Stepping Out in Thamel Kathmandu

Thamel the Tourist Precinct of Kathmandu

Barbie stepping out in Thamel

Barbie and the Trainer in a Bakery shop in Thamel

We all know Barbie gets around, but we were a little surprised, to find Marzipan Barbie, stepping out in our favourite bakery in Thamel the tourist district in Kathmandu. I suggested my husband pose with her. He’s the master mind, researcher and driver behind our two treks to Everest Base Camp and The Trainer in my blog. Continue reading

To Walk to Hike to Trek

Above Pangboche Everest Base Camp trekClimb Every Mountain

A year ago today we, The Trainer (also my husband and not a personal trainer) and I flew from Melbourne into Kathmandu to trek to Everest Base Camp. We nearly cancelled the trip because of the earthquakes but had trained so much, we agreed to go. Two years earlier we had gone even though I didn’t  really want to go. We trained hard for the trek, we walked, biked, stepped, climbed, stretched and hiked for six months and in fact over trained but we didn’t make it to Base Camp.

In September 2015 we were well and truly prepared to try again.  We had trained for six months  – general fitness then building up to more intense training in the last three months, treadmill, walks, bike rides, stretching, stair training and I guess you could say hiked. I looked up a few definitions of hike.

hike    walk for a long distance, especially across country.
“they hiked across the moors”   synonyms: walk, go on foot, trek, tramp, trudge, traipse, slog, footslog, plod, march

We hiked, I trudged and tramped all over the river area near where we live and all over the hills in our neighbourhood with my trekking gear, boots, packs and trekking poles.

993455_356903797779369_2141994695_n

This was much to the puzzlement of commuters passing by and to the amusement of hospital patients in their beds looking out the window onto one of our practising hills. No sooner did I arrive at the top of the hill than the Trainer pointed back down at the bottom, striding off leaving me resting at the top. I would get to the bottom and he strode back up telling me how many more times he wanted me to go up and down. Each training session he would add a little more water to the bottles in my back pack  slowly increasing its weight. Which brings me to the second definition which resonates with me:

 

hike – to walk or march a great distance, especially through rural  areas, for pleasure, exercise, military training, or the like.
Military training! Yes. And most the time it wasn’t pleasurable. I would come home from work  and have a backpack thrown at me and was told to get changed. Rain or shine, out we went. By the time we left for Kathmandu we were training five days a week including week nights. By the last week I was exhausted and near tears when he suggested a final training session.  That was in 2013. Last year I told him what I thought of his idea.
So Hike I think I know all about it. But have to add that I had never really hiked  or trekked before. So you hike to train for the trek because it is very hard to train for trekking. You experience trekking because trekking supposes some huge challenge and a journey in the big sense of the word, which trekking to Everest Base Camp is. And it is so worth all the training, it is the best thing I have ever done.
EBC Trek Dingboche Ridgetop

At 4200 metres on the Dingboche Ridgetop

I am retracing our steps over the next few weeks, re-blogging posts adding new material and combining some of the 2013 and 2015 trek posts so you can see the difference  a few months can make to the trek in terms of the weather. Adding more basic information too. Why don’t you join us, the Trainer and me?
Louise – and yes I am  over fifty. I have read some horror stories posted by young bloggers trekking to Everest Base Camp . Those treks are usually done too fast ( hence the vomiting and terrible headaches) and I will bet the ones complaining about all the aches and pains have not trained. Perhaps they need  a Trainer?
Above Pangboche Everest Base Camp trek

Above Pangboche

Other posts you may like to read.
An example of our last months training 2015
This post fitted perfectly with the Daily Post word prompt HIKE

Reminiscing – the Trip of My Life

IMG_1809The Best Travel Adventure

Trekking to Everest Base Camp

I had travelled through the Sahara and been to Timbuktu, seen Iguazu Falls and Rio and lived in Milan and Buenos Aires and was about to go on the trip of my life but I didn’t know it. I sat on the couch with a small pot of expensive lip moisturiser in my hands, crying. Continue reading

Facebook Flashback

Couch with sleeping bag

Facebook tells me it was one year ago today- the sleeping bags were being aired and I was nervously psyching myself up for the big picture. Mount Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Tabouche, Ama Dablam, Kantenga, Thamserku, Kala Patthar. Nervous and worried about landslides and aftershocks.

Recharging in Nepal

Resting Spots Along the Trail to Everest Base Camp

A post about the porters on my Everest Base Camp Trek blog is long overdue. The Daily Post Daily Prompt Recharge has given me a perfect launching point.

Trekking through the Khumbu you see resting points for porters to unload, rest and recharge. These resting spots are at a height so the porters can easily unload and reload onto their backs without having to lift their load from the ground. Porters loads at a resting point on the EBC TrekThe photo shows the typical oversized baskets called a doko used by porters. The T-shaped wooden walking stick at the bottom left of the screen is called a tokma. Continue reading

What, No Mirror ?

IMG_1056

Yes I agree this is not a brilliant photo. But it is the only one from our Everest Base Camp trek with a reflection. Our, being me and The Trainer. And there were no mirrors either and I could have done with one of those.

Photos of reflections in water are rare on the EBC trek . The rivers are running too fast Continue reading

Mani Stones

Image

IMG_1019

Om Mani Padme Hum

Quiet contemplation Om Mani Padme Hum

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Om_mani_padme_hum

Here’s Looking at You Kid

IMG_1847

Just a reminder that Nepal is not all about mountains. This photo was taken at the Chitwan National Park on the fringe of the Indian plains. We rode on top of this fellow into to the forest in search of rhinos, tigers and deer. They are magnificent creatures, aren’t they?

Not part of our original travel plans in 2013 but after turning back  Continue reading

Connecting When You Travel – Chokos, Children and Conversations

Last year in Nepal “connecting” started with learning a few words of Nepalese at the small hotel we stayed in Kathmandu. People always respond well if you have a go at speaking their language, they love it. My choice of words might seem strange. I learnt  Continue reading

Keeping Watch in Khumjung

Stupa at Khumjung in the Khumbu region of Nepal

Eyes peeping out from the yellow fringe seem sad against the grey cloudy backdrop. Despite being badly cracked from the 2015 earthquake, the stupa still stands sentinel at the end of the main path into Khumjung and watching over the Sir Edmund Hillary School.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/eyes/

Chance Encounter

Blogging Made Me Do It

Sick bag and keyboard

This is a true story.

Chance encounters with people I have never met, but know by association happen to me a bit. I am gregarious enough to stop the stranger and ask if they are so and so and introduce myself. My hit rate is fairly good and buoyed by my successes I continue to risk embarrassing myself  to make the connection. But sometimes I put two and two together and come up with five. Continue reading

Street in Bhaktapur Nepal

Day Two: “Street” — Establishing Shot

#developingyoureye

Bhaktapur Nepal

Pots drying in the sun Bhaktapur

 

Bhaktapur is an UNESCO world heritage site not far from Kathmandu.The old town is closed to traffic so it is a peaceful place to walk and explore. Sadly Bhaktapur was significantly damaged in the 2015 earthquake. Continue reading

Our Porter Guide

He met us at the baggage collection at Lukla airport. After a cup of tea and sorting our packs at the Paradise Lodge we were ready. He tied our bags together with his ropes, positioned the load on his head and led us out of Lukla, stopping every now and then to check we were following.

Consulting the map

Consulting the map

At first from his lack of response to our questions and attempts at conversation I thought he had limited English. But as he tuned in to our English and accents and we started to get to know each other, he spoke more.

On the second day he seemed a bit more relaxed and he started to teach us some Nepalese words. Jum jum, let’s go and appropriately on the hard climb to Namche bistari bistari, slowly slowly. Jokingly he taught us quickly quickly. When we climbed to Khumjung the thick cloud forced my focus to my feet and the spider webs covered in dewdrops, he told me the words for spider and spider webs too.

Alpine flower Solukhumbu
Dew on spider webs

Familiar with the trail, he pointed out things I would never have seen without him. He pointed out birds and bee hives hanging in the crevices of rocks on the other side of the river. Sometimes he sang his Nepali songs. We watched fascinated by his animated conversations with others along the track and picked up his sense of humour and friendly nature.

At the end of the day when I wrote in my small diary, he reminded me of the things we had seen on the trail. He spelt out the Nepalese words I had learnt during the day and I helped him with some new English words in our guide books.

In Dingboche, surrounded by magnificent mountains he taught me their names. He helped while I practiced naming them in order, like a child reciting their abc, learning the Himalayan range spread before me.

Many times we waited together for donkeys and yaks to pass. Once I was caught in a tight spot and I turned away when I shouldn’t have. Fortunately Basanta was watching. I turned around in time to see him pushing a donkey away from me. If he hadn’t of done this the donkey’s side load would have pushed me over the small wall.

He pulled me up the huge black boulders to reach the top of Kala Pattar. Took photos of us together and celebrated with us at Everest Base Camp.

At Everest Base Camp

He called me Louise, sometimes jokingly Mom and sometimes Didi – Big Sister.

Sometimes he led. Sometimes he followed. And sometimes we walked side by side.

Khumjung Village Everest Base Camp TrekSometimes he lead
Porters climbing up to the bridge to Namche Bazaarsometimes he followed
Dingboche to Dughla Everest Base Camp Trekand sometimes we walked side by side

On the last day, walking back to Lukla a woman coming the other way silently pointed at the porter right behind me as if she thought I needed to move aside and let him pass. Yes I know, I thought, he is my porter and he has been close by for sixteen days. He has carried our load making our trek to Base Camp easier. He guided, pointed things out and watched out for us. He was our companion, Nepalese friend and shared his country with us. Thank you Basanta.

 

The porter guide and me
Saying goodbye at the Paradise Lodge in Lukla

 

 

Life Is Great in Retrospect

Why the Trainer and I turned back before Everest Base Camp in 2013.We trained more than when we made it in 2015 . We were fit enough. So why didn’t we make it ?

The Background Story

The Sports Teacher at work took an interest in my EBC training. One Monday morning he asked how it was going. I replied well but pulled up my trouser leg to show him the rash on both my ankles. He told me to go to the hospital immediately.

The colleague I share an office  with came to look at the rash. Unbelievably his wife had had the same rash, had spent time in hospital and could have died. I made an doctor’s appointment for the afternoon.

The doctor  looked at the rash on both my ankles said it wasn’t Cellulitis and agreed it was probably caused by my trekking socks. My bamboo socks. He told me if the rash changed in any way to come straight back.

The rash cleared up and some months later and the trainer and I left for Kathmandu to trek to Everest Base Camp. With the same bamboo socks. I didn’t really think about not taking them. They hadn’t caused anymore problems. Life is great in retrospect.

Day  Five Namche Bazaar to Tengboche

On the trek to Tengboche the rash returned with vengeance caused no doubt by the eight hour walk that day and the dusty trail. And the socks. However it was a lot  was redder than it had been back home and coming up over the the sock line. I was a bit panicky.

It had been a unexpectedly hard day’s climb. It was freezing cold and late in the afternoon when we arrived in Tengboche. A lot of the lodges were closed as it was getting late in a quiet season. We weren’t that thrilled with the accommodation and the shared toilet arrangement which we had managed to avoid until then. It was turning out to being not such a great day.

Tengboche Everest Base Camp Trek

Tengboche from the monastery looking cold and dark with sun setting

Sunset on the Everest Base Camp Trail

Shadows and the sun setting on the Lhotse – Nuptse ridge from Tengboche

Day Six Tengboche to Pangboche

The next morning after breakfast I showed my rash to a woman in the lodge we had met the day before. She had told me she was carrying a lot of medicine and as I suspected she was a nurse. She agreed with me the rash looked like it was caused by my socks and told me if it got worse or started to feel hot to start taking the broad spectrum antibiotics and ring for a helicopter.

I was a bit panicked at this comment given we were trekking without a guide or porter. The Trainer tried to calm me down. We walked to Pangboche a lovely walk and found a lodge fairly early. I spent some time trying to find out how we would call a helicopter without much luck. We had showers which made the day seem a bit better. During the night I started the antibiotics because my leg felt hot.

Pangboche, Everest Base Camp Trek

The next morning the Trainer suggested we walk to Shomare have a coffee and then decide whether to go on or not. And yes, we had that drink and decided to turn back.

Everest Base Camp Trek

Shomare. Our last stop before turning back

Life is great in retrospect I should not have taken the bamboo socks to Nepal, bought some topical cream, investigated the rash more on coming home but I didn’t.

Lessons Learnt

When we returned home I heard a lot about bamboo socks not being good for trekking . They retained moisture instead of wicking the moisture away. The socks were banished from my sock drawer forever. I had actually had been recommended the socks in a camping store. In retrospect don’t buy hiking gear in a camping gear shop. I recommend finding a hiking gear shop that employs staff with lots of trekking experience.

I bought woollen socks for our second trip. Trained with them and packed more pairs.

Ironically I got the rash again on the second trek. And on the first day. Just a tiny bit at first and with woollen socks. I applied the cream I brought and raised my legs. By the end of the trek the rash was being annoying.

Rash on ankle

The rash back in Kathmandu after the second trek in 2015.

The type of socks you wear trekking are really important. I was very excited to find a post devoted entirely to socks in my travels around the blogosphere. Here it is

Links to related posts

Don’t be put off Tengboche. It is a hard days trek and being mentally prepared will help.

We trekked back through Tengboche on our way back from Everest Base Camp. It seemed like a much nicer place in the middle of the day with the sun shining. We spent some time there, watching marathon runners coming through and taking photographs. We still haven’t seen inside the temple to we might just have to go back.

Tengboche Monastery

Tengboche Monastery

 

Anyone else have a frustrating medical “emergency” on holidays ?

My You Tube of Walking to Tengboche.

More photos of the walk from Namche to Tengboche (2013)  

Other posts that may interest you

Acclimatisation Days

What to pack

25 Reasons to Trek to Nepal  

How hard is it to trek to Everest Base Camp ?

Our trek itineraries in 2013 and in 2015

Our Experience on Diamox

.

Back in the Saddle Again

I have more posts about my EBC trek planned and in draft but prioritising the blog has meant I have gone from Everest Base Camp Fit to Everest Base Camp Unfit. As finding fitness for the first time is part of the journey I am posting this post about my weekend ride. Did I mention I LOVE my bike?

Getting Back into a Fitness Routine

We had a plan. We always have a plan. But then it changed. The basics of the plan always is the starting point and the direction, which translates to whichever car park we start from, the direction- up river or down river and the destination. The plan was to start from the suspension bridge and ride to Petty’s Orchard and back. At a certain point we had to get off our bikes and walk because the hill was too steep, having said that I have ridden up it before when I was Base Camp Fit but I am not at the moment. At the top the Trainer announced he was going straight not left, where we were meant to go. In the plan.

The Trainer always does this to me. The revised plan meant an even steeper hill with a terrible rocky surface, actually one of tour rek training hills for Base Camp. One where you walk – not ride a bike. He explained he only wanted to go half way and then take an emergency services track down to rejoin the main trail. Ok I sighed. I’ll follow you anywhere, I thought, to a point. I had come grief doing this before. Read the post

We saw some kangaroos hopping along, then main trail and went off the trail to our little hidden cafe in it’s lovely rustic setting hidden on the river in a heritage apple orchard.

13245856_764652150337863_1799591837_n

The Suspension Bridge at Templestowe on the Main Yarra Trail

Back home after the 12 kilometre ride it felt good despite feeling some muscles that haven’t had a good work out in quite a while. I have let my fitness level slip for a number of reasons and I need to work at getting it back. I think the bikes will be the way we do that for a while.

My bike at Mum's vista seat

Taken the Day Before Mother’s Day

There are more of my Bicycle Posts on the Menu under the Fitness Tab and then click on the new My Bicycle Diary tab.

Some webpages you may find helpful.

Banyule Council Bikes and Walking 

Manningham Council Bike Trails

Bike Paths and Rail Trails

Bucket Lists and Difficult Journeys

Trekking to Everest Base Camp-Are You Up To It?

You’ve read great posts about the Everest Base Camp Trek and want to go but are you ready for it?

You don’t need to be an athlete nor a mountain climber to trek to Everest Base Camp. You don’t have to be seasoned hiker either. For many people who trek to Base Camp it is their first experience of anything like this. I was one of these people.

Everest Base Camp is achievable to the average person. Training before you go is highly recommended. Your training is part of the bigger journey. It certainly was part of mine. The Trainer kept reminding me, you know the quote, the journey is not just about the destination. Oh and the question of age. I’m in my fifties and there were plenty of people older than me on the trail.

Above the yak pastures on the trail to Dingboche.

One of favourite days walking into Dingboche past yak pastures.

If you are healthy, have trained and mentally prepared Everest Base Camp is possible. Continue reading