Rule Number Two : Give Way to the Donkeys on the EBC Trail
On a trek to Everest Base Camp the first rule of the trail is to give way to the yaks on the trail and stand to the mountain side, unless you want to be accidentally pushed off the side of a mountain. The second rule is to give way to the donkeys
I posted this video on Facebook on our first trek in November December 2013. It was taken on my iphone and shows the number of donkeys on the trail and why you don’t want to be on the bridge at the same time as a donkey herd. It also shows that the bridges you regularly cross can be areas for a little bit of congestion and turn taking. One way flow is definitely the safe way.
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 →
I had travelled through the Sahara and had explored Timbuktu, had marvelled at Iguazu Falls and the Perito Moreno Glacier. I had lived and experienced life in Milan and Buenos Aires. I was about to set out on a trek that would be the travel adventure of my life, but I didn’t know it.
I sat crying on our couch. My husband and trekking partner wanted to go out on a final training session. I was exhausted from training five times a week and I wanted to cry even at the thought of it. So I cried. He’d pushed it too far. He designed the training plan so we would make it to Everest Base Camp without feeling pain all the way. I had named him The Trainer he had trained us so well.
He had also researched, planned and organised the trek. Now he was weighing my pack and contents and being tough like the The Trainer could be. I could take 5.5 kilos in my back pack and my little pot of lip moisturiser had not made the cut I cut. I would be carrying it up the hills. So I sat on the couch crying with exhaustion and at not being able to take my only luxury item on a trek I didn’t want to go on in the first place.
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 PromptRecharge 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.
Yes I agree this is not a brilliant photo. But it is the only one from our Everest Base Camp trek with a reflection. And there were no mirrors either and I could have done with one of those. The EBC Trek equals bad hair days. I’m not sure which is better long hair or short.
Photos of reflections in water are rare on the EBC trek . The rivers are running too fast and are a milky colour. And the lakes are a milky green colour. I searched google images for Gokyo Lakes with reflections and found one. I’d like to know what conditions were needed to get the shot.
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 from our trek to EBC we had some days up our sleeve so we visited Chitwan and Pokhara.
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 →
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.
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. This photo was taken in 2013 when we first trekked on the EBC trail.
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.
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 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 Bazaar 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
One Monday morning at work, the sport teacher who took an interest in my EBC training asked me how it was going. I pulled up my trouser leg to show him the rash on both of my ankles. He told me to go to the hospital immediately.
Another colleague came to look at the rash. Unbelievably his wife had had the same rash and he told me to see a doctor. Both of my colleagues thought I had cellulitis and urged to waste not time in seeking medical advice.
Later in the day my 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. Undoubtedly it was caused by the eight hour walk that day. The dusty trail had probably aggravated it. And the socks. However it was a lot was redder than it had been back home in Australia. And coming up over the the sock line which worried me. I was a bit panicky.
It had been a unexpectedly hard day’s climb. It was freezing cold and late in the afternoon by the time we arrived in Tengboche. It was getting late in a very quiet trekking season. Consequently many lodges were closed. 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.
Day Six Tengboche to Pangboche
The next morning after breakfast I showed my rash to a woman in the lodge we had met on the trail the day before. She had told me she was carrying a lot of medicine and as I suspected she was a nurse. As it turned out she was a nurse, and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UPDATE 2022. In September this year I walked the last 140 km of the Camio Frances from Triacastella to Santiago de Compestela in Spain. With the Trainer of course! And with our two adult daughters. And my rash appeared again. As a result of training for the Camino I worked out that it seems to appear at about the 15 km distance mark. I have self diagnosed it to be a type of urticaria caused by physical exertion. A doctor friend has recommended that I start walking with flight socks and wear them in the future when I walk long distances. It did give ALOT of trouble on the Camino. But it didn’t stop me.
Anyone else have a frustrating medical “emergency” on holidays ?
You don’t need to be an athlete nor a mountain climber.
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 know because I was one of these people.
With Training Everest Base Camp is achievable for 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.
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 →