You can read all of my posts about the Everest Base Camp trek here!
I awoke early after a restless night’s sleep as I had been up a lot of the night coughing. I was hoping that seeing as my cough had started back in Namche Bazaar, that once I descended below there it would clear up – I would soon see. We had a long day planned today with 7-8 hours of trekking to reach Namche. This was a distance that we had covered in 2 days on the way up to Everest Base Camp, but it’s much easier to descend as you don’t have to worry about acclimatisation.
We set out from Pheriche at 8am with the aim to reach Namche by 3:30pm-4pm. It was soon clear that the track was much steeper than I remembered, and even though we were descending we still had quite a few uphill sections. As the weather had been drier over the last week the track was dustier as well, making it very slippery in a lot of parts. If you’re doing the Everest Base Camp trek, I would say that ankle boots are a must – they saved me from spraining my ankle several times!
As we reached the outskirts of Tengboche at around 11am, I really started to tire, and the long steep hill into the village really wrecked me. It was a bit too early for lunch in Tengboche, so we opted (much to my despair!) to trek for another hour to stop again at the Riverside Restaurant in Phungi Tanga which we had visited on the way up. Deepak promised that this last hour before lunch would be mostly downhill all the way.
He was right, the only downside was the heaps of loose gravel and sand covering the track, which made it really difficult to get any traction. I slipped several times, and was getting more and more tired, sore and frustrated. Eventually I slipped and wasn’t able to save myself, ending up sitting in the middle of the track where I burst into tears. Being so completely overcome with fatigue and struggling with my ongoing cough was really affecting me, and I was so disappointed that I wasn’t having the easy trek down that I had read so much about. It’s meant to be so easy to descend! Berating myself under my breath for being so stupid, I got myself together and we continued on to reach the restaurant for lunch.
I took my boots off to adjust my socks that had been bugging me, had some vege fried noodles, and prepared myself to take on the last 3 or so hours of trekking to Namche. I had remembered the trail to be nice and flat through this stretch, but I was once again sadly mistaken! I had forgotten about a large hill that we had descended to get into Phungi Thanga that we now had to climb! The afternoon was fairly brutal, but I did have a better time of it than I did that morning. Along the way we were lucky enough to see a bright blue male Himalayan pheasant, which Deepak told us is Nepal’s national bird and a very rare sight. Sadly, it was startled and ran off before I could snap a decent pic!
We arrived in Namche at 3:30pm and headed down the many many stairs that make up the town to the Nest, where we had also stayed earlier in the trek (link). We were delighted to see that we had a room on the ground floor this time (I don’t think my legs could have handled more stairs!), and we were super excited to have our first real shower in 10 days! Kabindra came in and ran the shower to make sure the hot water was working for us, and as soon as he left we jumped in one at a time. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that despite the water temperature fluctuating wildly and the water being little more than a heavy trickle, it was probably one of the best showers of my life!
After our showers, we went to order our dinner for later on in the evening, and then hobbled into town on our sore legs to use the wifi at the bakery and pick up some souvenirs. If you see something that you want to buy on the way up to Everest Base Camp, don’t forget that you’ll be passing through most of the same towns on your way down, so save both yourself and your porters the extra weight and grab it in the last part of the trek!
We went back to the Nest at 7pm for dinner where I had an amazing chicken chilly (no typo, that’s how they spell it!) – my first meat meal in quite some time! We were all exhausted after our long day, so retired to our rooms straight after dinner. Deepak had given us a bit of a sleep-in the next day with a 7:30am call to breakfast, as we only had a short 4 hour hike to reach tomorrow’s stop Phakding. It would be our second last day of trekking!