September 28th, 2018
I woke up freezing cold, the sun was just peeking over Namche and shining its beautiful light on the other side of the mountain. The guys called us into their room to catch a photo out of their “superior” window.
I surprisingly couldn’t care less.
Yesterday’s entrance to Namche bazaar left me with no mental or physical energy for our acclimatization day today. All I wanted to do was crawl back into my sleeping bag and stay warm. Knowing the importance of acclimatization days though, I dragged my butt out of bed and got dressed. Breakfast was standard, chapati (a staple bread on the Indian subcontinent) with a fried egg… Something I would grow to both love and hate.
Karma got us rounded up and we headed up another extremely steep incline, about the same (or worse) than the day before. It was only slightly tolerable due to the fact that I was fresh-faced and hadn’t already been hiking for several hours. We slowly weaved our way back and forth, like a carpet weaver, up to the narrow mountain path.
A little embarrassed from my anxiety attack yesterday I stayed at the back of the group, monitoring my attempted slow and steady breath (cursing my asthma the whole way). My trek mates noticed my struggle (again) and slowed down so we could all stick together.
We were bound for the Everest view hotel where we were told you can get awesome views of Everest on a clear day.
About halfway up we stopped at a rocky outcrop and my tiredness sat down hard on my shoulders. I slumped up against a rock wall and drank some water, staring at the ground. Karma also let his stuff down so I figured we would be stopping for a longer rest. I got my camera out and ventured through the colorful prayer flags, draped on a nearby bush to join one of my trek mates who was sitting on the rocky outcrop.
We sat in silence and admired the almost aerial view of Namche Bazaar and all that we had climbed so far.
Clouds started to tumble in from the hills and cover the view in a grey mist. “This reminds me of a movie I saw when I was a kid, I think it was called Castle in the Sky” I said quietly. He replied, “that’s exactly what it is”.
We both smiled and admired what was left of the view.
I took this opportunity to sit back and think about all that it took for me to get here. Exactly here to this eerily slow moment, reflecting on the first few days of the trek. All the struggle and strife seemed to lift off my shoulders and I felt free. Free to continue my journey, free to take my time, to not feel guilty or ashamed and free to pause and reflect whenever I felt the need.
I noticed how the valley on each side of the mountain funneled into the town, I saw black and brown dots (farm animals) move across the pasture, trekkers passed us laughing, panting and chatting. It was time for us to join them, but this time I felt a little more at ease.