Day 6: Thokla to Gorak Shep

I set off again at 6am. I didn’t have breakfast in Thokla, because I wanted to stop at Lobuche for a severest_trekking_map 5th dayhort break and thought of having breakfast there. Lobuche is at 4920m. I arrived there after 2 hours of trekking and didn’t feel good. I had a headache, felt tired and my stomach was upset. I still forced myself to eat breakfast, because I wanted to keep on trekking to Gorak Shep, at 5164m. I had a nice breakfast: Tibethan bread with honey! Really enjoyed it. I stayed there 1 hour and continued to Gorak Shep. It turned out to be a big mistake!

The trekking was much longer than I thought, also probably partly caused of feeling really tired. I was just shuffling my feet along. Every step felt heavy. I could feel every kilo of my backpack more… Luckily, halfway the trekking I met a Moldovan guy, Andre. He was staying Gorak Shep, but felt bad too, and was on his way to Lobuche to recuperate. When you have AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), the only thing you can do is go back down, let your body get used to the altitude and try to climb up again. We talked for a while and he said he was feeling better and wanted to climb up together with me again.
It was meant I would meet him, because talking to him, made me feel better as well. We talked all the way. He was a very interesting guy: he lives in Norway and is a guide for the Northern Light.

When I finally arrived in Gorak Shep, 3 hours later, I felt bad again and just collapsed on my bed. I was so tired that I thought I would never be able to move again. I rested for 3 hours and went downstairs. I drank some soup and bought some cookies of which I ate a few in my room while lying down and reading my book. I really didn’t feel well.
The whole night I felt uncomfortable in my back, I had a major headache and I was vomiting bile. That was definitely not good! In the morning, I forced myself to get up with, what felt, the last strength I had and went downstairs to get a mint tea. I thought this would help with my stomach.

I really didn’t know what to do: in this state, I couldn’t possibly trek any further, but I had to go to Base Camp, because Eric would come back in a couple of days. I didn’t have time to go back down and climb back up again.
When I was in the dining room, trying to ease my stomach with tea, Joe walked in, a Canadian I met briefly in Thokla. I told him about my condition and he told me he had mountain sickness pills, which he didn’t have to use. He gave me 8 pills, enough for 4 days. I immediately took 1 and went back to my room to rest. A true miracle happened! After 1 hour, I felt much better and felt something like hunger again. Amazing!

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Sometimes the trail could be really steep. 
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Day 5: From Pangboche to Thokla

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I started trekking again at 6am. I started from Pangboche, where I stayed another night after my trek to Ama Dablam Basecamp. I stayed in another lodge, which was popular. Yesterday afternoon, I sat in the dining room with my book. Around 5pm, an Australian couple came in. They were in their early 40s, I guessed. We started talking and we talked for the whole evening (well, until 7.30pm, which is the time we retreated to our room to sleep). The woman was really exhausted. At one point she was even crying, because she felt so tired. The guy told me that his heart monitor indicated that he was burning 3000cals a day, without heavy backpack, because they had a porter. So, he told me that I must burn more, which shocked me a bit. That’s a lot of calories!

I started trekking today without breakfast, because I didn’t feel hungry (I ate more than I wanted to yesterday). I arrived in Periche (altitude: 4240m) around 8.30am and had breakfast there. I almost immediately continued the rest of my trek to Thokla (4670m). It was a bit of a tough climb, especially because I went a bit off track. The route was not that clear and I didn’t know where to go. So, I started to climb up, but all of a sudden I saw porters down and knew the trail must be there. Even with this little hiccup, I still arrived around 10.30am. So, again, quite early.

It seemed there was only 1 lodge in Thokla. It’s really just a couple of houses, not much of a town. I met a nice American couple in the dining room: Mary and Justin. They had already ordered food and the dish Justin ordered looked so delicious I immediately ordered the same. It was a big plate of mixed noodles with egg, tuna, veggies,… I devoured it and enjoyed every bite!
The rest of the day, was again waiting to go trekking again the next day.

The view during each trek is amazing. I am thankful every day, every minute that I have this experience and am surrounded by such a beautiful environment. At moments, it feels surreal, like I entered another world.

I will also mention here that it is aIMG_20160516_115518lmost necessary to have purification tablets with you, so you can take water from any source and purify it with a tablet. I take water from little pools, small streams,… put a tablet in it and wait one hour to drink. Although, I don’t drink as much as I should. I know, I should drink IMG_20160516_115428enough to not get sick, but every time I want to drink, it feels like choking as my body just wants to breathe. I am quite out of breath all the time from walking and I don’t think to drink.

Day 4: To Ama Dablam Base Camp

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Yesterday afternoon, I again had nothing to do, so I was reading and went to bed around 8pm again. I woke up around 12am and dozed on and off till 6am. I had breakfast and immediately set off to Ama Dablam Base Camp. It was a relief not to trek with my big backpack! I felt so much lighter… Just outside of Pangboche , I had to choose between 2 trails: one was a big wider than the other. I asked a Nepalese and he pointed at the wider one. I walked and walked and met many others. Ama Dablam was constantly at my right side, but there was no trail leading down. I had to go down and cross a river to go to Ama Dablam. After more than 1 hour, I came to a sign in stone to point to Periche and Dingboche, no Ama Dablam. At that moment, some porters passed by with yaks and I asked them. They told me I had to go all the way back to Pangboche. So, I thought it was the smaller trail that I had to follow, not the wider one. Fortunately, the trail was not that hard and I went back. I took a rest at a bakery in Pangboche. I thought of having a nice snack there, but the cinnamon roll I had was at least 1 week old! I asked the manager the way to Base Camp and my feeling was right: I had to take the s20160517_125411maller one.

I went down to the river, crossed it and the hike was amazing. It was quite steep all the way up, but I didn’t find it that hard (again, the smaller backpack helped a lot!). I think my body is getting trained. I can definitely feel that my clothes are starting to be baggy, even after only 4 days! The view up there was amazing, but the wind was really strong. It was much colder. Ama Dablam Base Camp is at 4600m, so I climbed more than 600m in altitude. I could definitely feel it in my breathing: every step, I was out of breath and my heart was pounding in my chest. I had my lunch up there: a chapati, with yak cheese and… chocolate! I love it that I can eat, and even have to eat chocolate, because it gives you instant energy. So, when you are trekking and you feel tired, you have an energy dip, chocolate is the best snack. I stacked up on Bounty, Twix, Mars, Kitkat,… You can buy these things in every village.

I loved being there all by myself, surrounded on all sides by mountains. I was in awe to be closer to Ama Dablam, 6812m. I will definitely try to summit this mountain! The moment I laid eyes on her, I knew I would climb this one. Every time I looked at the summit, I could picture myself climbing it. It was really calling me. I had a strange feeling the whole time I was there. I knew I will come back here. This is my next goal!

Day 3: from Namche Bazar to Pangboche

I woke up around 2am. I went to bed last night around 8pm (there is not much to do in these villages and most trekkers go to bed early to rest well before their next trek), so maybe that’s why I woke up that early. Or maybe, it’s because Eric would start his way to the top at 2am this night. It will take him 4 days to go from Basecamp to Camp 1, Camp 2, Camp 3, Camp 4 and finally the top on 20 May!

I couldn’t fall asleep anymore and got up around 5.30am, had breakfast in the lodge and set off trekking at 6.30am. Yesterday, just before coming into Namche Bazar, I met the guy who sat next to me on the plane to Lukla. I told him about the lodge I would stay in and he decided teverest_trekking_map 3rd dayo stay in the same lodge. We had breakfast together this morning, but he left a few minutes before me. Just outside of Namche Bazar, we bumped into each other again and decided to go trekking together. He first thought of going another way: first go to Khumjung and go through the 3 passes, but he decided to do the same trek as me for now and do the 3 passes when he comes back down. The first one and a half hours were quite easy. After one hour and a half, we came into a village and decided to have a milktea. We sat outside and enjoyed the view! We continued trekking, and we went down a lot (from 3400m till 3200m), that made us a bit apprehensive, as we knew we would have to climb up more, later on. And yes, a bit later, the climb started: up till 3800m, Tengboche! I lost the guy on the way. He was slow. At first, I waited for him, but he told me not to wait and I kept my own pace.

I arrived in Tengboche around 11am and had some momo to eat. Momo is the Nepalese variant of Chinese dumplings. You can choose different fillings. That day, I had potato filling and it was really tasty! I continued trekking to Pangboche. The view was amazing! I just kept on taking pictures and couldn’t believe how lucky I was to experience all this… It started to be hard again, because I started to feel tired, but the trail was well-kept and I rested a lot. I was taking pictures and videos, while doing this, I could rest every couple of minutes! I arrived in Pangboche around 1pm, the altitude here is 3930m. Which I could definitely feel. Just walking a few steps makes you breathe heavily in and out. And when I want to drink, it already starts to feel like choking. Your body just wants to breathe!
In Pangboche, I just booked the first lodge I saw and changed shoes. The weather still feels hot and my hiking boots are too warm.

I rested here in Pangboche for the rest of the day, just reading my book. Tomorrow I would trek to Ama Dablam Basecamp at 4600m, without my big backpack. I will just trek there and come back to Pangboche to then stay here for another night. When I first laid eyes on Ama Dablam, a mountain of 4812m, I knew I will summit it one day. I just couldn’t keep my eyes of her… Such a beautiful mountain! I kept on looking at it, and could already see myself going to the top. How something can captivate you immediately and you immediately know what your next goal is! It’s amazing! I will keep on dreaming of this mountain until I reach this goal!

2nd day: Monjo to Namche Bazar

The second day of my trek to Everest Basecamp, I got up at 6am. I did some stretching, because I could already feel the muscles in my buttocks and shoulders.

I had everest_trekking_map 2nd daya small breakfast and set off to Namche Bazar. Boy, was I glad I didn’t do that the day before! I climbed from 2800m to 3400m. It was hard, because certain parts were quite steep and I had to climb onto big rocks. With my heavy backpack, it was quite difficult as the backpack kept on pulling me down. I arrived in Namche Bazar around 10.30am and stayed there for the day. I need to give my body time to get used to the physical part and the altitude.

It was a beautiful trek all through the forest. The trail is pretty straight-forward: very wide and easy to follow. I meet a lot of people along the way and talked to several. A couple gave me a businIMG_20160514_133238ess card of a lodge in Namche, Nirvana home was the name of that lodge. Apparently, the owner is the son of a sherpa who went with Hillary in 1953. That sherpa is the last one still alive from that expedition. As soon as I was in Namche Bazar, I went looking for that lodge and booked a room there. In the late afternoon, I got a chance to talk to him. He is 84 years old and still very clear-minded. He still remembers a lot from that expedition, how they had to cut trees to take them over crevasses, what clothes and shoes they were wearing, how the food and oxygen arrived on the mountain. Unbelievable that they could conquer the mountain in such basic conditions! It was a real honor to have the opportunity to talk to him and he said he would pray to Buddha for my husband to succeed.

The minute I booked a room in my lodge, I went down to get a nice cup of coffee and I ate a nice piece of apple pie with itIMG_20160515_102234. I promised myself to not drink coffee anymore, until I was back in Kathmandu, but I saw a big sign of Himalayan Java coffee and, because I have more than half a day of rest, I treat myself. I won’t drink coffee anymore, until I come down again. Coffee can be dangerous in high altitude as it makes your heart go faster and it takes fluids from your body. So, be careful with coffee, alcohol and red bull. Although, I have seen several people smoke cannabis as it would help to relax and help against AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Some invited me to smoke with them, but I didn’t dare that too. I wouldn’t know how my body woul
d react in these circumstances.

 

Climbing Mt. Everest

My husband summited Mt Everest. He succeeded on May 20, 2016! A big adventure for bot of us. I went to Base camp to meet him when he came down the mountain. This picture is takIMG_20160522_140629en when he just came back from the mountain to Base Camp. I will write in a few blog posts my trekking to Base camp. It is a beautiful trek! I would recommend everyone to do it…

 

 

 

 

 

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First day of my trek

 

 

The first day I flew from Kathmandu to Lukla. It was early in the morning and the airport for domestic flights at Kathmandu is very basic and not quite organised (to say the least). Everything is very old and it was confusing, also because flights to Lukla get canceled on a regular basis. Lukla is the world’s most dangerous airport and the weather conditions are most of the time not good to land on the very small landstrip. So, you never know when you can fly. I spoke to 2 other people; we were all going around the same time to Lukla, but we all got a different flight numb

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The plane to Lukla

 

er. After a while, my flight number was announced and I could go through. The plane was very basic and old. The flight lasted 40 minutes and we flew around the mountains. The
view was amazing! We landed on a very short strip!! I heard about it, but to really experience it, was something completely different. Those pilots must have great skills. Unbelievable how they can stop the airplane on such a short time.

The first thing I did in Lukla was to have a huge breakfast: masala tea (how I enjoy these!), chapati with honey and oatmeal porridge with banana. It was a bit too much. I could feel it for the next hour in my stomach…
I didn’t have a porter or guide, so I had to carry everything myself: 1 big backpack of 10kg and a small bag of 5kg, going up, I could feel every kilogram!
I started in Lukla at 2860m, around 10am and I took a break in Phakding, around 2610m, around noon. Eric, my husband, told me that I could rest here before going further. But it was only noon and the trek was not that difficult so far. I didn’t feel tired at all, because I was overexcited of everything: the trek, the environment,… The fact that I am finally in Nepal after already almost have gone 2 times. So, this is the 3rd time I planned and finally did go!
I was even thinking of going all the way to Namche Bazar today.
A bit over 1 hour of trekking later, I started to feel that I underestimated it: I started to feel really tired and my energy level dropped significantly. The fact that I got up early and hadn’t slept well the night before because of excitement will have had something to do with this.

IMG_20160514_105018So, around 2pm I arrived in Monjo, 2835m. The first guesthouse I saw, I booked a room and ordered food. After that good meal, I went to my room, took a shower and relaxed for the rest of the day. I didn’t eat anything in the evening. This will be my routine for the whole trek: eat a big breakfast and after my trek, have a big meal, but nothing or just a couple of biscuits in the evening.

 

The aftermath…

The whole Sunday was nerve-wrecking as well. Will he be ok from now on or not? In the afternoon, I heard that he could take a helicopter back to Kathmandu. I received a text from him that he was in Kathmandu late afternoon.

He called me and told me that he was at the hospital now to see a doctor, but that there were too many people waiting for treatment. We talked a bit and it felt so good to hear his voice! He had to go, because people were calling him, but he told me he would call me back.

I was relieved and knew that, at least, he is in a hospital now instead of still being on the mountain. Around 9pm, I received a message that he saw a doctor and nothing is broken. His back is bruised (apparently, he was afraid that he broke his back, so much for the small injury he told me about) and he has several cuts in arms and legs, but that’s all on the outside, that can heal, I told him. As long as he has no internal injuries – which would be more severe – it’s ok.

I went to bed around 10.30pm, knowing that now, we just have to get him on a flight back home. I was exhausted and wanted to get some sleep, while all of a sudden my friend texted me there was an aftershock of 6.7! I was immediately wide awake again and texted my boyfriend immediately to ask if he was ok. Anxiously waiting for his text, the minutes crept away.

Half an hour later he called me. He is ok. He was having dinner while it happened and everyone ran outside. But I could hear that his morale was low. He was beaten. He sounded tired, but he was also immensely calm.

We talked for 45min and he told me all the details of that awful day. He told me that he heard the avalanche, got out of his tent and ran for his life. He told me that all of a sudden there was a small slope and he jumped onto that. That rescued him, the avalanche didn’t cover him. Unlike all the people around him. The guy in the tent next to him, was taking a nap, so he didn’t get out of the tent and died. Several others died and most of them got serious injuries. He was so lucky! He must have a good guardian angel, which I am very thankful for now!

Do you know, during that phone call, what he was most sad about? Apparently, on the way to Base Camp he bought 2 gem stones: 1 sapphire for him and 1 ruby for me. He lost most of his stuff and he lost those gemstones. He told me that he was looking everywhere trying to get them back. He sounded so sad when he told me. I told him that I don’t care about a gemstone now, as long as he is ok and comes back to me.

I told the story to my friend the next day and she said that, probably, he wanted to hold on to something in the future, to know there is still a future for him and those gemstones symbolized that future. Guess she is right. Who knows what goes through someone’s mind when they survive a disaster like that?

The next day, Monday, I read that there were many aftershocks, so he didn’t sleep, but at least he was still ok. He went to the Chinese embassy, because I told him that they help Chinese to get out of the country. But he told me there was no one working there and too many Chinese were waiting outside. Early afternoon, I got the good news: his sister was able to book him a flight: April 30 at 6.35pm he will arrive in Guangzhou.

He told me that he will try to get an earlier flight, but now I know that at the last, he will be back later this week!! The relief I felt, was immense. A weight was lifted from my shoulders.

I also know that he will survive any aftershocks or any other difficulties he might experience still. He didn’t survive an avalanche to be buried under a building now. He is a survivor and I am proud of him!

In those hours and days that I still wasn’t sure if he would be ok or not, I made a promise to myself. When he would get out of there alive and well, I would devote my life to become better and stronger. He only survived, because he is strong, in mind and in physique. I will take care of my body more, train more every day. And have a strong body and mind as well. He is my inspiration, my everything…

And in a couple of days, I can hold him in my arms again!!!

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His side of Base Camp, his tent is in the middle on the right.
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His side of Base Camp right after the avalanche.

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