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Everest Base Camp Trek - Namche Bazaar to Tengboche

Although the initial climb straight up out of the valley from Namche Bazaar was challenging, the good night’s sleep helped. From this point the trail eased and we enjoyed bright, sunny blue skies and a relatively flat trail. Along the way were roaring rivers and flimsy bridges littered with prayer flags. As I hesitantly peered down from a bridge as it bounced and swayed unpredictably in the wind, I was reminded why I am a trekker and not a mountaineer. It was a looong way down.

Everest Base Camp Trek, Namche Bazaar to Tengboche - Prayer Stones, Nepal

Everest Base Camp Trek, Namche Bazaar to Tengboche - Flimsy Bridges, Nepal

The end of the day’s trek once again found us climbing upward. The steep ascent of 500m / 1,640’ sapped the cheerful atmosphere from my crew and it didn’t return upon reaching Tengboche. The local lodge was quite different from the previous accommodations; with long, body-chilling shadows growing across the village. It was damp, musty and the outhouse reeked worse than a stable.

In contrast, the nearby Tengboche monastery was truly in a stunning setting. As we marched toward it we met back up with Kirk and Nancy. We stopped at the center of the 360-degree panorama while Kirk studied the topographic map and pointed out the names of the surrounding peaks. Padam, his guide, knew them by heart from his many trips to the region: Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Tamsherku, Kasem Kanguru and a glimpse of Everest over the top of the Nuptse Ridge.

We had an added treat during our visit to Tengboche because we arrived just in time for Festival Lo Shar, the Sherpa New Year. The monks, in full red and yellow regalia, were an ocular feast. Centered around a bonfire, they chanted and tossed spears.

Everest Base Camp Trek, Tengboche - Festival Lo Shar - Sherpa New Year, Nepal

Everest Base Camp Trek, Tengboche - Festival Lo Shar - Sherpa New Year, Nepal

After the ceremony we had dinner, which was surprisingly good. It was so tasty Keri decided to challenge the food gods. Although we were explicitly told not to drink the unpasteurized buttermilk tea, she proclaimed how great her immune system was and slurped it down. While I like to try all the local delicacies and her bravado against illness was a page out of my proverbial book, I was too paranoid to take chances on the way up.

The story continues...