We are ten days into our humanitarian/mountaineering expedition and our expectations have been exceeded, actually above and beyond what we could have imagined. The joy, smiles, laughter, beauty, magic, power, teamwork, camaraderie, friendships, emotions, blood-sweat-tears-for-joy, and appreciation for this life are overflowing in Nepal.
We have installed thousands of pounds of solar energy/generators/lights, new computers, and given thousands of socks, fleece hats, sleeping pads and so much more to numerous hospitals, schools, monasteries, and dental clinics throughout many villages from Phaplu to Namche affecting thousands of local Nepali people (and we still have two weeks to go).
We have been welcomed with traditional ceremonies by locals as they have blessed us by draping kata scarves and necklaces made of flowers over our necks with bows and hands in praying gestures as the phrases namaste (respectful greeting) and dhanya bad (thank you) are exchanged with smiles and positive energy filling the environment. Special ceremonies with singing and dancing at the monasteries and schools have been held in our honor as we arrive with the life changing gifts.
We started in 4×4’s from Phaplu for a couple hours and then started trekking once we got a flat tire (just a mile from where we would have started walking anyway). So far we have traveled 40+ miles of the 80+ total miles on our journey.
From Phaplu all the way to Phakding we endured humidity and rain in a full-on tropical jungle environment. After a few days, acclimation paid off and the daily soaking of both sweat, clouds and rain became somewhat enjoyable. Beautiful suffering considering the humanitarian work we are doing. The sun peaked out here and there, and fortunately mostly calm and dry weather when installing solar panels on the roofs of all the buildings.
We walked on a trail in the lower Solukhumbu through vast forests and steep terraced gardens filled with potatoes, rice, cabbage and other vegetables. It mostly rained during the night, raindrops pounding the metal roofs in the local teahouses we stayed in every night. From village to village happy locals shared a friendly ‘namaste’ and went about their lives. We witnessed people still rebuilding stone buildings and walls from the big earthquake last year. As we gained elevation, we walked through pine and cedar forests and breathed in the sweet Earthy fragrance, big white-capped mountains pierced the sky in the distance as we gained elevation. We walked over the long-spanning foot bridges hundreds of feet above roaring rivers, with prayer flags blowing in the fresh mountain breezes shivering with delight.
We are now in Namche at about 12,000 feet. We are above the tropical, jungle like environment and getting into colder temps as we head into the towering and majestic Himalaya Mountains. It’s 4:00 a.m., and I’m sipping coffee in a tea house as the rain falls and we get ready to walk to Kunde and continue our humanitarian efforts. I can smell the pancakes cooking in the kitchen, and there is a cat meowing at the door hoping for some scraps. I feel at peace.
Below is our itinerary for the trip, we’ll let you know what happens along the way:
-Fly from Kathmandu to Phaplu and start the trek to the following villages (80+ miles of trekking), some places below two days spent for Humanitarian Installations:
-Walk from Phaplu to Taksindu and Ringmu.
– Humanitarian install (all) in Juving at Juving High school.
– Walk to Kharikola, Humanitarian install (all) at Kharikola High School, Girls and Boys Hostel, Mera Primary School Kharikhola Hospital, Kharka Dental Clinic, Kharikola Monastery.
– Walk to Poyan, Humanitarian install (all) at Bupsa monastery.
– Walk to Lukla, Humanitarian install (all) Lukla Primary School.
– Walk to Phakding, Humanitarian install (all) at Rimijung Monastery, community center.
– Walk to Monjo, Humanitarian install (all) Monjo Primary School.
– Walk to Namche, Humanitarian install (all) Namche Dental Clinic, Namche Medical Clinic, Namche Monastery, Office for Nat. Park Entrance.
– Walk to Khunde, Humanitarian install (all) at Hillary High School, Hillary Girls and Boys Hostel.
– Walk to Thame, Humanitarian install (all) at Primary School, Thame Medical Clinic.
– Walk to Pheriche, Humanitarian install (all) Himalayan Rescue and Medical Clinic.
Then on to the adventure/mountaineering component of the expedition:
In the course of 10 days with acclimatization for climbing – Leave Pheriche to Dibuche onto Pangboche, back to Pheriche, then to Lobuche village, then Kalapather, then Gorakhsep and Everest Base Camp, back to Lobuche village, rest day. Then to high camp on peak Lobuche East, then summit attempt on Lobuche East 20,161 feet.
Descent to Pheriche or Dukla depending on weather. Helicopter tour and back to Kathmandu, depart Nepal.