You can read all of my posts about the Everest Base Camp trek here!
After our amazing experience of finally seeing Everest that morning, we started out on the 6 hour journey to our next stop on the Everest Base Camp trek, Dingboche. The first part of the trek led us through the green and lush rhododendron forest, with raging glacial streams rushing far below us. This would be the last forest type of terrain that we would see until we descended back down again, as today would be the day that we trekked to above the tree line and moved into a completely different type of landscape all together.
Along the way, we came across a metal bridge that had fallen into the fast-running waters below us. Deepak said that this bridge used to be used on the trek, and that he had passed over it only a week before it had collapsed last year! Luckily no one had been injured when it fell. Deepak advised us we would be trekking a little further down to a much safer wooden bridge.
The trail was reasonably undulating with not too many steep parts, so we were all chatty and joking around. The rhododendron forest soon made way for more scrubby type landscape as we moved beyond the tree line, ascending higher and higher with every step.
About 30 minutes before our lunch stop, I started to find the going quite difficult, mainly due to the higher altitude. I was please when we finally made it to Somare for lunch at the Nagarkot Fast Food Restaurant so I could rest and prepare myself for the tough afternoon ahead. It was probably one of the more scenic “fast food” restaurants that I’d eaten at, with Ama Dablam towering over it every time that the clouds parted. I had fried dal bhat with rice for lunch which was great, although I couldn’t tell the difference between it and a normal dal bhat!
After a short rest to let our food digest, we set off again for the final 2 hours of hiking to reach Dingboche. These 2 hours were the toughest that I had hiked so far on the trek. Once we ascended over 4000m the altitude really started affecting me, and it seemed a major effort to continue to move my legs. I started having to take more and more frequent rest stops, feeling terrible for slowing the rest of team down, but at the same time unable to continue. I started chanting in my head to try and get a slow rhythm going – “om mani padme hum” with one step to each word. I’m not Buddhist, but with the chant carved into prayer stones all around me, it only seemed appropriate.
Eventually, one flight of stairs really took it out of me, and I semi-collapsed onto a rock at the top. My head was pounding, my lungs were burning and my legs felt like rubber. Ash told me later that I was completely pale, and they were all quite worried about me. I had to stop for quite some time to regain some feeling of normalcy, but I was determined to continue on (after all, as comfy as my rock was, I couldn’t sleep there for the night!).
The last 40 minutes were a hard slog, and I was so relieved when we rounded a corner and Dingboche came into sight. We checked into our teahouse, the Hotel Family and I spent some time having a wet wipe bath, changing into some warm comfy clothes and consuming some M&Ms (seriously, sugar will be your saviour on this trek!) until I felt human and ready to face the world again. Our room was adorable with a colourful mandala painted on the ceiling and stunning views out the window of Ama Dablam. We also had an attached toilet – something that I definitely didn’t expect to see this high up!
We headed into the teahouse dining room to relax and have a hot drink. Deepak was there, and as soon as I walked in he came over to check that I was feeling ok. Soon it was time to order dinner, and Deepak was asking again how I was feeling. I told him that I felt much better than I had earlier, not much headache or anything like that. Regardless, Deepak recommended that I have garlic soup for dinner, as the Nepalese believe that it helps with altitude sickness. Not one to go against the local knowledge (after all, that’s what we hired a guide for!), I agreed and ordered the garlic soup, even though it sounded less than appetising. Surprisingly, it was much more delicious than I expected, and I managed to polish off the entire bowl under Deepak’s watchful eye.
It had been a rough day, with both Danielle and I not feeling the best, so we headed off to get an early night not too long after dinner. Luckily, we were set for a slightly easier day tomorrow, with an acclimatisation day and local hike around Dingboche scheduled. After our “easy” acclimatisation hike in Namche though, I was still mentally preparing myself for another tough day!
Have you ever been to high altitude? How did you find it?