an egg lover enjoyed one!

As we approached Chaurikarka it had been a really long day and we got there at around 5pm joined by a few other trekkers. We can’t remember the name of the guesthouse we stayed at but it’s at the top of the village past the Stupas and the Hilliary school. In fact right in front of the lodge is a sign on the pavement; down to Jiri onwards to Namche, also upon leaving the lodge to the left there is a Mani-gate so we hope this helps in identifying which lodge we stayed at, for anyone who’s interested! After dahl bat times 6 we enjoyed another early night in our cosy tea lodge.

  • Day nine: Chaurikarka to Namche with a high point of 3446m

We were once again ready for a long day, leaving at just after 8am (most trekkers tend to up and leave at around 6-7am but we preferred to have breakfast and get ourselves ready before heading off). As we left the village we were hiking through village upon village, with pathways lined with mani-stones and walls. When we reached Cheplung we finally joined the Lukla to Namche highway which is the path most people take when they fly into Lukla and start their acclimatisation walks.

We had lunch in Phakding at the second lodge we came to on the left of the path, there is a nice outdoor seating area which always marks highly on our scores! By now the four of us seemed to be marking the standard of food in relation to the best meals we’d been enjoying along the way. We knew some awards would be given out at the end of the trek (hypothetically that is!). Dave and Joshua had been chatting pretty much all the way about food and so it deemed right to stop at this point. The Singapore lads passed us as we sat there, this time they had their friend with them who’d flown out to Lukla to join them for their trek to Everest Base Camp. It had been really nice bumping into them most days.

We had a good break for lunch and then continued onwards, stopping in Mondzo (Munjo) to buy a few choccie bars that we thought would help us out later on in the climb to Namche. We then passed the checkpoint had our names entered into the log book and we were suddenly in The Solo-Khumbu National Park. From here there is a steep downhill climb and several villages to pass through whilst criss-crossing over the rivers on large swing bridges. After leaving Jorsale there are no more villages until Namche.

There is a fantastic swing bridge taking you over from one side of the river to the other which then leads you into a really steep and dusty climb. This climb doesn’t stop until Namche Bazaar, and it is pretty relentless. Amata was struggling with a head cold and sore throat and so all the dust being blown up around didn’t help. Dave was on good form with his duct-tape socks but we all needed our little chocolate boost along the way. We also got our first real glimpse of Everest from an abandoned tea house in ruins. This last part of the climb is tough coming in from Chaurikarka and Helen felt it was the hardest day to date, the elevation in this section is around 800m or so.

The sight of Namche was welcomed indeed, we were just a little annoyed by all the steps and such getting into the village. Once we did there was some music playing from one of the many shops along the street and so Joshua and Helen broke out into a little celebratory dance, Amata filmed us and Dave just did a cool head nod! We opted to stay a little way out of the busy area of Namche at The Moonlight Lodge one of the higher lodges, which also meant more stair climbing. But it was worth it, Moonlight is a great lodge, the owners are helpful and the food was some of the best we’d had so far. Showers are on the pricey side at 300 rupees but it was a very hospitable place to be.

  • Day 10 Namche rest day

We did very little on our rest day; washed clothes, showered and ate! We enjoyed the luxury of a coffee and hot chocolate as well as a danish pastry later on in the day. Amata was mainly trying to get over her cold, but all four of us were happy just to chill, read and chat in the Moonlight dining area. It was also a good place to check emails and stock up on a few essential snack items for the treks ahead of us (200rs for 30mins in an internet cafe). We decided to do an acclimatisation hike the next day to Thame sitting at 3800m and we wanted to stay there. This meant we could leave some gear behind at the lodge and make it a nice 2 day hike with a small load. Our final bill at the Moonlight Lodge came to 7450 rupees, this was our biggest and perhaps most indulgent bill to date!

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0, 18mm f4, 90mm Tele-Elmarit f2.8 processed in Lightroom 3)

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