Arrival in Namche Bazaar
Namaste from Namche Bazaar,
The quiet setting of Phakding, amongst the blooming rhododendrons and along the river, gave us the opportunity to catch up on some much needed rest after days of travel and the skewed sleeping schedules of our nights in Kathmandu. We awoke to another nice day and after a leisurely breakfast in the teahouse we continued making our way northward up the Khumbu Valley. From Phakding we contoured above the Dudh Khosi, crossing occasional side streams and weaving our way amongst the fields and villages along the way. With several days of backed up flights finally breaking yesterday the trail was quite busy with locals returning home, trekkers, and lines of dzopkyos - the yak/cow hybrids used to haul loads at the lower elevations. With so many horns swinging down the trail, it was a challenge not to be distracted by our surroundings with towering peaks looming over us, coated in a fresh dusting of snow from last night.
After crossing the Dudh Kosi and climbing a steep set of stone stairs into the small village of Monjo we reached the Entrance Gate to Sagamartha National Park. There we showed our climbing permit and checked in, before continuing on to the village of Jorsale where we paused for lunch. Above Jorsale we reached the confluence of the Dudh Kosi, flowing down from Everest, and the Bhoti Kosi, flowing from below Cho Oyu and the Nangpa La Pass into Tibet. At this confluence of the rivers, but several thousand feet above on the hillside, sits Namche Bazaar. We crossed our forth and final suspension bridge of the day, strung at a dizzying height above the river and blanketed with prayer flags that were streaming in the afternoon breeze, and began the long climb to Namche. Picking our way up the 18 or so switchbacks and through the pine forests, we gradually climbed higher, leaving the river below and gradually revealing the panorama of peaks that often hide from the valley floor. Along the way we passed grinning Sherpani women tempting us with tangerines, a welcome refreshment from the hot and dusty trail of the Namche hill. Eventually the trail leveled out, passing a few houses, before taking a sharp turn and leading us into the heart of Namche Bazaar.
Perched at 11,300’ in a U shaped bowl overlooking the Bhoti Kosi and peaks to the south, Namche is a series of terraced streets, buildings, and fields all built in a horseshoe shape that stack upon each other, climbing up the hillside. A center of trade, and now tourism as well, Namche’s narrow streets are a bustle of activity compared to the calm farming communities below. Walking through its streets, really just stone lined footpaths amongst the shops, we made our way to our teahouse, nestled right in the middle of Namche. As trekker’s peruse the stalls of souvenirs, yak bells, and the latest climbing and trekking gear, stray dzopkyos and yaks wander the streets, with little Sherpa children chasing them from the courtyards of their homes. It’s an incredibly unique place and a pleasure to explore and we are looking forward to spending a few nights here.
After a long day of walking, finishing with the large climb to Namche, the team is happy to have some down time to rest, relax, and explore. Tomorrow we are planning to check out the weekly Saturday morning market where villagers from throughout the valley will descend upon Namche to stock up on daily goods before spending the day acclimatizing and enjoying the scene of Namche.
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