Nepal - Everest Base Camp Trek Part 1 Arrival | Gros Morne Outdoor Company

Nepal – Everest Base Camp Trek Part 1 Arrival

Nepal – Everest Base Camp Trek Part 1 Arrival

The country was still shaking two weeks after the initial disaster, it was the largest earthquake to hit in nearly 80 years.  Nepal isn’t large geographically, only 200 km wide by 800 km long, but sits at the roof of the world, shaped in part by the colliding Indian and Eurasian tetonic plates, making it home to eight of the fourteen peaks above 8000 meters, and of course, Everest.  How many books have been written on, or how many people have attempted and even made it to the top; it draws 30,000 to 40,000 people a year to simply see “base camp”, the base of the mountain which is just one region of the country populated by peaks.  For myself, stories of the attempt by the British Expedition led by Mallory in 1924 were mysterious and alluring, as well aesthetically with my love of alpine peaks, the opportunity to see the largest mountains in the world, it was all hard to pass up.  Natalie had wanted to see Everest since she was a kid, just the fact it was the largest mountain in the world captivated her… and she had completed treks in the Andes (South America), as well as around western Newfoundland the previous few years, furthering her passion.  And, it was our honeymoon!

April 11th, 2015

The road from Georges Lake to Deer Lake Airport was horrible, it was icy, and the snow was still falling. It was the middle of April, and Newfoundland was, sadly, still in the grips of winter. IT WAS the middle of April – we all had enough – and it was still snowing!  The drive was quiet and uneventful, it was early in the morning, 2 a.m, and despite that, I was pretty excited; we were finally going on an adventure.  I hadn’t “really” traveled since helping start a business in 2005, yes, I had been on conferences, and attended trade shows, but everything had been in Canada – I had to even apply for my passport, having let my previous one lapse.  Natalie on the other hand had traveled some over the past several years, including South America, and had a recent trip to Haiti.

And, of course, this was our honeymoon… the getaway of getaways, our chance to grow together, celebrate our marriage, and to learn from one another – the age ol’ tradition.  We both wanted to head off on some epic trek – we had spoken of the Himalayas in Nepal, and the Patagonia in Argentina; but as soon as Natalie had mentioned the Everest region, our minds were set.  We Flew to Toronto, stayed the day, shopped, boarded our flight to Belgium, medical emergency, turned around. I hate flying.  The lack of control, the hordes of people, the lack of control!  40 + hours to Kathmandu, once in a lifetime I thought!

Take Off!

Arrival in Nepal

April 13th, 2015

We arrived in Kathmandu, after a short stop in Brussels, and an overnight in the Deli airport (It was hard to tell how long we were actually traveling, with the time difference, and lack of sleep –  Newfoundland is ten hours behind Nepal).  But, the flight from Deli to Kathmandu, it’s remarkable; looking out the 737 window, cruising at 30,000 feet, you can easily see massive white peaks, the Himalayans, at eye level!  There something to be said for that; I have flew over the Rockies in western Canada, the Alps in Europe, the Southern Alps in New Zealand, and had never witnessed such a sight… I would imagine, and Natalie couldn’t back me up on this, not having flown over the Andes, but I would imagine they would be somewhat similar?  In any event, it was beauty…

View from the plane – ~ 30,000 feet.

Kathmandu is another topic, a city complex, segmented, and layered; it was an environmental disaster, a hive swarming with people, quiet courtyards and shrines, home to medieval temples, modern high rises, dilapidated apartments, and it was lush with greenery (our perception of the greenery was amplified, having come from the white winter of Newfoundland).  Making our way through the airport, you could tell why most of us (tourists) were here, it was a sea of Salomon footwear, North Face clothing and backpacks.   Outside the airport was a wall of activity; people and cabbies hustling, cars, motorbikes, buses and the horns, yelling, dogs barking, pollution and the heat.  We quickly found a cab, one of the drivers spoke pretty good English, and like that, we were in Nepal, and off to Thamel (district in the city).

The rules of the road in Nepal are loosely based on the British system, but rather than hard rules or laws, they were seen more as suggestions (from what I could tell). Scooters, and Motor Bikes, veered and weaved in all directions, a large bus pulled out to the far left, onto the shoulder (or was it a sidewalk?), passing cars and people, and the middle lane, there seemed to be a constant game of chicken, with vehicles from either direction passing, and veering back, just before colliding… all the while a course of horns blew, in all tones, high and low, from the buses, bikes, cars and trucks.  It was all mesmerizing.

Have a look what its like driving the city – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRvqvtq1nwY

We stayed in the Thamel region of Kathmandu (where most travelers stay), an older section home to  numerous hostels, corner stores, and knock-off shops.  Apartments were a stacked canopy, most in dis-repair, the electrical wires were in huge jumbled bunches coming together in a rats nest at each corner pole, the roads were paved in sections, dirt in others, and sidewalks were non-existent.  Natalie had compared the scene in Thamel, to her recent visit to Port Aux Prince (Port was still a little worst by her regard). It was busy with traffic, people walking, shops which sold everything from maps, to trekking poles, all with a vibrant buzz… and the smell, smokey two stroke, garbage, and damp wet rug. We sorted out what we needed for the next day; TIMS card, map, money, Sagmautha national park pass, and our flights to Lukla.  I was a little apprehensive of the flight the next day…. the Lukla airport was well know for its sketchiness… and I hated flying!

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